Updated: September 24, 2021 7:18:15 am
At a time when efforts were being made across the world to phase out single-use plastic, the Covid-19 pandemic struck and forced back heavy use of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits, gloves, masks and more such plastic-blended wearables.
The tonnes of waste generated as a result now pose serious environment hazards, unless these plastics are appropriately recycled.
In a step towards this, city-based CSIR – National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) has partnered with Reliance Industries Limited and a number of companies in Pune to recycle waste PPEs and turn them into recycled granules and pellets. These, scientists say, can then be used to make upcycled products.
Rough estimates suggest that 200 tonnes of waste was generated in India during May this year, when the country was dealing with the deadly second wave of the Covid-19. Normally, this hazardous waste is incinerated at central waste management facilities. However, these require enormous amounts of power, and harmful greenhouse gases are often emitted as byproducts.
In a pilot project led by NCL, PPE waste weighing 100 kg generated in Pune was collected and decontaminated. NCL later processed it and has now successfully tested its technique, which experts say can be done even with higher volumes of PPE waste. NCL and RIL have entered an MoU under which this project will be scaled up.
The project aims not only to tackle large amounts of PPE waste but identify market players who could use these recycled granules and pellets into making useful products and set up a supply chain for the entire process, thus making it an end-to-end process.
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