At the recently concluded Responsible Fashion Summit organized by the Colombo Fashion Week (CFW), Sri Lanka’s largest plastic recycler Eco Spindles was among industry experts in an invaluable panel discussion themed ‘Circularity in a Fashion Supply Chain’. Representing Eco Spindles at the discussion, Chief Executive Officer at Eco Spindles Yarns, Nalaka Seneviratne elaborated on how Eco Spindles currently operates and provided insightful details on the recycling economy in Sri Lanka.
Eco-Spindles (Pvt.) Ltd commenced phase 2 of its expansion strategy to add 20,000 sq.ft of production space at its state-of-the-art facility in Horana. Already one of only two such facilities in the entire world, once completed, the expanded facility will double polyester yarn production capacity at Eco-Spindles.
The foundation stone was laid by Secretary to the Ministry of Environment Dr. Anil Jasinghe together with Central Environmental Authority Director General P.B. Hemantha Jayasinghe, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka Horana Export Processing Zone Senior Deputy Director Sujeewa Thilakumara, Ministry of Mahaweli Development and Environment, Environmental Pollution Control and Chemical Management Division Director S.M. Werahera, BPPL Holdings Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Anush Amarasinghe and Eco-Spindles (Pvt.) Ltd Deputy General Manager Manoj Udawatte, in the presence of other senior representatives from Eco-Spindles at a special ceremony held on the 8th of February, 2021.
Eco-Spindles(a subsidiary of BPPL Holdings) once again extended its collaboration with Plasticcycle, a John Keells endeavor, by placing an additional 18 Plasticcycle bins, at all the Expressway exits such as the Southern Highway, Katunayaka Highway upto Mattala and at the Hambantota Highway.
The project which commenced a year ago ensures commuters are reminded to responsibly dispose of their PET bottles when travelling along the expressways. The plastics waste is collected from these locations and recycled transforming them into value added products such as yarn, brushes, etc. which are produced for the local and international markets.
This subsidiary of the Hidramani group has now joined the ranks of apparel manufacturers , who have joined in on the production of mass and personal protection equipment, in the worldwide fight against COVD-19.
Due to the ingenue of the Sri Lanka Institute of Nanotechnology, reverse engineering the swabs allowed for the correct specifications required by manufacturers.
In tandem with BPPL Holdings, they were able to produce an exemplary effort in response to the fight against this pandemic- a testament to Sri Lankan innovation.
Eco-Spindles joined Coca-Cola as their official recycling partner on this project. It is set to target 500 schools in the Central, Uwa and North provinces. By providing the resources for school children to not only recycle the plastic waste accumulated in school, but that generated in their homes, this initiative has a far wider reach than initially understood. Plastic waste, especially in rural areas, and its poor disposal, is a blight- one which needs to be remedied immediately.
The fact that relevant Local Authorities will collect the waste from these schools and Eco-Spindles, in turn, from the authorities, means that this project intersects both private and public sectors, working towards the common goal of environmental protection.
Eco Spindles was delighted to support this venture into corporate social responsibility. In an effort to encourage recycling amongst their employees, they placed recycling bins at 15 factory locations, where over a 1000 employees work.
Initiated by YKK zippers at the BOI Zone in Awissawella, they not only provide a the means for their employees to recycle their household PET waste, but have also introduced a “PET day” concept for every month in order to increase collection efficiency.
This PET would then be collected, transported, sorted, and crushed into flakes, synthesized into the value added recycled goods Eco-Spindles is known for.
73% of beach litter worldwide is plastic. The need to recycle ocean plastics is more imminent than ever. All these collection points are therefore no more than 50km from our coastlines- a purposeful and effective step, and partnership in the right direction.
Eco-Spindles( a subsidiary of BPPL), has proudly partnered with Coca-Cola and the Fisheries Harbours to set up collection centers in several of Sri Lanka’s main fishing towns, including Negombo, Galle and Hikkaduwa, as well as an efficient transportation network for these bottles to our factories. Here they will be sorted, washed, and crushed into flakes , and then transformed into a range of recycled products, including yarn for the apparel industry and the like, and monofilaments for cleaning tools (for our sister company Beira Brush).
This initiative works, and has the potential for greater success and longevity because of its transparency, as well as the financial incentive it gives fishermen and the villagers in the areas to properly dispose of these bottles. This in turn initiates a culture of recycling in the area, and a positive attitude towards environmental conservation, which will be passed down to children.
