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Plastic Bags generate 60-79% less greenhouse emission than paper bags by zyq13664

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									                                                          Vol. 8 • Issue 2 • Apr. – Jun. 2007
                                                                For private circulation only

          International Conference   Brussels

     Mr. Vijay Merchant’s presentation on
         ‘Use of Plastics Waste in Road
                  Construction in India’
                receives Year’s Best Award

                   China-India Plastics Industry Summit 2007

Plastic Bags generate 60-79% less
greenhouse emission than paper bags

                             The ULS Report
         Office Bearers
              •   •   •
        Governing Council
      Mr. K. G. Ramanathan
              •   •   •                                                   Mumbai
                                       Kushesh Mansion, 2nd Floor, 48/54, Janmabhoomi Marg, Fort, Mumbai - 400 001.
 Chairman, Executive Committee          Tel.: +91-22-2282 0491 / 0496 • Fax: +91-22-2282 0451 • E-mail:
       Mr. M. P. Taparia                   Website: • •
              •   •   •                                                     New Delhi
     Executive Secretary /               1009, Vijaya Building, 10th Floor, 17 Barakhamba Road, New Delhi - 110 001.
                                           Tel.: 011-2332 6377 • Fax: 011-2332 6376 • E-mail:
  Member, Executive Committee
       Mr. Sujit Banerji
                                      Readers are welcome to send their suggestions, contributions, articles, case studies,
              •   •   •               and new developments for publication in the Newsletter to the ICPE address.
          Treasurer /                 Reproduction of material from this Newsletter is welcome, with prior permission.
  Member, Executive Committee
       Mr. Rajiv Tolat
              •   •   •
        NGO - Projects
    Member, Governing Council
      Mr. Vijay Merchant                            The No. 1
              •   •   •                             Trade Fair for
   Convenor – Communications                        Plastics and
        Mr. P. P. Kharas                            Rubber –

         In this Issue               K 2007
                                     24th-31st October, 2007                      7th National Exhibition &
Cover Story
                                     Düsseldorf, Germany                          Seminar
The International Conference         K is the world’s largest and lead-           now with
signals positive outlook for         ing trade fair for plastics and              International Participation
Plastics Recycling and               rubber industries and is held
                                                                                  6th - 10th December, 2007
Recovery                         3   every 3 years. Over 3000
                                     exhibitors from more than 50                 Bombay Exhibition Centre,
School Programme                     nations will be showcasing their             NSE Complex, Goregaon (East),
Workshop on                          machinery, products and services             Mumbai, India
Plastic Waste Management         8   at K 2007.
                                     For information:                             The All India Plastics
China-India Plastics Industry
                                     E-mail:                                      Manufacturers’ Association
Summit 2007                      9
Events                               Website:
IPI Conference and Exhibition   13

Review of Life Cycle Data                            PLASTINDIA
Relating to Disposable,                                 2009
Compostable, Biodegradable,                                                       21-24 February, 2008
and Reusable Grocery Bags            7th International                            Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai
The ULS Report                  14   Plastics Exhibition and
                                     Conference                                   For more info:
Domestic News
                                     31st January-5th February, 2009              Chennai Plastics Manufacturers
Inauguration of
                                     Pragati Maidan, New Delhi                    & Merchants Association –
Plastics Recycling Facility     18
                                                                                  Chennai (CHEPMMA)
                                     For more info:
International News                                                                Website:
Recycling Instead of Banning    19
                                           For more information on Eco-Echoes and about the contents, please contact
                                                  Mr. T. K. Bandopadhyay, Technical Manager, ICPE, Mumbai.
                                               The Biennial International Conference on
                                               the Recycling and Recovery of Plastics
                                               Brussels, Belgium – 23-24 April, 2007

The International Conference
Signals Positive Outlook for
Plastics Recycling and Recovery

Reflecting growing market
demand for sustainable waste
solutions, the sixth IdentiPlast
conference – the plastics
industry’s most important
gathering on recycling and
recovery of plastics – attracted a
record number of participants
from around the world. More
than 260 delegates, including 25
Chinese       representatives,
attended the Brussels event, held
from 23-24 April, representing
the entire plastics value chain.

“We should not be afraid to talk
publicly about our role in relation
to climate protection. Plastics       IdentiPlast 2007: Mr. Vijay Merchant receiving the Best Presentation Award from
have a positive impact on             President of Jury.
resources,         dramatically
extending the life-span of the raw             Presentation by Mr. Vijay Merchant
materials used and through
recycling,”                           Opening Remarks:
                                      At the outset on behalf of Indian        European country. Dirty Plastic
The sessions at IdentiPlast           Centre for Plastics in the Envi-         Film Waste had become a
focussed strongly on new              ronment - ICPE and the Indian            serious nuisance in cities, it was
opportunities for the plastics        Plastics Industry, I wish to thank       along water fronts, street
industry to help protect the          the organizers of IdentiPlast            corners, etc., in tons and the
environment and use resources         2007 for inviting me to present a        pollution control board had
more efficiently.                     paper on the unique recycling            drafted a ban order for finaliza-
                                      and reuse experiment of using            tion which would have had
This year’s Best Presentation         Dirty Plastic Film Waste for             serious consequences for almost
Award was given to Vijay              purpose of road construction.            65 million citizens of the state.
Merchant of Indian Plastics                                                    Similar bans were being
Association, Plastindia, for his      This Indian project initiated by         considered in other states. A
demonstration of how plastics         the plastics industry initially          committed professor from
waste is re-used for road             gathered steam due to extremely          Thiagrajar College in Madurai
construction in India.                harsh threats by the Chief               working with the plastic
                                      Minister of banning polybags in          industry volunteers helped make
(Excerpts from press release by       a southern state in India. Tamil         this project possible.
PlasticsEurope)                       Nadu state is the size of a large

A complete article on
Use of Plastics Waste
in the Construction
of Tar Road
published in the
April-June 2004
issue, describes
ICPE trial on a
Mumbai Road.

