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Waste management is the comprehensive process of collecting, carrying, processing and then recycling or disposing of material that has been deemed as waste or of no further use. As the population increased, so did the consumption and along with it, wastes increased as well. Be it industries or usual household chores, waste started to be set aside in tones. This gave way to the need for managing this waste in a way that it doesn’t corrupt our environment any more than it already has. As people across the globe have grown more and more concerned about the environment and its degradation, the global initiatives for recycling have gone into overdrive. Recycling has now become an integral part in the modern lifestyle.

Waste terminology

Waste management has a lot of stages. It starts with collecting the stuff that has been discarded as unusable. The aim here is to recycle these goods and decrease whatever harmful impact they could potentially have on our lives and the environment, in return intending to improve the overall quality of lives. Based on whether a nation is developed or developing, the waste management tools and techniques are also different. Also, depending upon the urban and rural status of a region, the recycling practices are all-together different. You monitor specific spots and enterprises for waste thrown away and then you collect it. Next you transport it to a proper facility where it is processed in order to determine whether it can be turned into something useful or not. From here, it is either a fodder for something new and usable, or is turned to trash in the most eco-friendly manner possible. This cycle goes on and makes sure our lives are free from the mounting piles of waste and the bad influence it could have on our health and mother earth.

The per capital waste generated has obviously increased along with the population and
proper waste management system
consumption. The ideal scenario in this case would be to come up with different business models which would use this waste as fodder and fuel in order to build that can actually be used. This end product should not only be entirely eco-friendly but also be highly commercial and profitable. This pursuit will of course, require new technologies, many of which have already been introduced in the recent years. In order to make a waste management business model work, a person will need to have a very open mind and a creative perspective. The new generation, which is all about going green will no doubt want to get on this band wagon. Bio fuels are the biggest examples in this case. Energy generated from discarded material is a hit. Overall, this market is very hot and has already captured a lot of audience. Both public and private sector enterprises are looking to invest in such ventures as it brings about a lot of excitement among the general people and also does wonders for CSR operations. It is all about thinking out of the box and doing something which hasn’t quite been done before.

 

Waste in India: A typology

India generates roughly 62 million tons of garbage a year. Out of this staggering figure, approximately 43 million tons are collected annually: 11.9 million tons of collected waste are treated and the remaining 31 million tons disposed off in landfills.

Waste processing in India is broadly categorized into liquid, solid, hazardous, and recyclable. Below is a more focused breakdown of certain kinds of waste that have been capitalized by the private sector.

Solid Waste

Solid waste is an umbrella term for discarded or abandoned materials. Solid waste is regulated by the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016. These new rules seek to promote ‘waste to energy’ plants and the use of compost against chemical fertilizers.

Municipal solid waste (MSW) can be converted into an alternative to fossil fuel through a process of drying MSW then crushing it and packing it into brick form.

The Mumbai-based company Hanjer Biotech Enterprises, for instance, is currently setting up a power plant in the Surat district of Gujarat, which will run entirely on refuse-derived fuel (RDF). The plant aims to produce 15 megawatts (MW) of power annually.

Furthermore, MSW can be converted into compost. In fact, approximately 55 percent of India’s waste is organic. Unfortunately, little of this is treated for compost but rather dumped in landfills.

According to a study undertaken by the Clean India Journal in 2012, India can potentially produce 4.3 million tons of compost per year from municipal solid waste alone. Further, India boasts of over 650,000 organic farmers whose produce cater to a growing, health conscious middle class. New federal incentives for using compost over chemical fertilizers will boost compost’s demand.

E-waste

Electronic waste (or ‘e-waste’) refers to used electronic devices or household appliances that are set to be recycled, recovered, or disposed. India is a hub for both the manufacturing and consumption of electronics. According to a 2016 joint study by ASSOCHAM and Frost & Sullivan, India produces 18.5 million metric tons (MT) of electronic waste every year. Of this, over 70 percent comes from government, public, and private industries while 15 percent comes from households.

E-waste is regulated by the E-waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016, which cover how e-waste is to be disposed, imported, and recycled. The E-waste Rules apply to producers, consumers, and bulk costumers of electronics as well as e-waste collection and recycling centers.