Our goal is that for every plastic bottle taken out to sea by our fishermen, they bring one back. And hopefully, eventually, for every bottle everyone else purchases, one is recycled too.
The 3kg of PET waste each household in Colombo generates would have, if disposed improperly, an incredibly negative impact on the environment. To offset this, HNB and IFS established collection bins across HNB’s school unit network in Colombo. Eco-Spindles would then collect the bottles and, facilitate their transportation to our recycling plants, to convert them to monofilaments for brushes and yarn for fabric manufacturers worldwide.
Asserted by Dr Amarasinghe, our CEO ; this campaign, both essential and inspiring, was for the purpose of “inculcating the habit of recycling amongst the younger generations, through numerous interactive awareness programmes”, creating a “substantial change in their mindset” and offering Sri Lanka a long term solution to plastic pollution.
This goal, to ensure that one day, that all PET bottles either manufactured in or imported to Sri Lanka are responsibly recycled, is a lofty, but admirable one- and it is through these joint enterprises that we are one step closer to reaching it.
As per our CEO, Dr. Amarasinghe, "Eco-Spindles is not able to recycle without the support of our partners for collecting the much needed and valuable raw material of PET plastic waste. We do not see PET plastic as waste but a valuable commodity which can be recycled and converted into new products, thereby generating new livelihoods in Sri Lanka."
This is why Eco-Spindles proudly partnered with Coca-Cola in PET plastic clean up and collection drive at the sacred Kataragama Festival, as part of their annual “Give Back Life” initiative, aimed at ultimately, collecting and recycling the equivalent of every bottle they sell in Sri Lanka- which we then will convert into new, products such as brooms, brushes, clothing and shoes.
The zeal of the volunteer teams who participated in this milestone event is testament to the desire for a change in attitude towards recycling and sustainability, evidenced by the fact that 4227kg of PET bottles were collected. This has further motivated the pilgrims and visitors of this site to be more conscious of their plastic disposal, thereby making this more than just an initiative - rather, a movement, inspiring more people to contribute by supplying plastic waste from their own homes, workplaces and communities.
The Responsible Fashion Summit was launched as part of the Responsible Fashion Movement, with the objective of showcasing Sri Lanka as an apparel sourcing destination which is working towards creating a supply chain that is responsible, eco-aware, and accountable.
The third summit took place on the 8th of August 2018, at the Hilton Colombo, to update the conversation in light of new issues facing the global fashion industry and the new technology and initiatives designed to solve them.
As expressed at this event by our CEO, Dr. Amarasinghe, we are veritable pioneers in manufacturing products that help create a cleaner and greener Sri Lanka whilst generating value for our customers around the world. For instance, the recycled yarn we provide for brands such as Pigeon Island, as well as for the 2019 Sri Lanka cricket team’s jerseys (a joint venture with MAS).
In developing these products out of plastic waste, we give organizations the chance to be more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly. The Responsible Fashion Summit provides a global platform to broadcast this message- plastic isn’t waste, and can be used to create value added goods including high quality performance garments. Further, by sourcing the raw materials locally, we are able to reduce lead times, inventor costs and the carbon footprint for the leading fashion brands for which Sri Lanka supplies.
The summit, conceived of by Mr. Singh, the founder, it was important to steer this discussion in the direction of sustainable practices and traceability. To him, this goes beyond the summit- he wishes for the fashion industry and relevant stakeholders to engage with the insight provided on oceans and plastics and its role in the ‘Journey Towards Circularity'.
Alongside MAS, Brandix, and the Hidramani group, wecame together to facilitate this. Their stories, their innovation and their drive was inspiring – and not unlike our own.
Thursday, 17 August 2017, Colombo: Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd recently supported and sponsored the effective clean-up of PET bottles following the large crowds gathered at the Kataragama Festival. It was a community-driven sustainable initiative with the partnership between Coca-Cola, Beira Enviro Solutions Ltd (part of BPPL Holdings) and the Kataragama Committee to collect and recycle PET during and after the Kataragama Festival from 24 th July till 10 th August 2017.
Bottled water, fruit juices and carbonated soft drinks are packaged in 100% recyclable PET plastic bottles. Since PET is completely recyclable, Coca-Cola partnered with Beira to “Give Back Life” to these used, empty PET bottles which would otherwise have possibly journeyed to garbage dump sites. Coca-Cola’s extended producer responsibility ensured education, awareness and capacity-building initiatives towards an individual’s responsibility towards recycling, as well as the importance of community-driven, sustainable initiatives in PET collection, recycling and waste management practices.
