Melitta Group Annual Report 2022

Fair recycled plastic


Plastics have numerous benefits: these include, above all, their flexibility, low weight, and durability. They protect, ensure hygiene, and facilitate transportation. They also often have a better environmental footprint than other materials.

However, if plastics are not disposed of properly after use, many of them pollute our ecosystems. Plastics must therefore be produced, used, collected, and recycled as part of a circular economy. Moreover, we should use as many plastics as possible that biodegrade naturally and without residue after use.

In the Indian metropolis of Bangalore, for example, around 3,500 tons of waste end up on the roadside or in illegal landfills every day. There is no nationwide state disposal system. This is a problem for the environment, but at the same time enables people to earn a living in the informal sector: the so-called waste picking communities, who come from one of the poorest former “castes” and have subsisted for many years by collecting and selling this waste. In Bangalore, there are an estimated 15,000 men and women who work as waste pickers.

Targets and KPIs

Our “Fair Recycled Plastic” initiative aims to help rid the oceans and soil of plastic. It is designed to be an innovative example of sustainable plastic production and recycling, while also demonstrating how the living conditions of local waste picking communities can be improved.

The recycling company Vishuddh Pvt. Ltd. was founded in Bangalore (India) in 2020 as a joint venture between Yunus Social Business Fund gGmbH and Melitta’s operating division Cofresco. This social business organization produces around 2,000 tons of plastic recyclate from low-density polyethylene waste every year. In turn, Cofresco uses the recyclate to produce bin liners under the Swirl® and handy bag® brands.

“Vishuddh Recycle” sources the plastic waste from waste disposal companies that ensure better working conditions for their waste collectors. All the profits generated flow back to the company or its supply chain or are invested in education and healthcare for local people. For example, "Vishuddh Recycle" supports the Smile Foundation and the Hasiru Dala Trust. The Smile Foundation provides free primary healthcare in poor neighborhoods with mobile clinics. The Hasiru Dala Trust carries out educational activities such as community libraries and workshops to promote the social, emotional, and cognitive growth of children and helps them achieve a better school leaving certificate.

This not only creates a better waste infrastructure in Bangalore, but also generates additional sources of income and better living conditions for the waste pickers – thus opening up new future prospects and greater esteem. The initiative receives financial support from “DEG – Deutsche Investitions- und Entwicklungsgesellschaft” as part of the “develoPPP” program of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

What we achieved in 2022

  • Founded the recycling company “Vishuddh Recycle” as a social business in Bangalore
  • Started processing the plastic waste collected by partner companies
  • Began recycling the recyclate produced for the production of Swirl® and handy bag® bin liners
  • Started cooperation with the Smile Foundation and Hasiru Dala Trust

What we are currently working on

  • Expansion of production capacity to approx. 2,000 tons of recycled plastics per year
  • Creation of further jobs
  • Intensification of cooperation with Smile Foundation, Hasiru Dala Trust and other social business organizations
  • Analysis of possibilities for scaling our commitment beyond Bangalore, possibly with partner organizations