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India has witnessed a substantial growth in the production of plastics and an

increased consumption of plastic. In the absence of adequate waste collection
and segregation process, the management of the waste created by discarded used
plastics items, especially ones used for packaging applications has become a
challenging task. This article provides an overview of the resource recovery from
plastic waste with consideration of integrated waste management (IWM), to
evaluate the best possible option for tackling waste in Indian circumstances.


Economic development significantly contributes to improvements in life

standards. Therefore, both economic development and environmental
conservation are the, immense important aspects and priorities of 21st century.
Both require simultaneous indispensable support and adequate consideration, so
that they are in fact not only being compatible but also remain mutually
supportive. However, coupled with life standard improvement, economic
prosperity also induces environmental degradation with long-term irreversible
consequences for nature. Rapid population, urbanization, and industrial growth
have led to severe waste management problems in several cities around the
world. Simultaneous development economic prosperity and industrialization
often conflict with sound environmental considerations. The real problem,
however, is the lack or inadequate environment management at a grass root
level. The basic requirement is, therefore, need an approach toward
technological development for the minimization of environmental degradation.
2 . Scenario of WastePlastics

Production, Consumption, and Waste Generation: GlobalScenario

Globally, each year nearly 140 MT of plastics is produced. A recent study in

Western Europe estimated the annual total consumption of plastics at 49 MT
(in 2003) corresponding to 98 kg per capita. Decadal growth (1993–2003) of
per capita annual plastic consumption in Western Europe was 34 kg. The global
plastics additives market was about 9.9 MT in year 2000 with a value of US$19
billion. Nearly, 80% of the global plastics additives were being consumed by
the USA, China, India, and Eastern Europe outside of the European Union.
However, South East Asia, especially India and China has emerged as the
global leader in plastics consumption, with over 52 MT consumption of plastics
in 2004. Plastic additive markets are growing at about 3% annual rate in Europe
and Asia, whereas China is predicted to grow at 8–10%. The annual
consumption of plastics in the USA is estimated as 38.9 MT, closely followed
by China 38.8 MT per annum.
Plastic Production, Consumption, and Waste Generation:
Indian Scenario

In 1990–1991, India produced 0.363 MT of plastics polymer, but within a

decade, an incredible 890% increase leads to total plastics production to 3.2 MT
(2000–2001). Plastics production in India further rises to 4.77 MT in 2005–
2006, maximum of which are polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene
(HDPE). Among different types of plastic polymer, low-density polyethylene
(LDPE) demonstrates maximum growth in consumption in India closely
followed by HDPE and PP .Polyethylene (PE), PP, and polyvinyl chloride
(PVC) also contribute a large share in India’s polymer market mainly due their
low cost and durability. On an average the commodity plastics viz. PE, PP,
PVC, and polystyrene (PS) accounts 80% of the total plastic consumption in
3 . Integrated Solid Waste Management

Solid waste treatment and disposal methods are burdened with problems. The
collection of solid waste and their transport to treatment facilities or to landfills
accounts for roughly three-fourth of the total cost of waste management. Health and
hygienic are also associated with transportation and, therefore, require special attention.
Landfill sites are mostly prone to soil and groundwater contamination, unless
scientifically managed. Recycling of waste materials also preferred in some
aspects but do possess technological constraints coupled with chances of future
contaminations. Incineration of waste materials has had problems with odor and
air pollution and also may not be found feasible due to intrinsic properties of the
waste material. The priority of waste management policy is to reduce the
quantity and toxicity of waste. The concept of waste minimization has been also
widely implemented in recent years .The role of waste prevention can be suitably
illustrated. Together with waste prevention, significant waste reduction can be
achieved by inducing the concept of changing product that should focus on
pollution reduction and resource efficiency and implementation of green design
concept. Green design mainly concerns with the reducing the environmental
impacts associated with the collection and Processing of raw materials,
manufacturing, product use, and disposal of the product .It is an important part of
the waste and pollution prevention strategy. Reduce the toxicity of materials
wherever possible. These toxic ingredients mostly create enormous problems during
the waste management stages when the product loses its usability. Therefore, green
design strategies help to reduce the amount of Toxicity associated with any
compound without hampering its usefulness and quality. Green design mainly
concerns with the reducing the environmental impacts associated with the
collection and processing of raw materials, manufacturing, product use, and
disposal of the product . It is an important part of the waste and pollution prevention
strategy. According to the Office of Technology Assessment, 15 major
components of the green design are waste prevention and better management of
materials. Moreover, once a particular product reached to its end of life, the
materials still possess some secondary economic values and, therefore, additional
savings can be made by reducing easy disposal.
4. Integrated Waste Management (IWM) and
Resource Recovery: Basic Concepts

