India’s plastic waste attracts government attention
India’s finance minister has emphasised the importance of promoting a waste-to-energy programme incorporating plastic refuse. “India tosses out several-thousand [metric] tons of garbage each day,” said Shri Palaniappan Chidambaram in presenting the country’s fiscal 2013-14 budget proposal to Parliament.
“We will evolve a scheme to encourage cities and municipalities to take up waste-to-energy projects in the (public-private partnership) mode, which would be neutral to different technologies.” The plan could provide a much-needed impetus to India’s recycling industry. It would explore viability gap funding, repayable grants and low-cost capital.
Gujarat, which recycles about a fourth of the plastics waste of the country, is regarded as one of the most environment-friendly states in India. More than 10% of the plastic products in the state are recycled, according to a study by Recycle Trade India, a recycled-material exchange in Bangalore. Around 4.4 billion pounds of plastics are recycled annually in India; Gujarat alone recycles about 1.1 billion pounds of that amount.
Still, the country’s government is far from pro-plastic. For example, India’s biggest government-owned transport company, Indian Railways, plans to replace its plastic cups with ones made from bio-based and recycled material for catering purposes. Despite such challenges, India’s plastics recycling industry appears to be upgrading itself, according to many companies that exhibited at Plastasia, held Feb. 22-25 in Bangalore.
“Plastic recycling is growing in India and the market is huge,” said Bhavik Mehta, senior marketing executive at Leevams. The Vadodara-based company represents many European recycling equipment companies in India including Erema, Neue Herbold, Kongskilde and Weima. “We have grown around 30% each year from the last five years and hope to grow 40% this year,” Mehta added.
“We will soon be making pulverisers,” said Mehta, adding that the firm plans to license production of Weima shredders soon. Jiaxing, China-based Zhejiang Boretech also is active in India. “We have supplied 34 PET [post-consumer] bottle recycling systems in India in last five years,” said company representative Alex Xiang.
Boretech supplied 70% and washing lines up to 2012. The firm is now focusing on Africa also. “PET recycling is new to Africa and we are working on a number of projects in Tanzania, Sudan, Egypt and South Africa,” he said.
S+S Separation and Sorting Technology GmbH of Schönberg, Germany, also has a presence in India. Marketing & Sales aided S+S in setting up a Pune office for the service, installation and commissioning of S+S recycling equipment. M+V is part of German business development firm Maier + Vidorno of Cologne.