Workshop on
Plastic Waste Management
Vidya Vikas Education Society’s
College of Arts, Science &
Commerce, Vikhroli, Mumbai,
organised a National Environ-
ment Awareness Campaign on
the theme Solid Waste Manage-
ment – Plastic Waste Manage-
ment on 3rd April, 2007.

The programme was organised
in conjunction with BAIF Devel-
opment Research Foundation,
Pune and sponsored by the
Ministry of Environment and            Mr. Rajiv Tolat, Hon. Treasurer, ICPE, addressing the participants.
Forests, Govt. of India.
                                       invited members of the local                 importance and usefulness
ICPE conducted a Workshop for          residents. Through display of                of proper plastics waste
students on Plastic Waste              panels and by exhibiting samples             management.
Management.                            of non-critical products of daily
                                       use manufactured from recycled               The College management and the
This Workshop attracted keen           plastics, a clear message was                general public alike expressed
interest and attention of the          spread among the students and                deep satisfaction about such kind
students, teaching faculty and         other participants about the                 of awareness programme.

Section of Participants                                       Display of Panels and Recycled Products

                      Andhra Pradesh Plastics Manufacturers Association
                                   304, 3rd Floor, Raghava Ratna Towers, Chirag Ali Lines,
                           Abids, Hyderabad - 500 001. • Tel.: 040-2320 3191 • Fax: 040-2320 4211

                      The following office bearers were elected for 2007-08 during
                      39th Annual General Meeting of Andhra Pradesh Plastics
                      Manufacturers Association:
                           •   Mr. V. Anil Reddy                  President
                           •   Mr. S. P. Mittal                   Vice President
                           •   Mr. A. Prabhakar                   Vice President (Rural)
                           •   Mr. Amrit S. Patel                 Hon. Secretary
                           •   Mr. D. K. Gupta                    Joint Secretary
                           •   Mr. M. Balakrishna Rao             Joint Secretary (Rural)
                           •   Mr. B. Sambasiva Rao               Treasurer

China-India Plastics Industry
Summit 2007
A Report by
Mr. Arvind Mehta
President, Plastindia Foundation

                                                                           Having     met     SPI,    USA
                                                                           representatives in China, they
                                                                           also expressed desire to have a
                                                                           India-USA Plastic Industry
                                                                           Summit in Mumbai which is
                                                                           tentatively firmed up for first
                                                                           week of April 2008.

                                                                           China India Plastic Industry
                                                                           Summit has opened doors to new
                                                                           avenues. It goes without saying
                                                                           that they are looking forward to
                                                                           the Indian market as do we. This
                                                                           Summit has made a big impact,
Mr. Arvind Mehta making presentation at the Summit.                        which could be observed while
                                                                           visiting    Chinaplas     2007
The first ever summit of the          the Summit. This task was done       Exhibition.
Chinese and Indian Plastic            exceptionally well which resulted
Industries was organized by           in 85 delegates from India being     The Seven Founder Member
Plastindia Foundation and China       present at the Summit and 200        Associations’ report on China
Plastic Processing Industry           plus Chinese delegates attending     visit is being finalized and will
Association (CPPIA) and Adsale        as a result of which great           certainly pave the path forward.
Exhibition        Services      at    enthusiasm was created. The
Guangzhou, on 20th May, 2007          Chinese Minister had hosted a        Observations and some
with the backing of both the          luncheon meeting for our             comparisons of India China
governments of China and India        Minister and a one to one            Plastic Industry Growth Path
under the able leadership of          meeting of both ministers            during Summit visit
Minister of State for Chemicals       followed thereafter. Papers were     The       plastic      machinery
and        Fertilizers        and     presented from both sides and an     manufacturing capacity of China
Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. B. K.      interesting question answer          is 2 lakh units per year, of which
Handique and Mr. B. P. Pandey,        session followed.                    1 lakh units per year are
Jt. Secretary, Department of                                               exported. India’s machinery
Chemicals and Fertilizers and         There is no doubt that the           manufacturing capacity is still
Mr. Chen Shineng, President,          Chinese Plastics Industry is much    limited. The total number of
China National Light Industry         larger than Indian Plastics          Plastic Mould Makers in China
Council. Full teams from CPPIA        Industry in terms of production      runs into 20,000 plus while
and Plastindia were present.          and consumption of plastics.         India’s is again limited. One point
From Plastindia 12 Managing           Compared to India’s 5 million        we should not forget that
Committee Members were                tons polymers per annum, China       globalization in China began in
present. Utilising the strengths of   has a capacity of consuming 38       1978 whereas in India it started
our founder members, AIPMA            million tons plus reprocessing of    only in 1991, i.e., 13 years later.
was assigned the job of               6.8 million tons of imported scrap
undertaking marketing and             totalling to 44.8 million tons.                     (Cont. on page 12)
promotion of Indian delegates for