Definition of waste has a significant effect on waste management To define

material as a “waste” has an impact on what measures can be taken and also on
what measures are not permitted, as well as the administrative procedures
applying to its transport, export or processing, sale, and reuse. In general, waste
is the material perceived to have little or no value. However, waste can be
properly defined as the material that devoid of its primary economic value but
possess secondary intrinsic value. Waste minimization and its effective
treatments is the most challenging field in sustainable environment. Varieties of
wastes are produced from different sectors and due to continuous technological
advancement in the processing sector, it is expected that the characteristics of
wastes are also changeable. It is mostly emphasized that many of conventional
waste problems can be solved by minimizing the quantities of these materials
and also through product substitution, waste recovery, recycling, and waste
minimization. The waste hierarchy describes some conventional approaches for
the both minimization and management of waste .In the hierarchy of the waste
management, waste prevention is the most prefer redoption. Waste prevention is
also described as the combinations of source reduction coupled with reuse of
5. Plastics: IWM & Resource Recovery

Recycling of WastePlastics
Recycling is the combination of several technologies that are carried out on waste
plastics to produce secondary raw materials. Although recycling has a long-lasting
history, it has only recently that environmental concerns and waste management
issuesareconsideredduetogradual increase in public awareness. Nearly, all the waste
materials found in a common MSW are well capable to undergo recycling process
with a variable extent of efficiencies. However, the process should be
Environmentally sound, technically feasible, and economically profitable.
Recovery of secondary raw materials through recycling and composting is given
the highest priority in the solid management hierarchy after source reduction and
reuse. Recycling is somewhat different from reuse, where the materials do not
return for remanufacturing.

Recycling Comparison of Technologies

In general, plastics fall into one of the two main groups: thermoplastics and
thermoset plastics. Roughly, 80% of used plastics are thermoplastics that can
be repeatedly formed to a new product by the application of heat. The
majorities of house hold plastics comprise polyolefins (polyethylene
terepthalate (PET), LDPE, HDPE, or PP), which are thermoplastics and
,therefore, are easily recyclable. Poly- olefins are a major type of plastic used
throughout the world in applications such as soft-drink bottles, clear film for
packaging (PET), packaging, bags, containers pipes (LDPE), milk and water
bottles, housewares, industrial wrappings and film(HDPE), automotive parts,
film, battery cases, drinking straws, and electrical com- ponents (PP) .
In India, polyolefins share the highest percentage of total plastic consumption
followed by PVC and PS, in contrast to 60% of the total thermoplastics in
Western Europe.

Therefore, the possibility of waste plastic recycling can be more adequate, as it

is anticipated that most of the waste plastics will be thermoplasts and hence
Various approaches that have been proposed for recycling of waste plastics
mainly include
1.Primary recycling
2.Mechanical recycling
3.Plastic recycling

Primary recycling is the in-plant process of recycling of waste scraps

Mechanical recycling involves the separation of plastic polymer from its
associated contaminants and further reprocessed through melting, shredding,
and other related processes.
Plastic recycling process is chemical recycling or feedstock recycling, which
ultimately leads to complete or partial depolymerization of plastics.

Plastic Waste Management: Recent Approaches

The productive use of waste material represents a means of alleviating some of

the problems of solid waste management. Since, the disposal of waste plastic in
landfill has several harmful effects on the environment; therefore, the logical
methods for reduction negative effects are the applications of these materials in
other industries. The application of waste plastics as a fuel in cement kilns has a
potential to be an effective measure of waste reduction. Moreover, due to
extreme temperature inside kilns, the possibility of generation of any toxic gases
also reduces. Waste plastics are most suited to be use as a fuel as it has a
calorific value well comparable to that of conventional fuel. However,
chlorinated compound as PVC is especially considered because produced HCL
and chlorine gas can be readily neutralized.
7. Landfilling of Waste Plastics

Landfilling is the means of disposing waste under the soil cover. Since plastics
are mostly act as inert materials, therefore, landfill methods are thought to be an
effective method for the disposal of waste plastics. Despite the continuous
growth of recycling, source reduction and energy recovery, some proportion of
the waste will always need to dispose. Further, the simplicity to practice
landfilling makes it themost common method for disposing of MSW. However,
mostly plastics are resistant against microbial attack and, therefore, remain
persistent in environment that results a significant source of environmental
pollution, potentially harming life.In landfill, the degradation of plastics is the
process of physical or chemical change in plastic polymer due to several
environmental factors, viz.sunlight,moisture, temperature, biological activity,
etc. The biological degradation of plastic polymers can be defined as the
processes that induce changes in polymer properties due to effects of
biologically induced chemical and physical reactions that subsequently result
the chemical transformations. The principle mechanism for the biodegradation
of high molecular weight plastic polymer is enzymatic oxidation or hydrolysis
that creates certain functional groups that gradually improves its hydrophilicity.

