“Every year the world uses 500 billion plastic bags .” -UN estimates
“India generates 56 lakh tonnes of plastic waste every year”.
Careless disposal of plastic causes:-
●Chokes drains ●Blocks porosity of soil. ●Causes problems for groundwater discharge. ●Animals can engulf plastics which causes death. Municipal solid waste is the principal source of all the problems mentioned above.
In keeping with the present practices and estimates of waste generation :- 90% of generated waste is landfilled requiring 1200 hectare of land every year with an average depth of 3 m . It is desirable that adequate land be earmarked for solid waste disposal .
After knowing these detrimental problems caused due improper disposal of plastic waste we are obliged to dispose of our waste wisely ; otherwise these waste will foil our plan to make our earth healthy and green.
Disposing plastic waste wisely without any severe impacts on environment are as follows :-
Journey of plastic waste to wealth :
India’s plastic recycling industry gives employment and business opportunities to many families .How? We have following data to prove it right :- Its turnover is – Rs. 15 ,000 Crores.
Volume recycled is – 2.6 Million tonnes .
Number Of units are – 10,000 Total employment for rag pickers – 1.5 million.
This data shows the exquisite developments and innovations in waste management .
There are various innovations which are working toward the plastic waste management and curbing the pollution. These are as follows :-
●Using plastic waste in road construction.
●Using plastic waste in fuel making. (Pyrolysis and gasification )
●Using plastic waste to convert into bricks with the help of foundry waste.
●In making bags from plastic waste (after cleaning the plastic waste )
●In making chairs, tables , creative objects etc. (But these are not the ultimate solutions ).
Key fact : 94% of plastic waste generated is recyclable and belongs to the thermoplastic family while the rest 6% are non recyclable thermoset plastics.
Now we will briefly discuss how we can convert plastic waste into wealth.
Road construction :
” Every year 45 lakh crores are spent on maintenance of roads and plastic roads are cost effective and nil maintenance are required ”
For the flexible pavement, hot stone aggregate (170°C) is mixed with hot bitumen (160°C) and mixed with shredded plastics is used for road laying.Road laying is done between 110-130 ° C to get better results using an 8 ton roller.
Socio- economic impacts :-
●10 % Bitumen replacement .
●1 Km of 7 ft wide road from 1 million tonne of plastic waste . ●Average savings of 8000 Rs/ Km ●10 % rural roads covered ~ 2.6 lacs km savings of ~ Rs. 2.6 billion. ●Road construction provides impetus to ragpickers and gives employment as it requires manpower for construction.
●In this advanced era we are facing problems regarding roads in villages there are poor roads which generates dust ,as a result of this poor transportation to get rid from such deplorable situation plastic waste will act as a boon ,and no student ,milkman ,vegetable seller will face problem and best results will emerge out and govt fiscal problem will be diminish.
How beneficial these roads are as follows :-
●Stronger road with increased Marshall stability value ( Marshall stability measures the maximum load sustained by the bituminous material at a loading rate of 50.8 mm/minute)
●Better resistance towards rainwater and water stagnation. ●No stripping and no potholes . ●Increase binding and better bonding of the mix.
●Reduction in pores in aggregate and hence less rutting and ravelling.
●No effect of radiation like Ultraviolet .
●The strength of the road has increased by 100%.
●For 1km × 3.75 m road ,1ton of plastic (10 lakh carry bags ) is used ,and 1 ton of bitumen is saved. ●The cost of road construction is also decreased.
●The use of waste plastics on the road has helped to provide a better place for burying the plastic waste without causing disposal problems.
Fuel from plastic waste :-
What will happen if we produce fuel from waste ? Is it possible ? The answer is Yes .Thanks to the innovation. We can now get cheaper fuel than traditional fuel which we had been using since many decades . Most exciting thing is that we are getting fuels from waste plastics ; so below we will discuss different processes and terms involved in the production of fuel.