                         PLASTICS – SOME COMPARISONS
                         CHINA                                 INDIA
Vision                   To be a global manufacturer and       In the process of attaining
                         make China a world leader in          global status.
Industry Desire          To become the hub of plastic          Focusing on making India a
                         products.                             sourcing hub.
Policy Implementation    The political party members frame     The Government is now acting and
                         policies and see that Government      the subject about awareness of
                         implements these policies. In short   Plastic is now being focused with
                         party decides & Government            the advent of New Petrochemical
                         implements.                           Policy.
Composite Taxes          17% VAT. From the very first day      16% Excise Duty + 4% VAT = a total
                         VAT is chargeable. It becomes         of 20% which is refundable.
                         compulsory to pay VAT.                Many States charge 12.5% VAT on
                                                               the same products and many cities
                                                               charge octroi which is added
Cluster Approach         After receipt of Export Orders,                       Not so
                         machinery/raw material
                         co-ordination is there and cluster
                         approach is maintained.
Finance                  Available more easily as backed by    Available now but with tough
                         Province, State Govt., etc.           conditions and good amount of
                                                               processing time.
Interest Lending Rate    9% maximum                            Between 11% - 14%
FD Interest Rate         2.5%                                  9% to 15%
Power                    Rs.4/- average rate per unit          Rs.4/- fixed rate per unit
Labour Cost              In the slab of Rs.7000/- - Rs.10000/- In the slab of Rs.5000/- - Rs. 8000/-
Labour Productivity                                           2: 1
Purchasing Land & Bldg   Now all have to pay for the land & Build with individual funds.
                         the building (Earlier all
                         Government finance support was
                         available and no cost was incurred).
Central Government       Very supportive                                        O.K.
State Government         Very supportive                                        O.K.
Province                 Very supportive                                        O.K.
Trade Unions             Supports productivity                 Not always
Work Discipline          Very Good                             O.K.
Working Hours            24 hrs.x 7 days a week                24 hrs. x 5 days a week
Scale                    Now considered big out of             Still on a lower scale out, of 50,000
                         60,000 mfg. units, 12,600 units       units 250 units are limited
                         are large and rest small.             companies, i.e., big in size, the rest
                                                               are small now getting restructured.
Management               O.K.                                  Better managers

                         PLASTICS – SOME COMPARISONS
                         CHINA                                 INDIA
Environment &            Plastics is recognized as an          Not recognized
Government               energy saver.
                         Plastics is used in agriculture       Not recognized
                         to enhance productivity.
                         Plastics are used in modern           It is recognized but not supported
                         technological industries and it is    as plastic product.
                         recognized and supported.
Per Capita Consumption   30 kgs                                5 kgs
of Polymer
Polymer Consumption      Prime        38.00 million tons       Prime 5.00 million tons
                         + Reprocess 6.60 “From Imported       +     1.30 Local Scrap
                                            Scrap”                        reprocessed
                         Total        44.60 million tons       Total 6.30 million tons
                         Plus (Local generated scrap extra)
Brands                   No priority                           Brand a priority
Human Resources          There is co-ordination of all         CIPET & Engineering Colleges
                         Technical Institutes. They develop    provide with Polymer Course,
                         manpower as required by               but there is shortage.
Cost advantages of       Labour                                Now nearly same as China
China pertaining to      Power
Raw Materials            US$10/- to US$50/- per metric ton     Not so in India.
                         cheaper in China as they are bulk
                         buyers of polymers
Plastic Products         Cost is cheap but relatively high     Cost is high because of low
                         percentage of reprocessed material    productivity scale,
                         is used. China is the 2nd largest     and irrational input taxes.
                         product manufacturer in the world.
Exports                  US$20 billions of plastic products    US$2.5 billions of plastic
                         with growth of 22%.                   products including raw material.
Polymers                 Deficit of 17 million tons per year   No deficit, but at the same time
                                                               neither any surplus.
PVC Resin                About 100 carbide-based plants,       Only one carbide plant in existence.
                         processing and consuming high
Crude Oil                Imports 40%, while 60% is locally     Imports 70%, while only 30% is
                         manufactured.                         manufactured locally.
Plastics Scrap           Around 6.6 million tons is            Insignificant imports
Intellectual Property    Violations are there                  Violations are very less
Rights (IPR)
What to buy              From China, Machinery duly            From India Electronic
                         translated technology of advanced     Controllers, Software & Design
                         countries which is cost-effective.
What to Sell             To China Specialised Machinery.       From India, may be electronic
                                                               controllers, software
Win Win                  Joint venture with India              Joint venture for cost reduction.
Dies & Mould             We may buy from China due to          We can sell moulds of automobile
                         low cost                              parts & houseware, etc.

