The circular economy is one of the biggest transformations in how businesses align resources and production. At its heart is the belief that moving from a linear system (take-make-dispose) to one where materials are reused, repurposed, and recycled can reduce pressure on the world’s resources. One of the many ways that Shell Lubricants India has embedded the circular economy across its value chain is by encouraging the use of post-consumer resin (PCR) or recycled plastic for its products. The company launched bottles made from 100% recycled plastic for its Helix Ultra, Advance Ultra and Rimula R3 range, with as much as 90% of PCR being sourced from used-lubricant bottles.

By ensuring PCR being sourced primarily from used lubricant bottles, we aim to reduce hazardous waste and achieve a complete circular loop within the value chain. Recycling used lubricant bottles is challenging due to the lingering residual oil content they retain post-use, rendering it as hazardous waste to recyclers. Thus, these containers require separate management from other plastic waste to avoid potential contamination in landfills and environmental harm. Our sustainable packaging will prevent over 350 tonnes of plastic annually from being discarded in landfills and potentially contaminating soil and groundwater. We are working to make 100% PCR one of the new benchmarks of our circular economy efforts as it scales to our other branded products. Our PCR sourcing will benefit from the nation’s massive waste collection and aggregation network and organized collection from the company’s retail footprint, including our retail stations.

In accordance with the Government of India’s Extended Product Responsibility to produce product packaging with PCR, we have manufactured over three million sustainable bottles made from 30% PCR across our passenger car, motorcycle and commercial vehicle branded range of lubricants. Notably, we achieved this for branded bottles two years ahead of the government’s 2025 target. In 2021, our Mobility and Lubricants team collaborated to pilot the collection and recycling of plastic lubricant bottles to produce 10,000 new 1-litre bottles using 25% PCR. The pilot production gave us pioneering proof of concept to try out ‘closed loop recycling’, which refers to recycling used lubricant bottles to obtain plastic for Shell’s new lubricant bottles. The trial fast-tracked our India teams to implement recycling across the bottle portfolio.

“At Shell, our Powering Progress envisions high-performance products with a lower carbon footprint that reduce waste today and deliver more circular solutions tomorrow. PCR-based packaging is one of the many ways we purposefully and profitably accelerate our transition to net-zero GHG emissions. Led by the circular economy, we aspire to create business models that work for people and the planet. Our investments in PCR packaging underline our vision of innovatively responding to the needs of climate-conscious customers to create greater value for natural resources, products, and supply chains today and in the future.” said Debanjali Sengupta, Country Lead, Shell Lubricants, India.

With our ‘Powering Progress’ strategy, stakeholders understand the need to accelerate the transition of the business to net-zero emissions. Our journey to ramp up PCR-bottle production reflects consumers’ demand for greener packaging solutions. The day isn’t far from when consumers actively seek out bottles made with recycled plastic (as opposed to virgin plastic), setting in motion a whole new workstream of plastic waste collection and processing at scale.


“100% recycled plastic” refers specifically to the containers for engine oil and does not include the lid/cap used to seal the container.


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