Practical Solutions to Plastic Waste

  Plastic Waste Utization by Bhopal and many more

Life gives us many opportunities. One of the rarest opportunities that I was bestowed was to organise Municipal Solid Waste Management Programme in all over India. The opportunity knocked my door when I was working as Environment Scientist in Environment Protection Training and Research Institute (EPTRI), Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh. The origin or I must say idea of the programme sponsored by MoEF now MoEF&CC was to sensitize people and train the trainers; means to train and update people who actually work in every state under Government or Private Organization for Management of waste or other Environment issues.  The programme was thus called Training of Trainers (ToT) programme on Municipal Solid Waste and Plastic Waste Management.  So, our target audience were Municipal Officers, University, Environment Organizations and offcourse Pollution Control Boards.

I with my Head of the Department travelled to many States of India; starting from Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh) itself to Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh), Patna (Bihar), Guwahati (Assam) and Kolkata (West Bengal). Lets start with the first; my best and most practical experience on plastic waste utilization

Bhopal Success Story on Plastic Waste Management

The best of all experience was Bhopal Training Programme. The major credit goes to SARTHAK Samudayik Vikas Evam Jan Kalyan Sanstha .

They were not alone in this great initiative.Other hands without them the task would be impossible were Bhopal Municipal Corporation ; Madhya Pradesh. Pollution Control Board; Urban Development Departments, Govt. Of MP; Banks; EPCO and State Government  

"Great things are done by a series of small things braught together" - Vincent Van Gogh.

So the initiative started with 5 wards of Bhopal Municipal Corporation(BMK). The focus behind the work was the bad state of environment and animals suffering from plastic waste. In an astonishing case when 21 kg of plastic waste was found in carcass of a cow...we refer cow as our Maa.

Social causes make you more determined. The same happened with SARTHAK; the plight of rag picker as we know everywhere in India make them even more determined about this initiative on plastic waste management.

Broad Objectives of initiative were:

Threat of plastic burning

Plastic is generally burnt in open fires with municipal solid waste, in winters the events are more as it provide lot of warmth to poor people living on roads.They don't even know that with lot of warmth major cancer causing agents are making a way in their body. 

Plastic waste can be treated in many ways but the major threats related to any management activity is the fear regarding significant amounts of dioxin and furan emissions at low temperature burning of plastic

  • Di-benzo-dioxins (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin, 5,10 Oxygen) 
  • Di-benzo-furans (2,3,7,8-tetrachloro-dibenzofuran, 10, Oxygen)

The main concern of SARTHAK as well as MPPCB was to ensure that the flue gases reach a temperature of at least 850 °C for 2 seconds for proper breakdown of toxic organic substances

The Cement Kilns were the best suited industry for the cause because in the cement kilns, the temperature ranges from 1400 °C to 1450 °C and the residence time is more than 4 seconds

Steps Involved

Awareness and training of stakeholders starting from house maids to senior authority was a herculean task. Different set of skills are required for training different category of people. The sensitization towards environment and risk for ourself are major points to be accepted by people.

Detailed process (given by sarthak)


Sarthak Karmi

In India, many poor people even don't exist in records. Giving identity and income to such poor rag pickers was the aim of the project. It was next to impossible; to convince them to join hands. Even after support of only 265 ragpickers out of choosen 1465 and 42 kabari waala out of targeted 355; SARTHAK didn't succumb and put their best for the initiative.

Provided identity (Identity Cards) and free medical insurance and other routine medical check ups to make sure they are not affected by working in the filth. More then that a beautiful name SARTHAK KARMI. Respectful names and identity surely make people confident and happy; it did wonders :)

Association of Cement Industries

As we discussed Cement Industries are one of the best; firstly high energy requirement and Govt. mandate to switch to renewable energy resources; Secondly high temperature of 1400 - 1450 degree celcius which don't allow the formation of Dioxins and Furans. Starting with brand name ACC Cement Industries many other industries flock to the programme.

Project Set up

The diagram shows the process of collecting, cleaning, bailing and shredding of polythenes to the introduction as a fuel at high temperature. Initially coal is used to start the process and plastic was introduced after attaining high temperature.

Problems that we generally face is polythene don't come alone in environment, they are generally accompanied with food, sanitary pads and other waste. Animal also eat polythene just in a struggle to eat food inside it. Clean polythenes bailed at home like newspapers can actually be a resources rather than a waste.



Hardwork tells it all

Bhopal Model was worth sharing during other training programmes, to my students and now to everyone. ALL THE BEST BHOPAL. WE NEED TO REPLICATE.

Some other Experience and Solutions on Plastic Waste Management

Plastic Waste Management : Practical Solutions

Before going for training; as I was one of the speaker I studies alot about the status of plastic waste management in India. Some of the ways that attracted me and my focus was the use of plastic in road construction, for fuel oil and reuse in form of new products.

Use of Plastic in road construction : Initiative by : Shri K. Ahmed Khan, Managing Director, KK Plastic Waste Management Pvt. Ltd.

Polymerized bitumen by mixing plastic with asphalt was prepared which act as a binding agent and is water resistant.  Bangalore Municipal Corporation laid about 40 km of roads in different localities of the city using polymerized bitumens and observed them for 18 months including two monsoons

The roads were long lasting because of  being impervious to water

Initial cost of road was about three percent more than conventional road but the cost was recovered due to lesser repairs. It was estimated that about 2 tons of plastic waste is needed for every one kilometer of a single lane road.

Plastic roads in Delhi

Similar technology was used by Delhi Public Works Department (PWD)  for strengthening the roads using waste plastic and micro-surfacing technology.

The road lengths covered were 71 km in south Delhi and 32 km in east Delhi. The plastic waste technology involves mixing waste plastic with bitumen. The thickness of roads was raised by 10 -15 mm and such roads last up to seven years. This technology can help in taking care of plastic waste in the city, the technology is eco-friendly and consumes less material.

Madhya Pradesh also used plastic in road construction apart from its utilization in cement kilns. 

  • Better resistance to Rain water
  • Good Strength
  • Pollution free
  • It has long life

Fuel Oil from Plastic Waste : NAGPUR

Initiative by : Smt. Alka Zadgaonkar  and Mr. Zadgaonkar (Patented Technology)

M/s Inventor’s Laboratory – Maharashtra started commercial Production of manufacturing fuel from Plastic Waste in April 2005. 5000 litres of fuel per day from 5MT of plastics waste. Selling price Rs.18 per litre.Local traders supply input low-end plastics @Rs.3.0 to 3.5 per Kg. The major industries includes Pepsi Co., Paper Products, Bhadrachalam Paper Mills

CEE: Plastic Management

Center for Environment Education has innovated  Polyloom, a plastic weaving handloom that helps reuse and recycling of discarded plastic bags

Won ‘Plasticon 2005 Award' for ‘Innovation in Recycling Technology'

CEE has established an ‘Ecofriendly Reuse and Recycling Unit' (CEE-ERU) for recycling of paper scraps and plastic carry bags. In this unit, paper scrap is recycled by the hand-made paper making method while polybags are reused through the polybags weaving method.


Products from Plastic

Seminar kit bags and folders, Double cot mat, Single cot mat, Dining mat, Yoga mat, Box type market bag, Fancy market bag & Shoulder bag, Tiffin bags, Hand purse, Dining set, Mobile case, CD case , Pencil case,  Travelers’ bag & Cloth market bag etc.

I got to see the products designed my CEE in training programme at Lucknow; and they were awesome, I loved them. Bit expensive obviously but worth for saving my MOTHER EARTH.