Presentation on theme: "PLASTICS RECYCLING AND THE NEED FOR BIOPOLYMERS Mrs Almitra Patel, Member Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management 50 Kothnur, Bagalur Rd, Bangalore."— Presentation transcript:
PLASTICS RECYCLING AND THE NEED FOR BIOPOLYMERS Mrs Almitra Patel, Member Supreme Court Committee for Solid Waste Management 50 Kothnur, Bagalur Rd, Bangalore
Let us be proud of India’s small ecological footprint! We use gm non-degradable waste per capita per day in larger cities, vs 1-2 kg per capita per day in the West. This is NOT backwardness. We should not copy the ways of throwaway cultures.
Yet thin-film plastics in our mixed waste is increasing. In 1993, 1-2% by weight reached the dumps. In 2003, this rose to even 7-9% in some cities. Plastic volumes now exceed the volume of compost produced in compost plants, which are now mandatory. Plastics must be removed to prevent damage to soil porosity and water absorption, and the poor germination of seeds.
Thin-film plastics on right are more voluminous than the sieved compost produced.
In India, recycling supports 0.5 – 1% of a city’s population MSW Rules 2000 direct Municipalities to “promote recycling or reuse of segregated materials” and “ensure community participation in segregation” Almost all plastics are recyclable, and are collected if it is economically worthwhile and give a survival wage. But “Recyclable” is meaningless unless Recycling is actually done!
What is hard to recycle? Carry-bags and film packs were recycled till collection costs became unviable. If they can fetch a street price of Rs 5-6 per kg, they can be very usefully used in asphalt roads, replacing 8% by weight of bitumen and giving 250%-300% better road life and less pot-holes.
PET bottles are only now being collected and recycled. Dumping of PET bottles from abroad, almost free, have made local collection unviable. If imports are stopped, local recycling capacity will turn to Indian waste and clean up our streets. Contact for collection services in your city.
What is NOT currently recyclable? The gum on BOPP film labels on PET bottles interferes with recycling. Micro-sachets are not worth collecting by picking: we need “take-back” schemes to capture these. Metallised BOPP film is not found suitable for use in asphalt / tar roads. If it could be densified, it could substitute coal in foundries and cement plants, along with any other non-recycled polymer wastes.
Tetrapacks and other multi- films are hard to recycle. Use of bio-polymer films in all but the innermost layer would make Tetrapaks more recyclable in paper mills. One hardboard plant at Palghar uses post-producer waste, but requires huge capital cost for replication all-India.
Where are bio-polymers most needed? Wherever they enter the composting stream: Garbage bags for food wastes Liners for disposable diapers Liners for sanitary napkins For micro-sachets and pouch packings Use-and-throw cups which are now of recyclable HIPS but too bulky to collect
The Electronic Industry urgently needs biopolymers for easy recycling of e-Waste Currently, most e -Waste is secretly burnt to recover precious metals from chips etc. Dioxins are produced if wires are coated with PVC. Substitutes are more expensive. We need plastic substrates that dissolve in acid/alkali to recover metals without burning.
Where NOT to use Biopolymers DO NOT try to biodegrade PVC or halogen-containing polymers. Dioxins will form in contact with organics in soil /water Pune insists on costly “degradable” bags for hospital waste which is incinerated within a few hours! Allegedly to reduce tar formation on the incinerator refractories.
We need to study legislation in other countries, esp the EU India needs legislation and market strategies to promote Product Stewardship, producer responsibility and life-cycle analysis to minimise waste and make dismantling and recycling easy and economical.