India's plastic waste collection industry is remarkable, but it doesn't extend to sachets.

I saw this in action when I watched a waste picker in Mumbai. He diligently picked up plastic bottles, as well as plastic bottle tops but not the plastic sachets sitting right there. This is because sachets have no value – he can sell hard plastic to local aggregators for a small sum, but not sachets.

I discussed this with a manager of a plastic waste processing facility who stated the obvious, “No one bends down to pick up sachets”.

Of course, if companies that sell their products in sachets paid for their collection, they would be picked up. This happens from time to time, but it makes the sachet business uneconomic, so it’s only ever done as part of a marketing program.