Eco Spindles (Private) Limited, a subsidiary of BPPL Holdings PLC, which is Sri Lanka’s largest plastics recycler equipped with one of only two plants in the world capable of creating polyester yarn directly from recycled PET plastic flakes, is the only company from Asia to have won a global IFS Change for Good Sustainability Award in the ‘Most Innovative Solution for Sustainability’ category this year.
IFS, a renowned international cloud enterprise solutions provider, introduced the IFS Change for Good Sustainability Awards in July ‘21. The annual awards hope to highlight the outstanding work by IFS clients to make their businesses more sustainable while encouraging others to do the same.
The submissions were judged by a panel of experts, which comprised of Lewis Pugh, the United Nations Patron of the Oceans and IFS’ new sustainability ambassador, Michelle Lancaster, Director Sustainability at Microsoft and Jacqueline de Rojas, President at techUK, business advisor and advocate for diversity and inclusion.
The recycling giant, Eco Spindles, won the ‘Most Innovative Solution for Sustainability’ as the award honoured their multi-faceted innovation initiatives that met several goals in areas such as social responsibility, sustainability and environmental stewardship. Other winners of the IFS Change for Good Sustainability Awards include Rolls Royce (UK) for ‘Best use of IFS technology in a sustainability initiative,’ Climate for Life (Netherlands) for ‘Journey of transformation to a sustainable business,’ Natures Path (Canada) for ‘Social Impact,’ and Wrightbus (Northern Ireland) for ‘Individual Contribution.’
Understanding that Sri Lanka has a highly mismanaged plastic waste issue, Eco Spindles realized that recycling is the best solution for most plastic waste discarded. The company’s desire to provide global solutions to the clothing industry is noteworthy as some 50% of the world’s clothing is manufactured using polyester and, according to Greenpeace organization predictions, this will double by 2030.
The company recycles approximately 60,000 kgs of PET waste a month into high-quality yarn that can be transformed into cloth or fabric by knitting or weaving. One of the most sustainable solutions globally in the current apparel/textile industry is manufacturing polyester yarn from recycled PET bottles.
Eco Spindles has recycled over 380 million PET bottles since it commenced its recycling operations in 2011. Recycled polyester is the same as virgin polyester in terms of quality yet requires 60% less energy compared to virgin polyester. In addition, recycled polyester manufacturing reduces Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 40% when compared to virgin materials (Pulse of the Fashion report, 2018).
Moreover, Eco Spindle’s recycling initiatives provide the infrastructure, technology and funding to create sustainable economies. More than 400 waste collectors earn a direct income, while over 2,000 sub-collectors benefit from an indirect income. The company helps waste collectors to develop as social entrepreneurs with guidance, free consultation and by providing infrastructure, financial aid and services related to recycling. It has set-up more than 20 baling sites in Sri Lanka. A majority of local councils now supply PET waste to them.
Many of the collectors are women, and, through closely monitored ethical practices the company ensures availability of appropriate PPE, fair payment and no child labor. Several centers also support thriving Women’s collectives.
An expert from the panel of judges noted, “Eco Spindles has created thousands of livelihoods for their local communities”. “I love that sort of cycle of life. So many lives are being transformed because the communities are benefiting from that new way of recycling plastics and synthetic thread”.
BPPL Holdings PLC Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Anush Amarasinghe, stated, “we are thankful to IFS for this award as it serves as a reminder of the responsibility undertaken to find effective and permanent solutions to help preserve the natural environment. As such, this year, we are building a new yarn plant that more than doubles our production capacity and we hope to expand our bailing sites to 40-50 over the next three years. Sustainability is at the core of every business decision we take as we strive to reduce the carbon footprint we make.”