:: Waste Disposal
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Waste Management - A Social Problem
Modern life-style with its emphasis on consumption and disposal
has brought in its wake the acute problem of Solid Waste Management
across the globe. The problem is aggravated due to pressure
on land space on our planet. The urban solid waste consists
of different materials - wet and dry. In a typical composition
of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), it is estimated that plastic
waste constitutes only 5-6 per cent.
of Municipal Solid Waste in Mumbai - Click here
Plastics are quite often, probably due to their bright colour
and visibility, criticized for contributing to the waste problem,
although, in reality plastics constitute a very miniscule
percentage of urban solid waste both in volume and weight.
Instead of singling out any one material our effort should
be to streamline waste management system right from source
reduction to collection, sorting, re-usage and recycling and
finally disposal and incineration wherever applicable.
The Potential Of Recycled Plastics - A Second Life
Plastics' recycling takes place on a significant scale in
India. As much as 60 per cent of both industrial and urban
plastic waste is recycled. Plastic wastes have immense economic
value. Almost all the plastic waste is converted into co-products
and by-products. Most of it is mechanically recycled into
products like containers, footwear, boards, partitions, profiles,
pipes and other building and construction materials. Waste
plastics are also recycled into lumber/wood products like
rails, fencings, posts, benches, water pots, monofilaments
etc. Plastic beverage bottle is being recycled into synthetic
fibre for clothing and bedding applications.
Plastics are 100 per cent recyclable by various means. Technology
is being continuously upgraded to improve the process of recycling,
quality of recyclate and the quality and performance of the
end products. Raw materials have a high value and are a precious
resource, so to conserve both money and the environment the
industry makes every effort to recover as much as possible.
It is often reported that burning of plastic bags releases
toxic and carcinogenic elements into the environment while
the truth is that plastic bags are made from polyethylenes
which have basic building blocks of carbon and hydrogen. Burning
of such bags provides only harmless carbon dioxide and water
which are part of the natural atmospheric cycle.
The majority of municipal waste is still used as landfill,
due to the very high cost of facilities for the sorting, separation
and recycling of waste. As plastics are stable, both physically
and chemically they in turn provide stability to the tips.
This provides a safe and solid foundation upon which to build;
thereby releasing land for development. However, as far as
plastic waste is concerned, recycling and re-use is the answer
or incineration at the end of it all.
Conserving The Environment
The plastics industry is concerned that it should take appropriate
care of resources and the environment. The advantages of plastics
over other raw materials are apparent from the beginning of
their life cycle. Research shows that it often takes less
energy to make products in plastics, and although most plastics
depend on oil, coal or gas they are responsible for only a
small fraction of the national consumption of these fuels.
In addition, as plastics are lighter and easier to store and
transport, energy savings are made. As well as developments
in the recycling of plastics, there have been interesting
advances in the production of degradable plastics for products
that need only a limited life.
Plastics recycling are in the growth phase as the whole industry
is still relatively young. A further development in recycling,
which is being researched, is the recovery of the individual
chemical components of plastics for re-use as chemicals, or
for the manufacture of new plastics. ICPE is committed to
encouraging industry to exploit the potential of plastics
for recycling. It recognizes that many of the measures that
could be taken to increase recycling ventures are inhibited
by both cost and practicalities. The ICPE proposes to hold
seminars on recycling issues, to ensure innovation and development
within the plastics industry.
Plastic recycling industry in Indian is of tremendous economic
importance. Besides providing gainful employment to thousands
of skilled and unskilled people it provides cheap inputs for
industry and also cheap, affordable consumer products for
the middle class and poorer sections of the society.
A Source Of Energy
Material recovery is by no means the only way to recycle
plastics. Incineration is another option that also helps recover
their thermal content, providing an alternative source of
energy. An average typical value for polymers found commonly
in house hold waste is 38 mega joules per kilogram (MJ/kg),
which compares favourably to the equivalent value of 31 MJ/kg
for coal. This represents a valuable resource raising the
overall calorific value of domestic waste which can then be
recovered through controlled combustion and re-used in the
form of heat and steam to power electricity generators. This
method is being put to use in Japan, the UK and in some of
the European countries. However, it will take a long time
before India could adopt the technology.
News Items / Special Information
Imagine not taking out the trash for a year. Vijay pawgi will show you how
Pali Village divided over waste segregation
Is Britain dumping e-waste on India?
BMC gets wise about waste to enforce segregation of garbage in residential