16.3.1 Case Study of Remedy for Plastic Waste

A plastic sack manufacturer in Bangalore has managed to find the ideal solution to the ever-increasing problem of accumulating plastic waste. Ahmed Khan, aged 57 years old, has been producing plastic sacks for 20 years.

About 8 years ago, he realised that plastic waste was a real problem. Polyblend, a fine powder of recycled modified plastic, was developed then by his company. This mixture is mixed with the bitumen that is used to lay roads. In collaboration with R.V.College of Engineering and the Bangalore City Corporation, Ahmed Khan proved that blends of Polyblend and bitumen, when used to lay roads, enhanced the bitumen’s water repellant properties, and helped to increase road life by a factor of three.

The raw material for creating Polyblend is any plastic film waste. So, against the price of Rs. 0.40 per kg that rag pickers had been getting for plastic waste, Khan now offers Rs.6. Using Khan’s technique, by the year 2002, more than 40 kms of road in Bangalore has already been laid. At this rate, Khan will soon be running short of plastic waste in Bangalore, to produce Polyblend.

Thanks to innovations like Polyblend, we might still avoid being smothered by plastic waste. Hospitals generate hazardous wastes that contain disinfectants and other harmful chemicals, and also pathogenic micro-organisms. Such wastes also require careful treatment and disposal. The use of incinerators is crucial to disposal of hospital waste.

Irreparable computers and other electronic goods are known as electronic wastes (e-wastes). E-wastes are buried in landfills or incinerated. Over half of the e-wastes generated in the developed world are exported to developing countries, mainly to China, India and Pakistan, where metals like copper, iron, silicon, nickel and gold are recovered during recycling process.

Unlike developed countries, which have specifically built facilities for recycling of e-wastes, recycling in developing countries often involves manual participation thus exposing workers to toxic substances present in e-wastes. Eventually recycling is the only solution for the treatment of e-wastes provided it is carried out in an environment-friendly manner.

 

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