New Delhi: The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) came out with guidelines to effectively deal with non-recyclable thermoset plastic waste earlier this week, more than a year after the National Green Tribunal (NGT) asked the pollution watchdog to do so.
NGT had directed CPCB in January 2015 to devise guidelines for safe disposal of thermoset plastic waste.
Thermoset plastic waste—a material that can’t be remoulded or recycled—is widely used in our daily lives in a broad range of applications across cars, trucks, other commercial and agricultural vehicles (body parts, structure and engine parts), trains, trams and light railways.
It is also extensively used in electrical items and building in the form of fuses, switchgear, household fixtures and in bathrooms. Besides, it is an integral part of some of our domestic appliances like coffee machines, toasters and irons. But as it is non-recyclable, thermoset plastic waste often ends up in landfill, causing environmental problems.
In the guidelines released earlier this week, CPCB noted that “at present, no system exists with municipal bodies for collection, segregation & transportation of all kind of plastic waste" including thermoset waste.
CPCB said that rule 6 of the Plastic Waste Management (PWM) Rules, 2016 notified in March states that all local bodies shall ensure processing and disposal of non-recyclable plastic waste in accordance with CPCB guidelines. The pollution watchdog also stressed on Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) under the PWM rules. Under the EPR concept, producers are responsible for collecting waste generated from their products.
CPCB noted that the options for controlling thermoset waste are minimizing of waste generation, co-processing in cement kilns and disposal in secured landfills.
“The most preferred option is minimization of use of thermoset products and promoting use of alternate material, which could be easily recyclable, reusable and degradable," CPCB said in its guidelines.
Besides that, CPCB stressed on collection of such waste by manufacturing industries under EPR and by local authorities so that it could be taken to “co-processing in cement kilns for recovery of material and energy value present in the plastic waste".
“The Producers of thermoset plastic, major user like industries, electricity authority in consultation with local authority shall arrange to collect the waste and handover to cement plants. They shall maintain a record of quantity generated and handed over to cement plant which shall maintain a record of quantity received and utilized," the guidelines said.
It also said that the producers of such wastes shall assist the cement plants for establishment of required facilities for utilization of thermoset waste.
CPCB also noted that the State Pollution Control Boards may consider incentives such as reduction of water cess or consent fee for such cement plants.
It also noted that secured landfill is another option that can be utilised for disposal of thermoset waste, but ranked it as the least preferred option as availability of land is a major issue in cities and landfills result in land becoming unusable and continuous increase in their cost.