Plastic Waste Management

Environmental Issues and Challenges

The quantum of solid waste is ever increasing due to increase in population, developmental activities, changes in life style, and socio-economic conditions, Plastics waste is a significant portion of the total municipal solid waste (MSW). It is estimated that approximately 10 thousand tons per day (TPD) of plastics waste is generated i. e. 9% of 1. 20 lacs TPD of MSW in the country. The plastics waste constitutes two major category of plastics; (i)Thermoplastics and (ii) Thermoset plastics. Thermoplastics, constitutes 80% and thermoset constitutes approximately 20% of total post-consumer plastics waste generated in India. The Thermoplastics are recyclable plastics which include; Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), Low Density Poly Ethylene (LDPE), Poly Vinyl Chloride(PVC), High Density Poly Ethylene (HDPE), Polypropylene(PP), Polystyrene (PS) etc. Thermoset plastics contains alkyd, epoxy, ester, melamine formaldehyde, phenolic formaldehyde, silicon, urea formaldehyde, polyurethane, metalised and multilayer plastics etc.

Don't use plagiarized sources. Get your custom essay on

“Plastic Waste Management”

Get custom essay

Hazards of the Plastic Wastes

The environmental hazards due to mismanagement of plastics waste include the following aspects:

  1. Littered plastics spoils beauty of the city and choke drains and make important public places filthy;
  2. Garbage containing plastics, when burnt may cause air pollution by emitting polluting gases;
  3. Garbage mixed with plastics interferes in waste processing facilities and may also cause problems in landfill operations;
  4. Recycling industries operating in non-conforming areas are posing unhygienic problems to the environment. 

Main Features of the Plastics Manufacture and Usage (Amendment) Rules, 2003 Regulation of plastics waste, particularly manufacture and use of recycled plastics carry bags and containers is being regulated in the country as per Recycled Plastics Manufacture and Usage Rules, 1999 and as amended in 2003.

According to these Rules: 

  1. No person shall manufacture, stock, distribute or sell carry bags made of virgin or recycled plastic bags which are less than 8 x 12 inches in size and having thickness less than 20 microns. .
  2. No vendor shall use carry bags/containers made of recycled plastics for storing, carrying, dispensing or packaging of food stuffs;
  3. Carry bags and containers made of recycled plastic and used for purposes other than storing and packaging food stuffs shall be manufactured using pigments and colorants as per IS 9833:1981 entitled “List of pigments and colorants for use in plastics in contact with food stuffs, pharmaceuticals and drinking water”. .
  4. Recycling of plastics shall be undertaken strictly in accordance with the Bureau of Indian Standard specification: IS 14534:1998 entitled “The Guidelines for Recycling of Plastics” 
  5. Manufacturers of recycled plastic carry bags having printing facilities shall code/mark carry bags and containers as per Bureau of Indian Standard specification: IS 14534:1998 (The Guidelines for Recycling of Plastics).
  6. No person shall manufacture carry bags or containers irrespective of its size or weight unless the occupier of the unit has registered the unit with respective SPCB/PCC prior to the commencement of production.
  7. The prescribed authority for enforcement of the provisions of these rules related to manufacturing and recycling is SPCB in respect of States and the PCC in Union Territories and for relating to use, collection, segregation, transportation and disposal shall be the District Collector/ Deputy Commissioner of the concerned district. .

Options for Plastic Waste Management

1Recycling of plastics through environmentally sound manner: Recycling of plastics should be carried in such a manner to minimize the pollution during the process and as a result to enhance the efficiency of the process and conserve the energy. Plastics recycling technologies have been historically divided into four general types -primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary. Primary recycling involves processing of a waste/scrap into a product with characteristics similar to those of original product. Secondary recycling involves processing of waste/scrap plastics into materials that have characteristics different from those of original plastics product. Tertiary recycling involves the production of basic chemicals and fuels from plastics waste/scrap as part of the municipal waste stream or as a segregated waste. Quaternary recycling retrieves the energy content of waste/scrap plastics by burning / incineration. This process is not in use in India.

