PLASTIC RECYCLING IN INDIA: Indian plastic industry is in the path of an impressive growth now. So what is the position of India in global plastic recycling market? When compared to the usage of steel and aluminum, the usage of plastics is more on volume basis. But India was the last in consumption of plastics among America, Europe and China. However this comparison was done by the year 2003. So what is the current position of India in global plastic market and what will be its future? Indian economy and plastic industry: In the year 2000, India was 10th in plastic consumption. But owing to the growth through 2000-2008, it’s expected India to be the 3rd largest consumer of plastics by 2010. Obviously by this great leap in this industry the total contribution of plastic industry to Indian economy will also jump to 44Bn USD by 2010. Employment in plastic recycling industry: In a report, it was stated like “plastic recycling system can turn a menace into employment opportunity for millions”. When compared to a plastic manufacturing firm, a plastic recycling firm can employ approx 7 times more people. As well as India is a concerned, Indians require more employment opportunities also. As the plastic recycling also contributes a good will to the environment, this industry definitely has a great future. Processing units in India: There are over 22,000 plastic processing units and over 150 plastic processing machinery manufactures in India. The machinery units supply over 2500 machineries per annum. There are some associations like All India Plastic Industries Association which was incorporated in 1982 to solve various issues in Import duty of polymers etc. And also the first international trade exhibition named PLASTEC-2008 is to be held at Chennai, the gateway of Tamilnadu to benefit plastic manufacturing industries in the south. Sources of plastic waste (Scrap plastic): It was estimated that India generates 5600 tones of plastic waste daily. The two main sources of scrap plastic in India as classified into two categories namely consumer waste and industrial waste. The consumer wastes include the wastes household waste, hospital waste and street waste. And as the name indicates, industrial waste includes all the waste plastic from industries. Plastic waste demands the highest cost in the recycled market i.e.12-15 INR per kg. In the year 2002 around 2 million tones of plastic waste was collected countrywide. Environmental factors: Considering the damage created by the plastics to the environment, the government tries to ban the usage of plastics in the country. But thousands of families in India make there living out of the money earned through plastic waste recycling. Any such total ban in this sector will also adversely affect the countries economy negatively.
Conclusion: So what should we ignore? Is that the environmental factors or the economic growth of the country and Poor’s livelihood? As both of them are equally important we should find an answer for this menace. In the attempt to clean up one segment should not result in “throwing the baby out of the window along with the bath water”. As India has a great resource of man power and technology, plastic recycling can be developed more and the environmental bugs can be fixed. As an old saying, “give me a rock, I will turn it to a masterpiece”, these waste plastics can be processed and reused. That will provide a lot of employment and also contributes a lot to economy, the two main aspects that India needs today.