E-waste is disproportionately collected and processed by the unorganized sector and only 2.5 percent is recycled. In the unorganized sector, e-waste like discarded computers or smartphones are taken apart to be scrapped for precious and other metals.

E-waste can be refurbished and resold down their value chains. The precious and other metals found most commonly in circuit boards can also be extracted through safe and environmentally friendly methods. Bringing informal e-waste workers into the formal sector will profit from their existing knowledge and networks.

Plastic

No official data exists on the amount of plastic waste generated in India. A 2015 survey conducted by the Indian government’s Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) estimated that 15,000 tons of plastic waste is produced daily in India’s top 60 cities – out of which 6,000 tons are not recycled.

Plastic waste is regulated by the Plastic Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016. The Plastic Waste Rules focus chiefly on plastic bags and dictate that recycling of plastics must be in accordance with Indian Standards. The Plastic Waste Rules, 2016 authorize and mandate municipal authorities to establish waste management systems for plastics.

Plastic recycling plants are growing in India but it is a largely untapped sector of the waste market. Plastic bottles, for instance, can be converted into polyester yarn and then sold as packaging in industrial and consumer industries.

Bio-medical waste

Bio-medical waste (BM) includes all refuse used in the healthcare industry such as syringes and biological materials. The total bio-medical waste generated in India is approximately 484 tons per day (TPD) from over 160,000 healthcare facilities (HCF). An estimated 447 tons of this biomedical waste is treated in India daily.

BM waste is regulated through the Bio-medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2016, which ensure that BM waste is properly treated by the healthcare provider itself or else processed at a common treatment facility. Producers of BM waste are required to send annual returns to the State Pollution Control Board by January 31, detailing the categories and quantities of BM waste handled.

India’s healthcare sector is growing with plans to reach 2.9 million hospital beds by 2025. A recent study on waste management by the market research company Novonous estimates that India’s bio-medical waste management market will grow at a compounded annual growth rate of 8.41 percent – higher than the projected growth rate for waste in general.

According to a recent data from MNRE, there exists a potential of about 1300MW from industrial wastes.

Classification of Industrial Waste

In a broad sense, industrial wastes could be classified into two types.

  1. Hazardous industrial waste
  2. Non-hazardous industrial waste

HAZARDOUS INDUSTRIAL WASTE

Hazardous wastes, which may be in solid, liquid or gaseous form, may cause danger to health or environment, either alone or when in contact with other wastes. Various agencies have defined hazardous wastes in different ways and as such, there is no uniformly accepted international definition so far. It is presumed that about 10 to 15 percent of wastes produced by industries are hazardous and the generation of hazardous wastes is increasing at the rate of 2 to 5 percent per year.

Hazardous industrial wastes in India can be categorized broadly into two categories.

i) Hazardous wastes generated from various industries in India

ii) Hazardous industrial wastes imported into India from Western Countries for re-processing and recycling.

Hazardous waste in particular includes products that are explosive, flammable, irritant, harmful, toxic, carcinogenic, corrosive, infectious, or toxic to reproduction.

Management and Treatment Options for Hazardous Waste

Use of Hazardous Wastes as Alternate Fuels

In the European Union, about 3 million tons of hazardous waste from cement works has been used as an alternate fuel. There are a large number of hazardous wastes generating units located in India. 11,138 units have been given authorization by SPCBs under Hazardous Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2003, mostly for temporary storage of hazardous wastes within the plant premises. In India, about 4.43 million tons of hazardous wastes are generated annually, out of which 71,833 tons are incinerable (as per the reports of SPCBs submitted to the Supreme Court of India). There is a need to explore the possibility of using such wastes by other industries.

Incineration

Incineration serves the dual purpose of reduction of both the toxicity and the volume of the waste, which is an important consideration when the disposal of wastes is finally destined for landfills. Most of the process wastes from chemical unit operations can very well be treated in properly designed incinerators.

Hazardous wastes (secured) landfill

Hazardous waste landfill site is designed scientifically to have an impervious stratum at bottom to stop leachates percolation, and thus to avoid soil and water pollution/contamination in the vicinity of the landfill site. HDPE lining is used in making the landfill impervious. There are arrangements made for collection and treatment of leachates from the hazardous wastes.

