Cutting down on senseless plastic

Since 2013, Infosys has actively pursued minimization of all kinds of single-use items, constantly replacing it with alternatives. Taking a serious note on plastic, especially single-use plastic, Infosys in 2018 pledged to avoid, reduce and recycle plastic, in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). This took place on World Environment Day 2018, when Mr. Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Infosys, in the presence of Mr. Erik Solheim, former Executive Director of UNEP, pledged to eliminate single-use plastic and reduce per capita plastic waste generation by 50% by 2020.

As part of this commitment, a working group was constituted to identify opportunities that would help realize the stated goal. A three-pronged strategy was adopted.

  • Identify single-use plastic and their alternatives
  • Work with teams across the Company, such as F&B, Purchase, HR and vendor partners, among others, to reduce plastic waste generation
  • Partner with external recyclers to recycle 100% of plastic generated, hence ensuring nothing goes to landfills

Plastic waste champions and Eco Clubs were identified from each Infosys location to lead the implementation. The Eco-clubs helped to organize several events to promote a plastic-free lifestyle. A sensitization mailer was sent to employees, inviting them to share their own solutions. The learnings evolved into a ‘Plastic Waste Management Guide’, which has enabled the Operations team to achieve the goal. Several pilots were conducted, to use bio-degradable plastic, test alternatives, employ a mail room concept to recycle e-commerce packaging, explore external partnership to implement Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) and understand concepts like plastic offsets, and more.

Our collective efforts allowed us to reduce 91% of our single-use plastic consumption, leading to the avoidance of 3.6 million items of single-use plastic since 2018. The per capita generation of plastic was reduced by 41% compared to 2018.