Waste is an end product of the hierarchy of life or death of products and life as well. Once a product serves its purpose and considered as unwanted and obsolete, the material is discarded and called a waste. We humans create a boundless heap of Plastic components from all directions in diverse forms. Only when the used plastics are handled efficiently, it would escalate its own reduction. A Non-Biodegradable waste in particular could only follow the three R’s.
An inevitable backbone for the economic growth of a nation is Industrialization. These improvise in producing a lot more products to ascent the standard of living by tempting greater consumption. The living creatures are highly prone to threats arising due to mishandling of these toxic plastics. According to the International Coastal Cleanup results the most commonly used are straws, stirrers, beverage cans and bottles, food wrappers, grocery bags etc., These are made of Polyethylene, Polycarbonate, Polyvinyl Chloride, PET etc., apart from these plastics, we also have a major proportion of electronics industries, medical, production, Automobile etc.,
Waste is often considered as a menace and not as a resource because it spoils the aesthetics of the living spaces and poses a threat to life. Effective management and handling of waste is an important factor for the developmental progress of a nation. As we could witness Swachch Bharat Mission is sensitizing the citizens to create a clean nation for the betterment of the ambient environment. 25,940 tonnes of plastic wastes are generated in India every day and of which 60 percent of it is recycled and the rest are littered. Littering of plastics create unhygienic conditions by acting as a breeding ground for insects creating a disaster, affects soil fertility, blocks drainage and sewage and would result in suffocation in animals when ingested. AS the need for the plastic is rocketing the necessity in recycling should also surge to great heights.
Plastic recycling is more challenging than the metal and glass. Initially when different types of plastics are put in a common dustbin and taken for recycling, they are melted causing it to become immiscible as that of oil and water. Additives are added to improve the integrity of the material improving the sustainability. The machine consists of shredders, incinerators, extruder, pelletizing unit and drying unit. Though not economical the machines are mandatory. The plastic production rate started to increase from 1980’s and having a sharp rise in the late 20th and early 21st century and still on its ascent. The recycling rate is also mutually on the rise. Creativity has to make marvelous out of the discarded. The discarded PET products are collected, shred, and made into a solid brick by adding additives. In quite a remote and underdeveloped area where cost of bricks are at peak, these plastic bricks can be a replacement. These outweigh the normal bricks as possess better insulating and sound proofing properties. Adventurer volunteers from Hillsborough used plastic prefabricated building blocks in construction of houses in Dominican Republic. These blocks resemble Lego blocks. Cost effective, earthquake-proof, fire-resistant and easy to assemble. It is rapidly filling up the Latin America, Asia and Africa for the ones who do not own a home.
Once when a startup went to an Everest camp they noticed plastic dumps on road corners and later thought it would convert Himalaya into Dumpalaya. Recycling plastics to create a new product isn’t an easy task and such a product should have a good life expectancy. High-density polyethylene (HDPE) and Polypropylene (PP) is used for tile making. The plant in Uttar Pradesh, Ghaziabad produces around 10000 paver tiles and 4500 square tiles in a day. 1 kg of plastic gives around 1 sq. ft. of tile. These tiles are anti-static, antimicrobial, that has boiling point at 140 degree Celsius and can be cooled down to -25 degree Celsius. The load bearing capacity ranges from 20 tonnes to 40 tonnes. These tiles can be used to floor the park’s walking spaces etc.
The waste plastics are also made into roads by using this as an additive to asphalt mix. Discarded plastics are used in creating the signboards as they could neglect painting costs, repairs, and non-corrosive coatings etc., Steel is a way much costlier than the discarded plastics, is one of the main reason for its replacement. Recycled plastic planter pots, swimwear, waste sorting bins, backpacks, surfboards, skateboards etc., are picking up pace in a slow and steady way so as not to stumble.
A government initiative is just an idea promoter for the people to get into businesses making out of these discarded plastic dumps. Entrepreneurs are one of the optimistic and effective dispatch-riders to turn waste into wealth with initial investments. Any product we get be it food, metals, chemicals, luxury metals, fuels or anything, it is somehow related to soil i.e. ground and so we must never let plastics touch the earth’s surface be it land or water. When converting waste to wealth makes a minute sense, then why can this not be made practically possible? If every industry adopts the method of waste into wealth the economy improves for the industry and automatically for the nation it is in.
At one time, wastes were piled like mountains and people didn’t have profound knowledge on how to use them. Today, it’s gratifying to see the technology and knowledge. The conclusion could be derived from the fact that there is no such thing as throwing stuff away. There is no “away”. Every single object that’s meant expired will never disappear especially plastics. In human time scale any product on following 3R’s would obviously save energy, money, life, etc., As we all know that the legs feed the wolf is just as same as wastes create wealth.