(Cont. from page 9)                  are extremely good. With                Highlights of Chinese Economy
                                     changed mindsets, and the               In general what drives China’s
Path Forward :
                                     technology upgradation as major         growth?
Now in India all Small Scale units   policy tools of Govt. of India, it is
                                     a matter of time when Indian            The answers are as follows:
are undergoing restructuring in
order to meet global demands.        Plastics Industry would bounce.         1) State led investment in
Due to dereservation policy of       Expansion plan of Reliance                  infrastructure.
Government of India, the items       Industries, IOC, GAIL, Haldia,          2) Robust Exports - around 35%
to be reserved for SSI are           new Gas Cracker Project in                  of GDP growth in 2006.
reduced drastically from 84          Assam on the anvil would                3) FDI and Foreign Trade
                                     enhance our capacities.                     accounts for 80% of GDP.
to just 11. By next year the
                                                                             4) Exports from China account
balance items are likely to be
                                                                                 for     93%      of     goods
de-reserved.                         The rationing quota has gone,
                                     Sales Tax high rates have come
                                                                             5) Exports are import intensive.
Indian Plastic Industry needs        down, Excise rates though high          6) Imports are chiefly capital
technology upgradation and the       are cenvatable. Custom duty on              goods & industrial raw
funds are required for the same      import of polymers is low, SSI              materials.
on the lines of the Textile          reservations a bone of contention       7) There is also a certain
Industry.                            between the big & small has                 percentage of grey economy.
                                     vanished and the National               8) Education is free in school.
As per Government of India’s         Petrochemical Policy which                  However, University studies
Textile Policy Technology and        favours the Plastic industry is             are costly amounting to US$
upgradation, funds up to 50 lakhs    approved by Government of                   3000/- per year.
can be availed at 3-5 % interest     India.                                  9) Around       95%      of   the
                                                                                 population is literate.
and loan refund payable within
                                     This leaves no obstacles in the         10) When it come to innovation,
5 years. However, the equipment
                                                                                 China is today focused and
must be bought from a local          path of growth. Small enterprises
                                                                                 with R & D budget increasing
machinery manufacturer. The          have to grow into a medium, may
                                                                                 at 20% to 30%.
result is that there is tremendous   be to large scale, in relatively        11) The NPA which was earlier
growth in textile industry which     shorter time frame.                         15% to 20% and has dropped
earlier was also fragmented as                                                   down to 5 – 6%.
in plastics. This government         SME’s have not disappeared              12) The Chinese Banks have low
policy has helped tremendously.      anywhere, they are everywhere,              lending rates and better
On the same lines, we hope the       in China, Japan and Germany but             infrastructure.
New Petrochemical Policy should      with economic of finance                The ultimate conclusion is visit
also be able to help restructuring   resources. The new policy is a          China more often and try to open
of our plastic industry.             trend setter for the future of          offices in China.
                                     plastics industry and we have to
                                     respond positively. The answer is       Last year around 600,000
Our management, technical
                                     growth and growth only.                 Indians visited China.
expertise and entrepreneurship

Plastics – A Source of Energy

Material recovery is by no means     for coal. This represents a             London, which produces steam
the only way to recycle plastics.    valuable resource, raising the          to power an electricity turbine.
Another option is to recover their   overall calorific value of domestic     The electricity is then sold to the
thermal content, providing an        waste which can then be                 Eastern Electricity Board. Waste
alternative source of energy. An     recovered through controlled            containing plastics can also be
average typical value for            combustion and re-used in the           reprocessed to yield fuel pellets,
polymers found commonly in           form of heat and steam to power         which have the added advantage
household waste is 38 mega           electricity generators. Successful      of being storeable.
joules per kilogram (MJ/kg),         ventures in this field include
which compares favourably to         plants, such as a major                   Source: British Plastics Federation
the equivalent value of 31 MJ/kg     incinerator in Edmonton, North                       

IPI Conference and Exhibition

                                    ICPE participated in IPI Conference and
                                    showcased the awareness message on plastics
                                    waste management and recycling.

Mr. B. P. Pandey, Jt. Secretary, DCPC (3rd from left) and          ICPE stall.
Mr. V. B. Lal, President, IPI (4th from left) at the ICPE stall.

                        Students took keen interest and noted down messages displayed on panels.

Now, power your house from plastic waste
Electricity from Plastic Waste. It           Hub Holdings have teamed up to      The power plants will be set up
may sound unrealistic, but it’s              build four power plants of 8 mega   in Navi Mumbai, Bhiwandi,
now being touted as the technol-             watt (MW) each based on this        Thane and Rajasthan at a total
ogy of future for the power-                 ‘commercially viable’ technology.   capital expense of Rs. 128 crore.
deficit India. Mrs. Alka Umesh               The plants will be fired by the     On experimental basis, AEL had
Zadgaonkar, who has got six                  liquid hydrocarbon produced         set up a 2 MW plant in Nagpur,
patents in India for the technol-            from plastic waste.                 which is running in full steam,
ogy and in the process of filing                                                 according to a senior AEL official.
                                             The new initiative will take
for international patent, is
                                             shape through the projects of the      (Source: The Economic Times, Mumbai)
joining hands with two large
                                             joint venture company –
corporates to make it a commer-
                                             Green Hydrocarbons (GHL)            ICPE – Eco-Echoes Newsletter
cial success.                                                                    issue Jul.-Dec. 2004 had published
                                             which is registered in Japan,
                                             Europe and the U.S.                 details of the basic invention of
Mumbai-based Asian Electronics                                                   Fuel from Plastics Waste by Prof.
(AEL) and Singapore’s Enviro-                                                    Alka Umesh Zadgaonkar.

