at Mumbai Central Station, Western
One of its key objectives of ICPE is to work together with
civic authorities and other Govt. Departments in facilitating
collection and recycling of plastic waste through technological
Indian Railways are a large source of plastic waste in the
form of PET bottles (drinking water), food packaging, tumblers
and cups etc.
the waste is collected and sold to recyclers;
large amount of
waste gets strewn on the rails or littered
inside and outside the
coaches. Plastics are light in weight
but rather voluminous and any attempts of collection of the
waste get hampered because of difficulty in transporting
the voluminous waste. ICPE have devised a compactor that
can be used to reduce this volume by compacting so that transportation
becomes relatively easier.
In October 2001, ICPE set up a compactor machine made at
a cost of about Rs 1.75 lakhs with a capacity of 6
8 bales of PET bottles per hour at the Mumbai Central station.
Western Railway has provided space and power for keeping and
running of the compactor at Mumbai Central.
The compactor has been operating at the Mumbai Central since
October with good success. The two contract workers on the
job collect bottles from various parts of the station; bring
the bottles to the storage bins at the compaction site. The
caps, labels are then removed manually from each bottle since
these are made from other type of plastic material and can
interfere in the PET plastic recycling process. With this,
the bottles are ready for compaction. At the moment the collection
rate is around 1000 1500 bottles a day. The compacted
bales are taken away by the recycler appointed by ICPE and
transported to the recycling units. One tempo load roughly
equals 250 kgs. of baled bottles. (About 10,000 bottles).
As in any other pilot projects, there are problems to be
sorted out such as raising public awareness, coordination
with a number of agencies but the central idea that there
is a solution to used PET bottles seems to be catching on.
According to Western Railway authorities, 2000 PET bottles
are collected or found littered daily on the station. Based
on the success of this project, the Railway authorities are
considering to install such compactors at other railway stations
too, as it solves the problem of disposing voluminous waste.
ICPE will be coordinating in such future projects.
Mr. K. G. Ramanathan President , Governing
Council ICPE stated Bottles are either strewn
around or used for undesirable purposes by urchins and other
elements. High transport costs make the disposal difficult.
The compactor has been specifically designed to facilitate
crushing and baling of the bottles so that they can be easily
sent for recycling into materials such as cushions, bedding,
boxes, trays strappings etc.
Presently discussions are in progress with railway officials
and other PET bottle end-users such as Mineral water bottling
companies to upgrade the technology and examine the replication
of the project at other stations.