Steps Involved in the Recycling Process

  • Selection: The recyclers / reprocessors have to select the waste / scrap which are suitable for recycling /reprocessing.
  • Segregation: The plastics waste shall be segregated as per the Codes 1-7 mentioned in the BIS guidelines (IS:14534:1998).
  • Processing: After selection and segregation of the pre-consumer waste (factory waste) shall be directly recycled. 

The post consumer waste (used plastic waste) shall be washed, shredded, agglomerated, extruded and granulated.

Polymer Coated Bitumen Road The CPCB has undertaken a project in collaboration with Thiagarajar College of Engineering Madurai to evaluate the performance of polymer coated built roads laid during 2002-2006 in different cities. 

The observations are as below:

  • The coating of plastics over aggregate improves Impact, Los Angels Abrasion and Crushing Value with the increase in the percentage of plastics.
  • The extracted bitumen showed almost near value for Marshall stability. The entire road was having good skid resistance and texture values.
  • All the stretches in the roads have been found reasonably strong.
  • The unevenness index values of these roads are nearly 3000 mm/km, which indicate a good surface evenness.
  • The plastic tar roads have not developed any potholes, rutting, raveling or edge flaw, even though these roads are more than four years of age.
  • Polymer coated aggregate bitumen mix performs well compared to polymer modified bitumen mix.
  • Higher percentage of polymer coating improves the binding strength of the mix.

Foam plastics have better binding values. 6. Plastics waste disposal through Plasma Pyrolysis Technology (PPT) Plasma Pyrolysis is a state of the art technology, which integrates the thermochemical properties of plasma with the pyrolysis process. The intense and versatile heat generation capabilities of PPT enable it to dispose off all types of plastic wastes including polymeric, biomedical and hazardous waste in a safe and reliable manner.

Plasma Pyrolysis Technology 

In plasma pyrolysis, firstly the plastics waste is fed into the primary chamber at 8500C through a feeder. The waste material dissociates into carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, higher hydrocarbons etc. Induced draft fan drains the pyrolysis gases as well as plastics waste into the secondary chamber, where these gases are combusted in the presence of excess air. The inflammable gases are ignited with high voltage spark. The secondary chamber temperature is maintained at around 10500 0C. The hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and hydrogen are combusted into safe carbon dioxide and water. The process conditions are maintained so that it eliminates the possibility of formation of toxic dioxins and furans molecules (in case of chlorinated waste). The conversion of organic waste into non toxic gases (CO2, H2O) is more than 99% . The extreme conditions of Plasma kill stable bacteria such as Bacillus stereothermophilus and Bacillus subtilis immediately. 

Segregation of the waste is not necessary, as very high temperatures ensure treatment of all types of waste without discrimination. The CPCB has initiated the study in association with Facilitation Centre for Industrial Plasma Technologies (FCIPT), Institute of Plasma Research (IPR). The objectives of the study are to conduct performance study of the PPT on 15 kg/hr prototype demonstration system developed by FCIPT/ IPR for proper disposal of plastics waste and also monitor air quality parameters e. g. suspended particulate matter (SPM), carbon monoxide (CO), hydrocarbons (HC), benzene, dioxins, furans etc. ith regards to gaseous emissions. CPCB also proposes to undertake study on safe disposal of plastics waste using higher capacity (approx. 50 kg/hr) plasma pyrolysis system as in future and may set up prototype plasma pyrolysis plant on demonstration basis (15 kg/hr waste disposal capacity) at specific locations (hilly and pilgrimage) in consultation with State Government.

Conversion of Plastics waste into Liquid Fuel 

A research-cum-demonstration plant was set up at Nagpur, Maharashtra for conversion of waste plastics into liquid fuel. The process adopted is based on random de-polymerization of waste plastics into liquid fuel in presence of a catalyst. The entire process is undertaken in closed reactor vessel followed by condensation, if required. Waste plastics while heating upto 2700 0C to 30000 C convert into liquid-vapour state, which is collected in condensation chamber in the form of liquid fuel while the tarry liquid waste is topped-down from the heating reactor vessel. The organic gas is generated which is vented due to lack of storage facility. However, the gas can be used in dual fuel diesel-generator set for generation of electricity. 