                                                                         The ULS Report

Review of Life Cycle Data Relating to
Disposable, Compostable, Biodegradable,
and Reusable Grocery Bags

I. Background
In March 2007, the Board of           Research Reveals the Ironies
Supervisors of the City of San        in Plastic Bag Bans
Francisco passed an ordinance
effectively banning the use of        Data Shows that Bans on Plastic Bags
plastic grocery bags at               May Cause More Harm than Good
supermarkets         and      large
pharmacies. The Board’s               (June 7, 2007 – Rochester, MI)         than do traditional plastic
objective       was      to    stop   A review of highly credible,           bags, and it takes significant
environmental degradation and         third-party research has re-           fossil fuel energy to convert
reduce litter, and its solution was   vealed that banning traditional        trees into paper.)
to legislate the replacement of       plastic bags from retail stores
traditional plastic bags with                                             • Plastic bags generate 60%
                                      will probably not produce the         less greenhouse gas emis-
reusable bags or bags made from       intended results, and in the
paper or compostable plastic.                                               sions than do paper bags.
                                      case of greenhouse gas genera-        And because composting
                                      tion, may actually harm the           creates carbon dioxide, a
In an effort to gauge the impact      environment. Conducted by
of the Board’s decision, both in                                            greenhouse gas, the plastic
                                      The ULS Report, the study was         sacks generate 79% fewer
terms of environmental impact         done after the city of San Fran-
and litter reduction, the Editors                                           greenhouse gas emissions
                                      cisco banned plastic bags in an       than do paper bags after the
of The ULS Report have                effort to reduce environmental
examined a number of credible                                               latter are composted!
                                      impacts and litter. Other com-
third-party research reports, and     munities around the country         • The best environmental
used the findings to develop their    are considering similar bans.         choice is a reusable bag, as
own        conclusions        and                                           long as you actually reuse
recommendations.                      The research, which was in            (or recycle) it.
                                      large part commissioned and/        • Cigarette butts, chewing
II. Methodology                       or reviewed and published by          gum, and candy wrappers
An examination was made of            the U.S. EPA and its French and       account for about 97% of all
three studies that compared the       Swiss governmental counter-           litter. Paper and plastic bags
environmental impacts of various      parts, points out a number of         are generally a very small
grocery bags, or provided data        rather ironical facts:                part of the total.
widely used to do so:                 • Although they are made
1. Carrefour      Group,       an       from natural gas or oil, plas-    These findings are a proverbial
   international retail chain that      tic bags actually consume         whack on the side of the head.
   was founded in France and is         less fossil fuels during their    While counterintuitive, they do
   second only to Wal-Mart in           lifetime        than       do     indicate that bans on specific
   terms of global retail               compostable plastic and pa-       materials aren’t likely to either
   revenues, commissioned a             per bags. (The reasons are        help the environment or signifi-
   Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)          that compostable plastic          cantly reduce litter.
   Study by Price-Waterhouse-           bags use far more material

  Coopers/EcoBalance                   members representing the          3. Other than U.S. EPA data, the
  (Évaluation des impacts              paper,   plastics,    glass,         other studies originated in
  environnementaux des sacs            aluminum      and      steel         Europe and are based upon
  de caisse, February 2004,            packaging industries.                European manufacturing
  #300940BE8) that compared          3. Eco-Profiles of the European        processes.            Because
  the environmental impact of           Plastics Industry, performed        production processes are
  four types of bags: plastic           by     I.   Boustead      for       relatively similar globally, the
  made from high density                PlasticsEurope, 2005. This          data provide accurate
  polyethylene (HDPE), paper,           series was developed by LCA         assessments           between
  biodegradable plastic (50%            pioneer Boustead Consulting         materials that can be used to
  corn starch and 50%                   and conforms wherever               draw valid conclusions in the
  polycaprolactone compo-               possible to ISO standards           United States.
  stable plastic), and reusable         14040-14043. The data on
  plastic (flexible PE). The study      polyethylene film are also       IV. Findings
  evaluated environmental               referenced in the SAEFL study    A. Biodegradation/
  impacts from material                 listed above.                       Compostability
  production, through bag
  manufacturing and transport,                                           While paper and certain plastics
                                     Relevant data published by the      may be biodegradable or
  to end of life management.         U.S. Environmental Protection       compostable in specially
                                     Agency (EPA) were also              designed industrial facilities,
  The study was completed            reviewed. This information was
  according to ISO standards                                             evidence indicates that this
                                     found on the EPA’s website          feature may be of little value in
  14040-14043, and peer              (, and includes
  reviewed by the French                                                 the effort to reduce waste:
                                     data from its well-known
  environmental institute,           Municipal Solid Waste in the        1. According to the EPA,
  ADEME, the Agency for              United States series.                  ‘Current research demo-
  Environment and Energy                                                    nstrates that paper in today’s
  Management. The first review       III. Study Limitations                 landfills does not degrade or
  was by Henri Lecouls, an                                                  breakdown at a substantially
  independent lifecycle analysis     1. Findings, conclusions, and          faster rate than plastic does.
  expert assisted by Laura              recommendations are based           In fact, nothing completely
  Degallaix, representative of          on data that have been              degrades in modern landfills
  the Federal Consumers’                obtained through publicly           due to the lack of water, light,
  Union, Que Choisir, and               available channels or through       oxygen, and other important
  Dominique Royet, World                the broad group of contacts         elements that are necessary
  Wildlife Federation (WWF)             that The ULS Report has             for the degradation process to
  representative. A second              developed. There may be             be completed.’1
  review was made by related            other data available that
  parties: APME (European               refute, confirm, or extend the
  Plastics     Manufacturers            findings herein developed.
  Association; CEPI (Confe-          2. Results are based upon an
  deration of European Paper            analysis of quantitative data,
  Industries); and Novamont,            especially in relation to
  manufacturer of the bio-              materials      consumption,
  degradable plastic assessed in        energy and water usage,
                                                                            As evidence of this, here is a
  the study.                            pollution, and greenhouse gas
                                                                            photo of a newspaper buried
2. Life Cycle Inventories for           (GHG) production. Because of
                                                                            in an Arizona landfill and dug
   Packagings, Environmental            their qualitative and personal
                                                                            up after more than three
   Series No. 250/1, Swiss              nature, issues that transcend
                                                                            decades. As can be clearly
   Agency for the Environment,          a scientific approach, such as
                                                                            seen, paper does not degrade
   Forests and Landscape                the social value of renewable
                                                                            rapidly in landfills. (Photo
   (SAEFL), 1998. The study was         vs non-renewable resources
                                                                            credit: Dr. William Rathje,
   critically   reviewed     by         and composting vs landfilling,
                                                                            Founder of The Garbage
   corporate and association            are      best     considered
                                                                            Project at The University of
                                        independently by the reader.