Plastic Recycling helps to reduce the energy usage, It reduces the consumption of
fresh raw materials, It reduces the water pollution and the air pollution (from the
land filling) by reducing the need for conventional waste disposal and it the green
house gases emissions.

Plastics becomes easy to recycle, Besides the invention of new plastic recycling
technology, Plastic Recycling protects the environment, It spreads awareness for the
environment, It promotes judicial and sustainable use of resources and it creates
green jobs.

Plastic Recycling conserves the energy, Processing the raw materials that come
from the trees and the other natural resources takes more energy than recycling
materials, we are minimizing the use of energy that can decrease the pollution,
minimize the health risk and help the economy.

Plastic Recycling helps in mitigating the global warming and in reducing the
pollution, The fossil fuels use that emit such harmful gases will be minimized, And
by recycling non-biodegradable waste, The air pollution and greenhouse gas
emissions will be reduced.


After the plastic has been recycled once, it is very rarely suitable for the second
round of recycling, So, the material will end up in the waste, If the plastic recycling
continues in this way then the manufacturers will always have the same demand for
new material.

Plastic Recycling will produce the pollutants, including the chemical stews after
breaking down the waste materials, It can hurt the environment, if not planned well,
Recycling is not always cost-efficient and it can result in net loss year after year.

Plastic Recycling can increase low quality jobs, These include sorting the garbage,
cleaning toxins and doing the other manual and the intensive labor, This can result
in low morale, low income and poor quality of life in the community.

Plastic Recycling can create more environmental problems, if not done

right, recycling companies might abandon dump sites and leave the harmful
chemicals to contaminate the land and the environment.
9. Conclusions

In brief, this article emphasizes on the increasing trend of global as well as

Indian plastic production and consumption scenario. Moreover, with the concepts
of ISWM, plastic waste disposal problems are tried to sort out. Plastics are the
integral part of the society due to its extreme versatility and durability, light
weight, excellent thermal and electrical insulations, chemical resistance, and
safety in regards to its competing materials. However, coupled with all these
properties and its relative inexpensiveness have made these plastics much more
prone to easy disposal and, therefore, causing concern for environmental

When plastic products are used and discarded, these plastics and additives are
undesirable from an environmental view point. Traditional plastics are not
biodegradable and are extremely difficult components for landfilling for its
volume and any future possibilities of groundwater and soil contaminations.
Incineration is generally not found technically feasible in most of the developing
countries and also possess chances of air emission if not scientifically managed.
However, in Indian situations, there are several constraints such as proper
collection, segregation, and transportation of the discarded plastic material.
However, increase in public awareness coupled with changes in individual
Behavior can be an effective way to reduce the environmental repercussions of
waste plastics. Apart from these, in a resource limited world, the recovery of
energy and resources should be fundamental principle to sustainable
development and in order to achieve its active public participation and proper
implementation of regulations are essential.
10. References

1. International Biodeterioration and Biodegradation 60: 109–115. Shah,A.A.,

Hasan, F., Hameed,A., andAhmed, S. (2007). Isolation and characterization of
poly (3- hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate) degrading bacteria and
purification of PHBV depolymerase from newly isolated Bacillus sp.
2. AF3 Orhan Y and Buyukgungor H (2000). Enhancement of biodegradability
of disposable polyethylene in controlled biological soil. International
Biodeterioration and Biodegradation
3. Banerjee T and Srivastava R.K. (2009). Plastics waste management and
resource recovery in India. International Journal of Environment and Waste
Management (Accepted, in press).
4. Narayan, R. (1993). Biodegradation of polymeric materials (anthropogenic
macro molecules) during composting, In:Science and Engineering of
Composting:Design,Environmental,Microbiological and Utilization Aspects,
H.A.J. Hoitink and H.M. Keener (Eds.), Washington OH Renaissance
5. Masters, G.M. (2004). Introduction to Environmental Engineering

and Science, New Delhi: Prentice-Hall of India Pvt. Ltd.