The process includes the steps shown ahead: 

  1. Environment related observations during the process
  2. There are no liquid industrial effluents and no floor washings as it is a dry process.
  3. There are no organized stack and process emissions.
  4. Odour of volatile organics has been experienced in the processing area due to some leakages or lack of proper sealing
  5. Absolute conversion of liquid-vapour was not possible into liquid, some portion of gas (about 20%) is connected to the generator. However, the process will be improved in full-scale plant.
  6. PVC plastics waste is not used and if used, it was less than 1%. In case PVC is used, the chlorine can be converted into hydrochloric acid as a by-product.
  7. The charcoal (charcoal is formed due to tapping of tarry waste) generated during the process has been analysed and contain heavy metals, poly aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) which appears to be hazardous in nature. The source of metals in charcoal could be due to the presence of additives in plastics and due to multilayer and laminated plastics.
  8. Monitoring of process fugitive emissions in the work area as well as emissions from the engines/diesel generator sets is necessarily required (where this liquid fuel is used) for various parameters such as CO, HCl, Styrene, Benzene, VOCs

Biodegradable Plastics 

The environmentally degradable polyolefin films are defined as those materials that contain degradation process of polyolefin article (bag/film/sheet) under conditions of composting. Often queries are raised regarding biodegradability of plastics but clear-cut answer is not available about the biodegradability of plastics. In view of above, CPCB has initiated a study in collaboration with Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology (CIPET) to establish the biodegradability and compostability (e. g. fragmentation rate, degradation rate and safety) of polymeric material available in India and abroad.

The study will include: 

  1. Inventorisation and assessment of the manufacturing status of biodegradable plastics in India particularly with reference to processing technologies and the environmental issues. 
  2. Establishment of the degradation rate (change in chemical structure, decrease in mechanical strength, fragmentation or weight loss) of the polymeric material or plastics material under laboratory scale composting conditions. 
  3. Finding out self-life and its impact on environment (soil, water of plastics with reference to colour and additives, once it is disposed off) 
  4. Assessment of effects on foodstuffs with reference to natural colours and additives.

Assessment of Delhi in Waste Disposal

Write about short introduction of Delhi: Delhi lags way behind in waste disposal “Capital generates about 6,000 tonnes of solid waste daily, reveals study”

New Delhi

While Delhi steals a march over all other metropolitan cities across the country in generating municipal waste, it lags far behind in waste disposal and recycling, according to a new study on “Solid waste management and its disposal” conducted by the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (ASSOCHAM). The study reveals that Delhi is able to dispose of and recycle only 62 per cent of its solid waste as against Mumbai, Bangalore and Chennai, where the figure stands at 86 per cent, 85 per cent and 80 per cent, respectively. Kolkata has been cited as an exception in removing its municipal waste to the extent of 90 per cent, making it a city of people with a “much better civic sense”, reveals the ASSOCHAM study. According to the study, Delhi generates about 6,000 tonnes of solid waste daily as against 5,800 tonnes by Mumbai, 2,800 by Bangalore, 2,675 tonnes by Chennai and 4,000 tonnes by Kolkata.

The study refers to Kerala that has created a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to dispose of its solid waste for power generation by closely integrating its 60 municipalities with three intermediate depots to collect its garbage and waste to dispose it of in large containers. “Similar models should be emulated by other cities to collect their solid waste which should be recycled for commercial use,” says ASSOCHAM president Venugopal N. Dhoot, emphasising the need for a national waste policy. Acknowledging the role of rag pickers in clearing solid waste, the study notes that in Delhi alone there are 85,000 of them and the total quantum of waste collected by the pickers is 900 tonnes a day, which is about 19 per cent of the total waste generated every day. “The MCD spent about 2. 4 billion rupees to manage garbage generated during the year. Thus rag pickers saved the municipal authorities more than 250 million rupees,” the study says. 9. 3Hazardous It points out that urban residents generate 350 gm to 1,000 gm of solid waste every day and with the increase in population and rising income, urban India is becoming a “throwaway society”. “The waste in bigger cities is generally paper, plastics, metal and hazardous materials apart from vegetables wastes.

