Case Study: Cofresco (Melitta Group)

Co-creating a plastics-recycling social business in India.

The German family company Cofresco (part of the Melitta Group) has embarked on a journey to become fully circular by 2025. To make this transformation tangible, it created a joint venture with Yunus Social Business that lifts waste pickers in India out of poverty and reintroduces recycled plastics into the company’s value chain.

Collaboration is key

In India, the collection of waste is largely done by a group that is a quarter of the country’s population and amongst its most stigmatized. Daily wages earned by the waste workers is highly volatile and is largely determined by the prices of materials per kg in the recycling sector. On average a person barely earns fifty rupees (0,60 euros) per day.  

Yunus Social Business and Cofresco partnered to co-create Vishuddh Recycle Ltd. in Bangalore, India. It is a social business that sources recyclable plastic materials from waste pickers through collection partners and processes it into pellets which are in turn used in Melitta’s production.

The journey

The social business generates profits that are re-invested with impact partners to enhance the education and healthcare of waste pickers and their families. The company also works together with the collection partners to ensure stable higher income for the waste pickers so they can create better lives for themselves.

At full capacity, the social business can replace up to a quarter of the product line’s plastic demand. Cofresco has witnessed an unprecedented acceleration of transformation and incredible signs of employee engagement due to this social business.

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