Various reports indicate that more than 19 Treatment, Storage & Disposal Facilities (TSDF) have been created in Gujarat alone. Many other states are following the similar action to establish such facilities. However, some kind of risk will always be there for the people and ecosystem by these operating and closed TSDFs.

NON-HAZARDOUS INDUSTRIAL WASTE

Non-hazardous or ordinary industrial waste is generated by industrial or commercial activities, but is similar to household waste by its nature and composition. It is not toxic, presents no hazard and thus requires no special treatment.

In particular, it includes ordinary waste produced by companies, shopkeepers and trades people (paper, cardboard, wood, textiles, packaging, etc.). Due to its non-hazardous nature, this waste is often sorted and treated in the same facilities as household waste.

Agro Waste Plastic Composites Formation

Inorganic composite materials in recent time have gain wide applications in many higher end industries such as sporting facilities, medical, aerospace, turbines and indoor decorations. However, applications of agro waste plastic composites across industries have been somehow limited. The reason for this can be due to cost issues relating to existing methods of composite production as well as the cost of techniques in relation to composition and formulation. Presently, agro waste plastic composites are prepared base on differences in formulations, filler loading, polymer plastic (virgin or recycled), additive aggregate, process-ability techniques, fiber type and required characterizations. These may be used individually or in combination with each other so as to achieve desired structure of agro waste plastic composites.

Examples-of-agro-wastes

An understanding of available composites fabrications processes and how they are apply to different composites is a necessary requirement for proper selection of composites design for engineering. As mentioned, the characteristic of composites depends on the nature of the reinforcement, the ratio of resin to reinforcement, and the mode of fabrication. Below are some reinforcement polymers in plastic composites formations.

  1. Polyethylene Terephthalate (PETE).
  2. High Density Polyethylene (HDPE).
  3. PolyvinylChloride (V).
  4. Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE).
  5. Polypropylene (PP).
  6. Polystyrene (PS).

Recycling of Plastics Wastes

Globally, 140 billion metric tons of agro waste is generated every year from agriculture. This volume of agro waste can be converted to an enormous amount of valuable resources; composites, energy, and raw materials equivalent to approximately 50 billion tons of fuel. As raw materials for composites formulations and other usable items, agro wastes have potentials for large scale industries and community level enterprises. Agro waste from residual stalk, straw, leaves, husk, hull, nut or seed shells, and waste wood are widely available, renewable, and virtually free, agro waste are an important resource for waste—wealth plastic composites. A major concern about the use of plastics for packaging and disposable items is the environmental effects of the materials lasting for centuries in the landfills or other place of disposal. Recycling is being promoted worldwide as the way to address plastic items. Many municipalities are establishing recycling programmes to battling with this problem at hand.

There are two significant reasons for the poor plastics recycling record:

  1. some plastics are thermosetting and cannot be recycled (they cannot be remelted),
  2. There are many grades of thermoplastic materials, and they cannot be mixed when they are remelted.

There are great numbers of thermoplastics, but almost 90% of the volume of thermoplastics manufactured is made up of only six: polyethylene (high and low density), polystyrene, polyvinyl chloride, polypropylene, and polyethylene terephthalate. Studies of agro waste plastic composites productions outlet seems rather limited. Thus, the much desire in an area of relevance for this is most likely due to advancement in agro waste in developed countries, probably because they are seen as being more important facilities and machinery than under developed and developing countries that have abundant agro wastes. Most of present scientific establishment are focused on the methods which are in scale up stages than optimization of production. Several studies links via appraisal outcomes related to reason for agro waste research application, strategies chosen in addition to result from agro wastes research carryout in support of researcher opinions. Concluded that agro wastes plastic composites were lagging behind in term of production for commercial purposes to virgin inorganic materials.

However, since matrix and reinforcements are primary constituents of an agro waste plastic composite material, it is worth to note that there are other additives which are used to modify the properties of the polymeric resin which make up the matrix. Thus, additives such as viscosity, modifier, fillers, reagents, pigments and others are basic components of plastic composites. Fillers are materials which may be added to the resin to vary the properties and/or extend the volume of the matrix. In addition, some additives are use as accelerators, which control the rate at which curing can occur.