PLASTIC : FROM WASTE TO WEALTH
“THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS ‘AWAY’ WHEN WE THROW ANYTHING AWAY ,IT MUST GO SOMEWHERE. “ -ANNIE LEONARD
A straw with our iced coffee, a plastic bag to carry our takeout , a wrapper on a candy bar, taken individually, each seems harmless.These modern conveniences are so ubiquitous and so quickly thrown out- that they hardly register in our minds. But single use plastics (sup) come with a steep environmental price , one that we will paying off for millennia .Our plastic addiction is having a devastating impact on our oceans our wildlife and our health .
HOW PLASTIC REACHES US
Plastic is everywhere the candy wrapped in plastic, the soda cans we buy ,the bags we carry to our schools and the main path of it to reach us is the shops and the markets .As everything we buy is wrapped in plastic.
JOURNEY OF THE PLASTICS
When we throw sup in the bin of our house,we think it would be recycled. Plastic which we put in the dustbin ends up in landfill,when rubbish is being transported to landfill ,plastic is often blown away because it’s so lightweight. From there it can eventually clutter around drains and enter rivers and the sea this way.Plastics when dropped at the streets is carried forward by rainwater and wind, and through drains , drains lead to ocean.Many of the products we use daily are flushed down toilets,including wet wipes, cotton buds and sanitary products.
Microfibres are even released into waterways,when we wash our clothes in the washing machine. They are too small to be filtered out by waste water plants and end up being consumed by small marine species, eventually ending up in our food chain.
PREVENTION AND WAY FORWARD
We can do simple things to avoid plastic pollution , by using reusable bags and pouches. We can also use straw made of bamboo to avoid plastics. India generates about 62 million tonnes of garbage every year. More than 45 million tonnes of waste in India remain untreated .We need innovative ideas for using the thrown materials to our benefit. We can convert waste to a product that can be put to primary use and also can be viewed as a process of generating wealth, which can be called ‘ WASTE TO WEALTH ‘. Poor waste management strategies undertaken by the authorities are a very important reason of such huge number of waste accumulation. To solve India’s problem several startups seems to be getting involved in making wealth from waste.
Karma Recycling is today a leading trade-in operator and redistributor of electronics in India. The website portal allows the users to trade in over 700 models of working and non-working smartphones, tablets, and laptops. What the company does is simple; it buys old electronic device in any condition and recycles it . With more than 950 million devices currently in use, India is the third largest mobile device market in the world, and is rapidly becoming a global nerve center for device commerce. But, unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness and inadequate access to recycling, these devices that could be refreshed, repaired, refurbished, resold, are either being wasted or ending up in landfills, polluting our environment. E-waste is slowly becoming one of India’s biggest problems.
Karma Recycling came with the philosophy that a useless device for someone can turn into a useful device for someone else. To sell the used device, all we have to do is go to their website, submit details and answer a simple questionnaire.
GPS Renewables is a Bangalore based enterprise that is solving the urban organic waste management problem in an economical and environmentally clean way. Founded by Mainak Chakraborty and Sreekrishna Sankar, the company is working on a thumb rule of – Zero wastage. It is turning all the kitchen and other organic waste into biogas which has been around in India for a long time but its installations have traditionally not taken off because of poor awareness and cost issues.
The company launched a pilot project named BioUrja which is a compact plug-and-play system that users can install anywhere with minimal civil work, and is perfect for bulk generators of bio-degradable waste. The system has proven to be effective since 2013 and processes around 600 kgs of kitchen waste every single day. The company has now expanded beyond India into Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.
Another startup named CODE collects and recycles cigarette waste, and even pays us for it Smoking cigarette is harmful! But, it is harmful even when it is disposed off. Cigarette butts take anywhere between 18 months and 10 years to fully decompose. The cigarette butt, discarded after smoking, is one of the most littered items in the world today, moreover, it is an environmental hazard. Now a Noida-based company – Code, is recycling all kinds of cigarette waste and trying to tackle this problem.
Two friends in their twenties, Vishal Kant and Naman Gupta, started this startup. The company pays Rs. 700 for every kilogram of cigarette waste, and Rs. 80 for every 100 grams. Their customers are people who smoke as well as those who sell cigarettes.
Pom Pom is a web-based recycling platform that helps people to dispose off recyclable waste in a responsible manner. What’s great is that the Pom Pom service also pays us back for our waste management initiative; it is one of a kind ‘Trash to Cash’ service that pays you for your unwanted recyclable trash. Founded by Deepak Sethi and Kishor K Thakur, POM POM service has started its operations in South Delhi. According to government data, ll is among the top ten largest plastic waste producing cities in the country. To address the growing waste concerns of the city, Pom Pom started converting recyclables into raw form, which can be used to create new different products.The best part is that this startup is just a call away. One can also put in the request via the mobile app.
Protoprint, a Pune based enterprise has partnered with Pune’s waste pickers and is converting plastic waste into filaments for 3D printing. According to the data provided by the government, more than 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in India every day, of which 6,000 tonnes remain uncollected and littered. In order to overcome this worrisome statistic, Siddhant Pai founder of Protoprint partnered with SWaCH (Solid Waste Collection and Handling, or SWaCH Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit) and started buying plastics filaments from the organisation for 300 rupees. The company has set up ‘Filament Labs’ at dumpsites as well where they process High-Density Polythene (HDPE), such as shampoo and detergent bottles. The bottles are converted into flakes which are then melted and extruded into HDPE filaments which are then used in the process of 3D printing, an additive manufacturing technique in which one can create, or print, objects layer by layer using raw material powder or filament as feedstock.
As the Country steps up effort to ‘clean INDIA’ initiatives such as these are demonstrating that a combination of awareness ,innovation and partnerships can go a long way in transforming waste to wealth