The widespread garbage littering witnessed during the days of the Festival reflects poorly on one of the most important cultural and religious events in the country. The PET clean-up drive not only improved the immediate surroundings but also encouraged festival participants to take individual initiative. Ensuring an end-to- end approach to the littering issue during the festivities, 1000 liter and 5000 liter bins were placed in easily accessible locations around the venue for the festival participants to responsibly dispose of their PET bottles. It was a completely hands-on initiative by the organisers with volunteers from Coca-Cola participating on the day to lead the awareness programme in driving recognition of the universal symbol for the PET package – the number ‘1’ in the recycling symbol.
Coca-Cola sales associates who oversee the Kataragama area (under the Matara Sales Area) joined hands with volunteers from Beira and the Kataragama Environmental Society in the clean-up efforts of the Kataragama Festival, with the PET collection being managed by Beira. To ensure true environmental responsibility and sustainability, all items in the clean-up drive had to be recycled or reused including gloves and poly-bags. The PET collection was facilitated on the days with the mobilisation of lorries - and this allowed for an astonishing 3 tonnes of PET to be collected.
Mayank Arora, Managing Director of Coca-Cola Beverages Sri Lanka Ltd said “Coca-Cola in Sri Lanka is committed to promoting PET collection and recycling initiatives in Sri Lanka. We are thankful to all the volunteers who dedicated their time to drive this important initiative and took action to preserve their environment. Giving back Life to 3,000 Kilograms of PET bottles will be accomplished when the collected PET is upcycled to manufacture a range of durable cleaning products for both professional and household applications by Beira Enviro Solutions.”
Dr. Anush Amarasinghe, CEO - Beira Enviro Solutions, “We are delighted to champion community action to ensure PET recycling and waste management with such a partner as Coca-Cola. We are grateful to the Kataragama Committee including the local authorities to having acknowledged the importance of setting an example for the community to take steps in mitigating their own individual waste footprint. Responsible disposal of post-consumed packages and recycling should be considered as a duty of all citizens in Sri Lanka. Beira looks forward to working with Coca-Cola to recycle PET bottles across the nation.”
Synonymous with pioneering advancements in manufacturing, BPPL Holdings PLC (BPPL), among the top brush makers in Asia, recently inaugurated the country’s first ever state-of-the-art polyester yarn plant.The facility is another milestone for BPPL, spearheaded by wholly owned subsidiary Eco-Spindles (Pvt) Ltd, towards bringing forth the advantages of innovative sustainability where yarn is produced exclusively from recycled Polyethylene Terephthalate, commonly known as PET flakes. As a future oriented company, Eco Spindles is recognised as a pioneer manufacturer, synonymous throughout the industry for producing synthetic monofilaments for cleaning tools, synthetic monofilaments for paint brushes and polyester yarn for fabric. As a driving and innovative force continually setting new standards in the industry, Eco Spindle’s technologically advanced new yarn facility, located in the Horana BOI Zone, has an impressive 13,000 sq. meter area and a capacity to produce approximately 960 tonnes of synthetic yarn per annum for local and globally renowned fabric manufacturers.
Impressively, this is only one of two plants globally which creates yarn directly from flakes circumventing the polymerization process where flakes are first converted to chips and then to yarn. The raw material for the plant’s yarn is sourced through post-consumer (waste) PET bottle collections. Eco Spindle’s well-established network of over 125 collection points set-up across the country ensures nearly 200-250 tonnes of PET waste is amassed each month. The PET bottles are then sorted, hot and cold washed prior to being transformed into flakes and finally, into recycled draw textured polyester yarn. This polyester yarn is available in both raw white and dope dyed yarn forms. Another value addition is the plant’s dope dying capabilities offering colour pigmentation insertion as part of the extrusion process. “We are extremely proud of our accomplishment in inaugurating Sri Lanka’s first ever yarn production facility. Propelling the country towards greater recognition, the factory’s state-of-the-art spinning and texturing machinery from Europe will make it a game-changer for the industry,” said Dr. Anush Amarasinghe, BPPL Managing Director.
“Additionally, with the global apparel industry moving towards creating more sustainable products and processes, BPPL sees tremendous potential for its recycled polyester yarn offering” added Dr. Amarasinghe.Eco Spindle’s quality compliance, including Global Recycled Standard (GRS), Restricted Substances Lists (RSL) and Oekotex Standard 100 ensures the produced yarn meets stringent international standards.The plant is managed by an experienced workforce of over 40 staff including consultants and operators with over 15 years of experience from countries such as Germany and India.