Bio-degradable households waste has far less impact than the waste generated by activities like manufacturing of goods,” the study notes. “The present annual solid waste generated in Indian cities has increased from 48 million tones in 1997 to 95 million tonnes, which might exceed 150 million tonnes over the next seven years,” says Mr. Dhoot. NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 23: India’s booming economy is producing mountains of toxic electronic waste like discarded computers and televisions, but there are no laws to regulate its disposal, a local environment group said on Friday. Toxics Link said while the Asian giant’s economy has been growing at eight per cent annually over the last three years, it has also resulted in the generation of 150,000 tonnes of electronic waste each year. An eight-month study by the group found that India’s bustling financial hub of Mumbai was the biggest source of electronic or e-waste, generating 19,000 tonnes every year. Being the hub of India’s commercial activities, the banks and financial institutions in Mumbai generate huge amounts of e-waste,” Ravi Agarwal, Director of Toxics Link, told a news conference. “But like the rest of India, there are no laws for its safe handling and this will lead to serious health and environmental impacts. “

Agarwal said the government had to regulate the management of e-waste by setting up a central authority to collect all discarded electronic goods and put in place laws to deal with disposal and recycling. India’s economic liberalisation that began in the early 1990s has seen hundreds of banks, financial institutions, electronics industries, information technology firms and call centres setting up operations across the country. The booming economy has also led to a growing middle class-estimated around 300 million-which has more disposable income and an insatiable appetite for electronic products. “When electronics like televisions, PCs and efrigerators are discarded, it is the informal sector made up of tens of thousands of people who collect it and then break it down and recycle parts of it which can be sold,” said Agarwal. They extract toxic-heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and chromium which are sold for other uses. ” These metals harm the development of the brain, kidneys and some are carcinogens which enter the food chain through the air, water and soil. 10.

Assessment of Sikkim in Waste Disposal

Write about short introduction of sikkim: Urban Environment Improvement on Solid Waste Management

An Attempt by Government of Sikkim


  1. Ban on plastic bags was mainly for avoidance of Natural Calamities as Land Slides.
  2. To provide clean and healthy urban and rural environment.
  3. To make Sikkim plastic free state in India.
  4. To check soil pollution.
  5. To secure the future of coming generation by providing them with plastic free environment.
  6. To show concern over global fight against the use of plastic.


  • The total accumulation of solid waste in the capital town of Gangtok is estimated to be 50 MT per day but only a fraction of this quantity is being collected and dumped. The rest are still thrown into the jhora and elsewhere despite restrictions.
  • Shops/Households dumped their solid wastes into permanent community bins or mobile garbage bins provided by the Government. Garbage littered outside were swept by Safai karmacharies and deposited into these bins.
  • The Conservancy staff of the Department collected them from these bins in to the garbage vehicles for transportation to the dumping yard.
  • The solid wastes were thereafter thrown in the valley sides of roads generally as there was no designated dumping yard.
  • Garbage/wastes/spoils were alternatively dumped by the public indiscriminately in to the jhoras (natural permanent drains).
  • Shopping plastic bags were used and littered freely.
  • Because the plastic bags/materials are light weight, rain water carried them along its course but got stuck on the slightest obstruction in the flow. The jhoras were full of them.
  • Drains and sewage pipes got choked or blocked leading to diversion of the discharge and consequential damage to life and property in the valley side which course they undertake naturally in the hills.
  • In the villages, the plastics hindered seeds germination and their growth when they confronted plastics in the soil.
  • Animals often ate them up with fodder leading to consequential ill-health.

When burnt it emitted toxic fume in to the atmosphere but were not burnt out totally as the slag still remained. Plastics reportedly do not degrade for over 200 years, and unless it is burnt, the volume does not reduce.

