Friday, 24 October 2014

PROXIMATE CO-EXISTENCE OF PLASTIC RECYCLING AND BIO-GAS PLANTS: AN UNDOUBTEDLY ROBUST WINK FOR INDIA'S ECONOMIC HEALTH 

While the theoritical importance of bio-gas and plastic recycling plants in India's organic/in-organic waste management has highly been spoken of, yet very little has been done on a policy level. In other words, the underlying general perspective about waste management entrepreneurship is more on the side of "problem" than "potential". The local governments continue to claim control over waste management and lack of expertise and professionalism causes more failure than success in this field. While one hand we realise the importance of India's energy independence and effective waste management, on the other hand we persistently fail to understand the need to revamp the existing system. The only possible solution to this contradictory situation is making waste management completeley outsourced and incentive oriented. Now lets take a look at the following model and try to understand as to how proximate co-existence of bio-gas and plastic recycling plants working under incentive oriented system can do wonders:

INCENTIVE ORIENTED CO-EXISTENCE MODEL FOR BIO-GAS & PLASTIC RECYCLING PLANTS

Model Explanation

Abbreviations: R= Residential Buildings/ C= Commercial Buildings (e.g. eatery, hospitals, shops, small scale industries, shopping malls etc.)/ B= Biogas Bottling Plant/ P= Plastic Recycling Plant/ STP= Sewerage Treatment Plant/ M= Main Sewerage Pit/ V=Village

The white circle refers to a town called “T”. Town T is surrounded by agricultural/non-agricultural lands and 4 (four) villages V1, V2, V3 and V4. The Municipal Corporation of town T (“MC”) operates 4 (four) STPs situated at the outskirts of the town T. Now the MC further acquires 8 (eight) parcels of appropriate size lands from the state government in the North, East, South and West sides of the town. The land parcels are so located that they can be easily connected with the STP through pipelines.

Now MC proposes to generate additional revenue and in this regard leases out the parcels of land (by way of tender) to 2 (two) companies which will engage in bio-gas production and waste plastic recycling. Let’s say company C1 is the bio-gas company and company C2 is the waste plastic recycling company. Now let’s look at how these 2 (two) companies will function.

Company C1

C1 will establish 4(four) bio-gas bottling plants viz. B1, B2, B3 and B4. These plants will not receive any grid connected power and will have to source power from solar energy and captive use of some amount of bio-gas produced in the plant itself. Further, these plants will maintain required number of garbage trucks that run on non-fossil fuels like bio-gas[1].

C1 will enter into an agreement with the MC wherein the gas generated in the STPs viz STP1, STP2, STP3 and STP4 will be supplied to the respective biogas plants through pipelines[2]. The STPs will receive uninterrupted supply of the town’s sewerage by way of main sewerage pits M1 and M2. 

Further, on a daily basis C1’s personnel will visit the town and villages with their trucks/weighing machines and procure the bio-disposable wastes. The bio-wastes will be procured at a price (say Rs. 10/Kg) otherwise people will lose interest in segregation at source.

The collected waste will be converted into biogas, purified and bottled like liquefied petroleum gas[3]. The biogas cylinders will be supplied to town and village again (using another set of vehicles running on bio-gas) for usage in domestic and commercial purposes. Further, the slurry generated from the plant will be sold to farmers for agricultural purposes[4].

Company C2

C2 will establish 4 (four) plastic re-cycling plants viz. P1, P2, P3 and P4[5]. These plants will not receive any grid connected power and will have to source power from solar energy. However, if required, these plants can procure bio-gas (through pipeline) from the bio-gas plants. Further, these plants will maintain required number of trucks that run on non-fossil fuels like bio-gas[6]. These trucks will be used for procuring the plastic wastes. Additionally, the water required for running the plant will be met through rain water harvesting and by procuring water from the bio-gas plants where water will be produced as a residue to bio-gas.

Every day, C2’s personnel will visit the town and the village with their trucks/weighing machines and procure the non bio-disposable plastic wastes. The non bio-wastes will also be procured at a price (say Rs. 15/Kg) otherwise people will not show interest in segregation at source.

The collected waste will be recycled in the plants and the recycled plastics can be used for creating assets in the villages through NREGA[7]. Further, depending on the domestic and international demand, the recycled plastics can also be sold domestically or internationally for various industrial and commercial activities.

Major Effects

1.         Effective disposal of wastes;

2.         Revenue generation for local government/bio-gas & plastic recycling companies;

3.         Reduction in the dependency of fossil fuels;

4.         Employment generation;

5.         Production of organic manure; and

6.      Environmental wellbeing.

Need of the Hour

The associations of Indian bio-gas enterpreneurs and plastic recyclers should make representations to the Central and State Governments for suitable policy formation/changes to pave the way for bio-gas and plastic recycling on a major level. 



[7] http://tce.edu/chemistry/process.html retrieved on July 02, 2014.









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