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  Home >> Cleanliness >> PLASTICS WASTE MANAGEMENT



The strategy for effective management of plastics wastes should entail the three R's: Reduction, Reuse and Recycling of wastes. Hence, the action programme suggested by the Task Force includes a package of Preventive, Promotional and Mitigative (PP) measures to achieve these objectives. The implementation of the strategy will require active involvement of all sections of the society in which the industry and the civic authorities are the key partners. They have to act in unison to discharge their responsibilities. Public participation and catalytic support from the Government are the two important pre-requisites for implementation of the strategy.

The action programme for implementation of the strategy covers the following components:

  1. Preventive measures: Minimizing use of plastics, segregation of wastes and compliance of environmental guidelines
  2. Promotional measures: Improvement in waste collection system and recycling technologies.
  3. Mitigative measures: Public awareness programme and penalties for littering, fire protection and safety measures. .
Institutional Mechanism
Establishment of a network of concerned Industry Associations, and the Indian Centre for Plastics in the environment (ICPE), for Government-industry interaction.

  1. Guidelines on Plastics Packaging
    Packaging constitutes 52% of plastics consumption. Accordingly, this issue was addressed by the Task Force and 'Guidelines on Plastics Packaging and Packaging Waste' were prepared. Guidelines lay down measures aimed, as the first priority, at preventing the production of packaging waste, and as additional fundamental principles, at reusing, at recycling, and other forms of recovering packaging waste, and hence, at reducing the final disposal of such waste.
  2. BIS Guidelines/Specifications
    The manufacture of products using recycled plastics should follow appropriate BIS "Guideline for Recycling of Plastics" and Indian Standard "Recycled Plastics for the manufacturing of Products-Designation", which have been finalized by Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS).
  3. Limits to Recycling
    Beyond Type-II materials; (post-consumer plastics waste of unknown origin having visible impurities, as per BIS Guideline), recycling of plastics waste should be banned. Alternatively, use of such plastics wastes (beyond Type-II) should be resorted to for energy recovery. Recycling of multilayer film packaging and plastics wastes beyond Type-II also be considered for use as composites and volume applications, such as substitutes for wood/concrete products.
  4. Circulation of Dirty Coloured Plastics Carry-bags/Products
    Consumer items, such as toys, water bottles, Kodum, carry bags etc., should not be allowed to use recycled plastics wastes, beyond Type-I (100%). Instead a blend with virgin plastics be encouraged (50:50), and efforts should be made not to downgrade the quality and performance of end products. Reprocessors using dirty plastics wastes for the manufacture of consumer items will be warned of the environmentally unsound practice. Manufacture of dirty coloured carry-bags with visible contamination and their circulation in the market should be banned.
  5. Recycling Logistics
    The integrated plastics wastes management needs the cooperation and participation of plastics industry, local authorities and the consumers. The industry needs to take the lead in supporting pilot collection schemes with the objective of channelising more and more post-consumer plastics wastes for recycling.
  6. Consumer Awareness Programme
    Social and environmental issues relevant to the plastics industry should be addressed by the industry. For this, it is recommended that a country-wide consumer awareness programme be launched from time to time through media, exhibitions, newsletters, publications, video films, posters etc., for the education of common man, environmentalists, Government Departments, trade associations, educational institutions etc.
  7. Applications Development Research
    Appropriate applications development research programme should be launched by the industry in association with, and participation of waste reprocessors, government agencies CSIR, DST and other R&D institutions. In order to prevent repeated generation of plastics wastes, there should be shift from consumer products to volume applications, like synthetic lumber etc., where recycling plastics wastes could be technologically absorbed.
  8. Penalties for Littering
    Post-consumer plastics wastes is primary source of littering, as seen around in public places. This should be contained by promoting dustbins culture. Local authorities should promote anti- littering measures; enforce provisions of existing laws, and by imposing deterrent penalties. In this connection, it is recommended that provisions contained in HP Non-biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1995 and rules 1996, may be referred to.