  Arizona, and ULS Report           B. Waste, Energy Consumption,             renewable energy consumed
  Contributing Editor.)                Greenhouse Gas Emissions               during the lifecycle of paper
                                    The evidence does not support             and biodegradable plastic
  Compostable plastics, which       conventional wisdom that paper            bags.7
  are produced from plant-          bags are a more environmentally        4. Paper sacks generate 70 per
  based feedstocks, do not          sustainable alternative than              cent more air, and 50 times
  degrade in landfills, either.     plastic bags. While this is               more water pollutants, than
  According to Natureworks®,        certainly counterintuitive for            plastic bags.8
  a producer of a corn-based        many people, relevant facts
  plastic known as PLA,                                                    5. It takes 91 per cent less
                                    include the following:                    energy to recycle a pound of
  containers made from its
  material will last as long in     1. Plastic bags generate 60% less         plastic than it takes to recycle
  landfills as containers made         greenhouse gas emissions               a pound of paper.9
  from traditional plastics.2          than uncomposted paper              6. After three uses, reusable
                                       bags,     and    79%     less          plastic bags are superior to all
2. In order to breakdown as            greenhouse gas emissions
   intended,       compostable                                                types of disposable bags –
                                       than composted paper bags.             paper, polyethylene and
   plastics must be sent to an         The plastic bags generate
   industrial or food composting                                              compostable plastic – across
                                       3,097 tons of CO2 equivalents          all significant environmental
   facility, rather than to            per 100 million bags; while
   backyard piles or municipal                                                indicators.10
                                       uncomposted paper bags
   composting centers. Since           generate 7,621 tons, and
   there are apparently fewer                                              C. Litter
                                       composted paper bags
   than 100 of these facilities        generate 14,558 tons, per 100       While the data appears to
   functioning in the entire           million bags produced.4             indicate that paper and
   United States, the economic                                             compostable plastic bags may
   and environmental costs          2. Plastic bags consume less           account for less litter, data also
   of   wide-scale      plastics       than 4% of the water needed         indicates that this finding is offset
   composting are prohibitive,         to make paper bags. It takes        by the increased environmental
   significantly reducing the          5,527 cubic meters of water         impacts these bags produce
   value of such an alternative.3      to produce 100 million plastic      versus traditional plastic bags:
                                       bags, versus 145,729 cubic
3. By definition, composting and       meters of water to produce          1. The manufacture of paper
   biodegradation        release       100 million paper bags.5               bags consumes three times
   carbon dioxide (CO 2 ), a                                                  more water and emits about
   greenhouse gas, into the         3. Plastic grocery bags consume           80% more greenhouse gases
   atmosphere, increasing the          40% less energy during                 than the production of plastic
   potential for climate change.       production and generate 80%            bags.11
   For example, composted              less solid waste than paper
                                       bags. 6 Significantly, even         2. Compared to disposable
   paper produces approxi-
                                       though traditional disposable          plastic bags, biodegradable
   mately twice the CO 2
                                       plastic bags are produced              plastic bags generate higher
   emissions produced by non-
                                       from fossil fuels, the total non-      levels of greenhouse gas
   composted paper. (See
                                       renewable energy consumed              emissions,     atmospheric
   Paragraph B.2. just below for
                                       during their lifecycle is no           acidification and eutro-
   specific details.)
                                       greater than the non-                  phification    (a   process

