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Biodegradability seen as the future of plastics and packaging: Congress for Sustainable Materials 2024 concludes

Hayleys Aventura (Pvt) Ltd, a subsidiary of Hayleys PLC, recently hosted the inaugural Congress for Sustainable Materials 2024 at the Kingsbury Hotel, Colombo, with this year’s theme based on ‘The Future of Plastics & Packaging.’

The Congress showcased two distinguished panels, each representative of various industries such as Agriculture, Food, Packaging, Textiles, and Gloves in Sri Lanka. The event garnered participation from over 80 companies spanning diverse sectors, with attendees also hailing from Bangladesh, the USA, and the Maldives. Furthermore, a global audience engaged with the proceedings through live streaming, amplifying the event’s reach and impact.

As plastic consumption rises in Sri Lanka, the issue of non-biodegradable waste becomes increasingly critical. Landfills, expanding due to materials like plastics that take centuries to degrade, necessitate urgent action. The country has struggled with inadequate waste management systems and limited infrastructure for recycling, leading to significant environmental issues. While there were local initiatives and efforts to promote recycling, the overall success rate of these initiatives was negligible compared to the volume of waste generated, with only 5% of total plastic waste being recycled in Sri Lanka.

Plastics remain an integral part of various industries due to their versatility and cost-effectiveness. Acknowledging the critical function of plastics in Sri Lankan value chains, the panel emphasized the importance of responsible plastic management. While complete elimination may not be feasible, prioritizing reuse, recycling, and responsible disposal will ensure a sustainable future for both the industry and the environment. 

They also explored innovative ways to maintain the benefits of traditional plastics while reducing the environmental footprint and recommended responsible plastic use, encouraging efforts such as reduction, reuse, and recycling. 

Moreover, the panel emphasized the potential of biodegradable plastics in alleviating the strain on landfills and contributing to the circular economy.

Wasaba Jayasekera, Managing Director of Hayleys Aventura (Pvt) Ltd. stated, “At Hayleys Aventura, we recognize our responsibility to lead the charge toward sustainable practices. The inaugural Congress for Sustainable Materials 2024 served as a platform to foster collaboration, innovation, and a collective commitment to practical, sustainable solutions.

“Beyond the environmental benefit of minimizing plastic waste in landfills, adopting sustainable practices in the production of goods can offer exporters a strategic advantage in penetrating export markets. We want to shape a future where plastics coexist with sustainability. Through strategic collaboration, we aim to propel advancements that support responsible practices, such as biodegradable plastics, to guide us toward a more sustainable and environmentally conscious tomorrow.”

At the core of Hayleys Aventura’s ethos is sustainability. Driven by a purpose to engineer scientific solutions with sustainable innovation, the company places sustainability as a strategic priority across environmental, economic, and social dimensions. This commitment aligns with the ‘Hayleys Lifecode,’ the Hayleys Group’s comprehensive ESG framework and call-to-action.

In demonstrating this commitment, Hayleys Aventura is transitioning from traditional raw materials to supplying specialty industrial materials that enhance product sustainability. This shift not only benefits manufacturers by infusing sustainability into their products but also opens new export avenues, fostering economic growth in Sri Lanka.

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