“1 MT Waste yielding 900 litres of Diesel conforming to highest quality EN 590 diesel”
Do you know ?
Maharshtra signed MOU to produce fuel from plastic.
It involves several processes like pyrolysis, plastic waste to fuel conversion and gasification techniques for conversion of plastic waste into products that have unique properties, unlike the virgin plastic material. The plastics undergo molecular and structural level changes during this process and get converted to much simpler raw material.
Pyrolysis of plastic waste :-
Pyrolysis is endothermic irreversible thermochemical degradation.Pyrolysis of plastic waste involves breaking down the plastics into products of all the three phases solid, liquid and gas. The solid phase product essentially known as char is mostly made of carbon and has minor proportions of other elements based on the kind of plastic. The liquid product is oil like material and has properties similar to diesel as for plastics are originally petroleum based products. The gaseous phase product is known as syngas (synthetic gas), and it also has a good calorific value.
Socio economic impact :-
●Clean and economical high grade fuel.
●Impetus to waste plastic collection and ragpickers.
●Green solution to waste plastic disposal.
●The toxic components and pathogens are degraded by the use of high temperatures.( Health benefit )
●By using the produced gases as fuel ;one is able to limit the supply of external fuel.
Plastic Blocks :-
Plastic blocks are made up by the combination of Foundry waste ( an industrial waste by – product ) and plastic waste . Plastic blocks are giving new life to waste products for construction and infrastructure.
Socio-economic impacts :-
●Affordable brick structure an alternative to the traditional brick ( but traditional bricks must be used for construction purposes but these plastic waste bricks can be used for building public toilets , and in gardens etc.)
Note : Though these bricks are made up from plastics but these are non flammable due to presence of flame resistance additives which protects from catching fire, so according to new inventions these are safe for building construction.
●It saves money and energy which we use to make traditional bricks ●This offers double the strength of a traditional brick at a lower weight and reasonable price. ●Even economically weaker sections can afford these bricks to make their dream home.
●By using these advanced bricks, the government can make houses for residents of slum areas.
Other uses of plastic waste :-
In Nigeria reg pickers especially women collect plastic waste and then wash them and they are converting these wastes into beautiful bags ,purses, laptop bags , doormates ,and many creative items and people are buying from them.
Socio- economic impacts :-
●These initiative is providing impetus to ragpickers
●People are getting new products . ●Ragpickers are earning money proudly and moulding their creativity .
So these are the examples of earning wealth from plastic waste.
Concern for ragpickers :-
Do we know that our dirty packets can take the lives of rag pickers and dustbin collectors ? If after use we will wash our plastic waste with water we can save many lives .Our paramount responsibility is that we have to wash and clean everything before throwing it into the dustbin . Many ragpickers faces problems while collecting plastic waste. Sometimes this waste is carcinogenic and if they are diagnosed with cancer like disease, how will they afford treatment ? Sometimes our waste is too harsh to cut their skin . ” Clean ,wash the item before throwing it into the dustin as there are also other lives who are doing their jobs selflessly to collect your high profile plastic waste ”
Yes .We got the solution to convert waste into wealth but it doesn’t mean that we will keep on producing waste. We have to reduce our waste wisely .Proper extension education of plastic and plastic waste segregation is the need of the hour .Use of waste plastics for pavement is one of the best methods for easy disposal of waste plastics.The use of the innovative technologies not only strengthened the road construction ,fuel generation ,material construction but also increased the energy efficiency as well as creating a source of income. Plastic roads would be a boon for India’s hot and extremely humid climate, where temperatures frequently cross 50°C, and torrential rains create havoc, leaving most of the roads with big potholes.Converting waste to wealth is not the big achievement of ours but it is the slap in our face to realize how illiterate we are those who do not know the etiquettes of use of plastic in efficient manner and its safe disposal .Limiting the use of plastic will be our greatest achievement.
“Plastic waste management is not the ultimate solution but the individual’s concern about plastic is the permanent solution”