New Delhi: Hazardous, municipal and agricultural waste should be recycled as fuel in cement plants, say draft guidelines issued by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB).

The proposed guidelines, which have opened up for public comments till 10 February, are aimed at ensuring that the waste is recycled in order to help tackle pollution.

The draft ‘Guidelines for Pre-processing and Co-processing of Hazardous and Other Wastes in Cement Plants’ as per Hazardous and Other Waste (Management and Transboundary movement Rules) 2016 were made public last week. The proposed guidelines are in line with recently notified hazardous waste rules 2016 which makes a case for prevention, reuse, recycling, recovery, utilization, including pre-processing and co-processing, before considering the option of disposal through incineration or secured landfilling.

“Substantial factions of industrial, commercial, domestic and other wastes contain materials that have the potential for use as an alternative raw material or as a supplementary fuel for energy recovery. Environmentally sound utilization of wastes for resource or energy recovery can be practised in various industrial processes; however, utilization by co-processing in kiln is considered an effective and sustainable option," the norms said.

As per official estimates, about 7.4 million tonnes (mt) of hazardous waste are annually generated in India, of which nearly 4 mt is recyclable which can be used for energy recovery. Similarly, “about 65 mt per annum of municipal solid waste is generated in the country which contains about 15-20 % of non-recyclable segregated combustible fraction (SCF) which can be utilized for energy recovery," the draft rules note.

Besides, about 200 mt of non-hazardous waste of industrial origin is generated in the form of fly-ash, dried sewage sludge, plastic and other packaging materials, date expired and off-specification FMCGs materials and food and kindred products, used pneumatic tyres, etc., which have the potential for resource or energy recovery.

Large quantities of agro-waste that do not have potential to be used as cattle feed can also be used for the cement plants. The draft also said there is dual benefit in co-processing of wastes in cement kilns, in terms of utilizing the waste as a supplementary fuel as well as an alternative raw material.