   whereby bodies of water            emissions). Ironically, reducing                    Metropolis Magazine, March 1,
                                      the use of traditional plastic bags                 2004 (www.
   receive excess nutrients that
                                                                                          cda/story.php?artid=153). See
   stimulate excessive plant          would not even reduce the                           also   the    BioCycle    site
   growth, such as algae              reliance on fossil fuels, as paper        
   blooms).12                         and biodegradable plastic bags                 4    Life Cycle Inventories for
                                      consume just as much non-                           Packagings, Volume 1, SAEFL,
V. Conclusions/Indicated              renewable energy during their                       1998, Environmental Series
                                                                                          250/I and Eco-Profiles of the
   Actions                            full lifecycle.
                                                                                          European Plastics Industry,
The conclusion to be drawn                                                                developed by I. Boustead for
about how to reduce the               Further, an Internet scan of                        PlasticsEurope, March, 2005
                                      available government and non-                       (
environmental impacts and litter                                                          Default.asp?PageID=404& IsNew
associated with grocery bags is       profit information for the United
very much in line with both           States, United Kingdom, Canada
                                      and Australia indicates that                   5    Ibid.
longstanding EPA guidelines and
the ULS Report philosophy: the        chewing gum and cigarette butts                6    U.S. EPA website, (
                                      account for up to 95% of the litter                 region1/communities/
issue is not paper or plastic, but                                                        shopbags.html).
rather finding ways to reduce,        generated in the English-
reuse, and recycle both of them       speaking world.13 Thus, there                  7    Évaluation       des  impacts
                                      would appear to be far better and                   environnementaux des sacs de
– in that order. By putting more                                                          caisse Carrefour (Evaluation of
items in fewer bags, avoiding         potentially more effective
                                                                                          the Environmental Impact of
double bagging, switching to          legislative       opportunities                     Carrefour Merchandise Bags),
durable tote bags, and reusing        available if the objective is to                    prepared by Price-Waterhouse-
                                      significantly reduce litter.                        Coopers/Ecobilan (EcoBalance),
and recycling disposable bags,                                                            February 2004, #300940BE8.
significant reductions in material                                                        (
and nonrenewable energy               Again, when it comes to reducing                    rapport_carrefour_post_revue_
consumption, pollution, solid         the environmental and litter                        critique_v4.pdf).
waste,       greenhouse       gas     impacts of grocery and                         8    U.S. EPA website, (
emissions, and litter will occur.     merchandise bags, the solution                      region1/communities/
                                      lies in a.) minimizing the                          shopbags.html).

And, while recycling can help         materials used to produce all                  9    U.S. EPA website, (
save resources, its real value lies   types of bags, regardless of their                  region1/communities/
                                      composition, and b.) building                       shopbags.html).
in the reduction of greenhouse
gas emissions, and the                public awareness and motivation                10   Évaluation      des       impacts
minimization of waste going to        to reduce, reuse and recycle                        environnementaux des sacs de
                                      these bags – in that order.                         caisse Carrefour. Op cit.
landfills. Also, recycling helps
reduce litter, as bags are                                                           11   Ibid.
contained       and       stored.     Footnotes
                                                                                     12   Ibid.
Containment reduces the               1   U.S. Environmental Protection
                                          Agency (EPA) website, Questions            13   See Litter Composition Survey of
potential for them to be left in                                                          England, October 2004, produced
                                          About Your Community: Shopping
open spaces, where they become            Bags: Paper or Plastic or…?                     by ENCAMS for INCPEN
eyesores.                                 ( w w w. e p a . g o v / r e g i o n 1 /        (
                                          communities/shopbags.html).                     incp/LitterCompSurvey
                                                                                          24Jan2005.pdf). Also see Facts
VI. Summary                           2   Corn Plastic to the Rescue,                     About Litter from an Australian
                                          by Elizabeth Royte, Smithsonian,                governmental site
Legislation designed to reduce            August, 2006                                    (
environmental impacts and litter          (                        litter/factsaboutlitter.htm), and
by outlawing grocery bags based           issues/2006/august/                             equivalent government and non-
                                          pla.php?page=1).                                profit sites in Canada and the
on the material from which they
are produced will not deliver the     3   These figures were provided by a                United States, such as Keep
                                          number of experts, but due to the               America Beautiful.
intended results. While some
                                          fluctuating dynamics of the
litter reduction might take place,        composting industry, no firm
it would be outweighed by the             citation can be given. One article
disadvantages that would                  that mentioned the relative
                                                                                     Robert Lilienfeld,
                                          unavailability of industrial and
subsequently occur (increased                                                        Editor
                                          food composting was Composting
solid waste and greenhouse gas            that Plastic by Eliza Barclay,
                                                                                          (Reprinted with permission)

Plastics Recycling Facility
at Kolkata
Inauguration ceremony on 5th June, 2007
was co-sponsored by ICPE