Regulatory Action by the State Government

The State Government enacted the Sikkim Non-Biodegradable Garbage (Control) Act, 1997, on 30th April, 1997. Salient features of the Act are:

  1. Prohibiting the throwing of non-degradable garbage in public drains and sewage. (Section 3)
  2. Provision for placement of receptacles and places for deposit of non-biodegradable garbage, and to provide separate dustbins for deposit of non-biodegradable and bio-degradable garbage. Section 4)
  3. Duty of owners and occupiers to collect and deposit non-biodegradable garbage etc. (Section 5)
  4. Provision for imprisonment for a term which may extend to one month or with fine which may extend to rupees five thousand, or with both. (Section 8)
  5. To enhance the effectiveness of the Act, the Sikkim Trade License and Miscellaneous Provisions Rules, 1985, was also amended banning use of plastic bags by Shopkeepers as well as for maintaining separate bins as prescribed for the Bio-degradable and Non-biodegradable / medical wastes depending upon the type of shop.
  6. Rules were framed under section 17 of the Sikkim Non-Biodegradable Garbage (control) Act, 1997, after inviting comments of the public and receiving suggestions from the Department of Health and Family Welfare. The Notification came into effect from 30th March, 2001. Under the Rules the following provisions have been made:
  7. Division of areas into garbage collection / garbage management zones for the purpose of scavenging and cleaning the garbage. (Rule 3)
  8. Constitution of Garbage Waste Management Committee. (Rule 4)
  9. Provision for different colours and inscription on receptacles/garbage bins. (Rule 6).
  10. Prohibition in littering or throwing of wastes. (Rules 8 and 9)
  11. Power to entry, inspect or execute work. (Rule 11)
  12. With the intervention of the High Court of Sikkim, the Sikkim Non-Biodegradable Grabage (Control) Act, 1997 was further amended to provide for compulsory imprisonment for a minimum period of one month and fine of minimum Rs. 5000/- against the guilty.


  1. Land was acquired for land-fill and composting where the segregation of bio-degradable and non-biodegradable is undertaken.
  2. Before implementation of the provisions of the Act, they were published for information of the general public.
  3. Continuous monitoring on the implementation of the provisions of the Act and Rules by Shop-keepers and occupiers was undertaken.
  4. The shop-keepers/occupiers were educated as part of the extension programme to motivate them for following the provisions which was beneficial to them as well as the general public.
  5. The Safai karmacharies were briefed about the provisions of the Act.
  6. Deterrent fines were imposed against those not following the directions and advice of the Government functionaries.
  7. Surprise checks were undertaken to ensure that the plastic bags were not being used and where detected, the materials were confiscated and fine imposed.
  8. Subsequently a new system to collect garbage from shops, houses of the towns in the National Highway directly from the shops/houses to the garbage collection vehicles was introduced. This was done only after the people being affected by the system were educated through an appeal in a pamphlet form. The people have totally participated in the programme.
  9. The use of community bins along the Highway previously provided for deposit of garbage by the cluster of houses around was discontinued.
  10. Although the Rules came into effect only from 30th March, 2001, the Government began acting on the basis of the provisions of the Act itself.

Public Participation

  1. The success in the venture was the public participation.
  2. Deliberations, mass media and discussions with the Panchayats and the NGOS led to the successful implementation and the extension of the Act.
  3. Consequently this led to formation of Garbage Waste Management Committee to assist and devise the efficient collection and disposal of the waste. The committee comprises of public representative of the area and two responsible persons of the area and the representative of the Department.
  4. Now the collection of garbage from each and every corner of the coty has become quite successful for which trucks has been allotted to each locality which collects the garbage and dumps in the treatment plant.


  1. The drains and Jhoras and the sewerage lines have free flow and hence reduced chances of calamity.
  2. The towns and bazaars are free from plastics and appear clean.
  3. Chances of diversion of rain-water due to clogging is almost nil.
  4. Awareness among people have increased about the harmfulness of using plastic bags.
Did you like this example?

Cite this page

Plastic Waste Management. (2017, Sep 21). Retrieved September 26, 2022 , from

Save time with Studydriver!

Get in touch with our top writers for a non-plagiarized essays written to satisfy your needs

Get custom essay

Stuck on ideas? Struggling with a concept?

A professional writer will make a clear, mistake-free paper for you!

Get help with your assigment
Leave your email and we will send a sample to you.
Stop wasting your time searching for samples!
You can find a skilled professional who can write any paper for you.
Get unique paper

I'm Chatbot Amy :)

I can help you save hours on your homework. Let's start by finding a writer.

Find Writer