  9. Incentives
    In order to prevent indiscriminate generation of plastics wastes and promote recycling incentives, technical and financial assistance should be provided. Plastics products with appropriate recyclate content should attract price preference/incentives. To promote increased use of plastics wastes, incentives, like concessions in sales tax, excise duty and custom duty, for upgradation of recycling technology, import of technology, equipment and machinery, may be considered for the better use of plastics wastes. Incentives should be provided by the plastics industry to ragpickers and NGOs for increased collection of plastics wastes from public places.
  10. Recycling/Reprocessing machinery Equipment
    These are already being manufactured in India. The existing units mostly depend upon local machinery. However, there is a scope of upgradation of recycling technology in tune with the scale of operations, and use of improved machinery. The plastics industry/waste recycling units should compile and inventory of such machinery and their requirements.
  11. Hazardous Plastics Waste
    Plastics waste generated as a result of use of large number of products in Health and Medicare, i.e. hospitals, nursing homes/clinics, should be carefully segregated. Infected plastics waste products should not be resorted to for materials recycling. Same is applicable in respect of plastics containers/packaging, used for shorting of hazardous and toxic chemicals including insecticides, pesticides, and petroleum products. These should be carefully segregated from waste stream, and not resorted to materials recycling, but incinerated as per Notification on Bio Medical Waste issued by Ministry of Environment and Forests. Only clean packaging waste, like films, EPS shaped mouldings, glucose bottles etc., are to be segregated for materials recycling.
  12. Fire Protection and Safety Measures
    Appropriate fire protection/safety measures should be planned in and around plastics wastes dumps, waste dealers markets, and reprocessing units, to prevent fire accidents. Waste dumps and dealers' markets should be located in specified industrial areas.
  13. Networks for Concerned Industry Associations
    To facilitate monitoring growth and diversification of plastics packaging industry - both flexible, like carry/shopping bags, multilayer film packaging, film wraps etc., and rigid packaging, like EPS shaped moulded packaging, blow moulded containers, PVC PET bottles, disposables used in hotel and catering establishments, it would be necessary for each of these products manufactures to form into individual Associations, with a view to promoting waste management as a result of their use, encouraging organized recycling, and upgrading its technology. In this connection, the plastics industry should resort to concepts of minimizing plastics waste, reuse and increased materials recycling.
  14. Centre for Plastics in the environment: Government - Industry Interaction
    The Task Force recommended setting up of an autonomous Institution under the name "Indian Centre for Plastics in Environment" (ICPE). Social, environmental and technical issues in respect of plastics industry/processors with specific emphasis on waste, should be handled by this Centre based on the pattern followed by similar institutions abroad. The plastics industry is advised to work out modalities of funding and operation, and finalize and setup of the Centre.

    To achieve the targets (by 2002), relating to above activity, following Action Plan has been recommended by the Task Force:

    1. Action by the Ministry of Environment & Forests
    (a) Announcement of strategy and action programme for plastics waste management in the country;
    (b) Issuance of "Guideline on Plastics Packaging and Packaging-Waste";
    (c) Coordination with the Bureau of Indian Standards for issuance of guidelines and standards on recycled plastics;
    (d) Promotion of activities towards better awareness in respect of plastics waste and recycling; and
    (e) Constitution of Implementation and Monitoring Committee for follow-up of the recommendation of Task Force.

    2. Action by the Industry
    (a) Setting up of the Indian Centre for plastics in the Environment;
    (b) Implementation of Guideline on Plastics Packaging and Plastics Waste; BIS Guidelines on Recycling Plastics;
    (c) Taking up of lead role in establishing effective waste collection system through pilot projects;
    (d) Participation in Implementation and Monitoring Committee; and
    (e) Establishing network of concerned industry Associations for promoting waste management and organized recycling.

It is one of the beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping himself. --Charles Dudley Warner