The Centre for Quality               in the Anti Litter Campaign in the        in the unorganized sector. CQMS
Management Systems (CQMS) –          city of Kolkata and in developing         may      also    evaluate    the
Jadavpur       University      in    the door-to-door collection of            effectiveness of such a system in
association with Paschim Banga       plastics waste in Ward No. 82.            other chemical / recycling
Bigyan Mancha and other NGOs                                                   processes. ICPE hopes that CQMS
and Plastics Associations with       CQMS has developed a system,              has made adequate arrangement
active support of local civic        which ensures neutralizing any            of safe disposal of the liquid
authorities installed a Plastics     untoward obnoxious gaseous                chemicals, which dissolve the
Recycling Facility at Kolkata.       emission during an improper               gases during recycling process.
                                     plastics recycling process mainly
In the recent past, there have                                                 In this respect ICPE also suggests
been considerable debates on the       The authorities in Kolkata              that proper awareness and
issue of thin plastics carry bags      Municipal Corporation had               training may be imparted to the
and the solid waste management         enquired       about      the           plastics recyclers for adopting
problem created by such bags.          experimental Dry Waste                  correct recycling practices by
While      the      Government         Management Programme                    using well ventilated rooms for
Authorities      have      taken       initiated by ICPE in selected           installing properly designed
appropriate measures to limit the      Mumbai Wards in association             machines and using appropriate
availability of such thin carry        with NGOs and with active               stabilizer system and correct
bags by restricting their              support of Mumbai Municipal             temperature profile to arrest
thickness and size, it was             Corporation.                            emission of any unwanted
unanimously agreed by all                                                      gaseous emission in the first
concerned that the solution lies       The information has since               place.
in creating proper awareness           been provided to IPF and
among the general mass on their        CQMS for forwarding to KMC.             ICPE together with Plastics
littering habits and to adopt                                                  Industry        and       Plastics
proper waste management                ICPE would share more                   Associations would be ready to
practices.                             details of the success story of         join the local Institutes and KMC
                                       effective       Dry     Waste           in creating such awareness
ICPE has associated itself with        Management and subsequent               and create a safe and healthy
CQMS – Jadavpur University and         recycling of the dry waste.             environment            in      our
Indian Plastics Federation – IPF;                                              surroundings.

                          Recycling Industry
                          Generates Employment

                          Recycling Industry Snapshots*
                          No. of Units                            7,360
                          Volume Recycled                         1,957 KTA
                          Turnover (Rs. crore)                    6,715
                          Value Addition (Rs. crore)              1,600
                          Employment                              3.5 million
                                                                      * India Figures
                           (Display at Recycling Pavilion, Plastindia 2006 Exhibition)

Recycling Instead of Banning

Arkansas' legislature is taking                                                   Webb said, noting that in Ohio
a different approach to                                                           the foam is recycled into building
polystyrene      foam     litter                                                  materials, among other things.
problems. Instead of banning
the material, like some                                                           Wendy Cravens, deputy director
communities in California, it's                                                   of the Benton County Solid Waste
looking at recycling it                                                           District, said the agency already
                                                                                  recycles the plastic foam.
Committee recently endorsed                                                       Styrofoam that home or business
legislation that would direct the          "Styrofoam has a life expectancy       owners drop off at the facility is
State's environmental agency to            much longer than us, up to 500         soaked in a special chemical
develop regulations for recycling          years, and over time will              solution that reduces the
Styrofoam, the plastic foam used           comprise over 30 percent of a          material into a polymer that can
to make cups and packaging                 landfill," she said, speaking to the   be used in asphalt or in plastics.
material.                                  committee on the importance of
                                           recycling the plastic foam. "This      She said the pilot program, which
Under House Bill 1465,                     is a good bill. It's good              began last October, has cost the
regulations developed by the               economically.          It's   good     agency about $2,000 and later
state Pollution Control and                environmentally."                      this spring the polymer collected
Ecology Commission after public                                                   so far by the agency is to be used
input then be used by landfill             Stakeholders who expressed             by the Benton County Road
operators and recycling centers            concerns about the bill "are           Department. Several states
to recycle Styrofoam from homes            going to be the primary players        currently use the polymer in the
and businesses.                            over the course of the next two        asphalt they use on roads.
                                           years as we develop the
The bill by Rep. Kathy Webb, D-            regulations that this bill talks       Source:
Little Rock, advanced from the             about," she said.                      Environment and Plastics
House City, County and Local                                                      Industry Council
Affairs Committee on an 11-3               Styrofoam recycling is available
vote. It goes to the House.                in every state around Arkansas,

                              Use of Plastics                                     Source of generation of
                                                                                  waste plastics
           Toys / Sports     Engineering                       Footware
                3%               2%                              1%               Household: Carry bags, Bottles,
                                                                                  Containers, Trash bags
                                                                                  Health      and   Medicare:
               Agriculture                                                        Disposable syringes, Glucose
                  7%                                           Packaging
                                                                 35%              bottles, Blood and uro bags,
                                                                                  Intravenous tubes, Catheters,
                 8%                                                               Surgical gloves
                                                                                  Hotel and Catering: Packaging
            Furniture /                                                           items, Mineral water bottles,
                                                                                  Plastic plates, Glasses, Spoons
                                                                                  Air/Rail Travel: Mineral water
                 Electrical and
                  Electronics                                                     bottles, Plastic plates, Glasses,
                      8%                        Building and                      Spoons, Plastic bags
                                                    23%                              Source:

    Let’s give things another life.
             Let’s recycle.

Indian Centre for Plastics in the Environment • •

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