Pune, September 23, 2021: CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune, together with Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), and several other companies in Pune, have made a breakthrough in making useful molded plastic components from waste COVID-19 PPE. The pilot project undertaken has the potential to be scaled up and replicated across the country to convert waste PPE into useful and safe products.
A substantial increase in demand for single-use plastic items such as personal protective equipment (PPE), masks, gloves, etc. has been observed since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Across India, more than 200 tonnes of COVID-19-related waste was generated every day in May 2021. So far, this hazardous PPE waste is being incinerated at central waste management facilities (BMWM) . Incineration is energy intensive and results in the emission of harmful greenhouse gases.
CSIR-NCL, RIL and others have embarked on a mission to develop an end-to-end process for efficient recycling of COVID-19 plastic waste to produce value-added plastic products ensuring waste decontamination COVID-19 plastics, focusing on converting plastic waste suitable for downstream processing and identifying potential players / markets to create value for the entire supply chain.
In a proof-of-concept study, the CSIR-NCL team successfully demonstrated laboratory-scale manufacture of molded automotive products from decontaminated PPE plastic waste (at M / s Niky Precision Engineers, Pune) by pulling made use of the existing recycling infrastructure available in India. cities.
The CSIR-NCL and the RIL have now signed a memorandum of understanding to expand production on a pilot scale, paving the way for taking the concept to the national level. A 100kg pilot scale in Pune city area has been successfully implemented by collaborating with companies based in Pune, viz. M / s APPL Industries Limited, M / s SKYi Composites, M / s Harsh Deep Agro Products, M / s Urmila Polymers, M / s Jai Hind Autotech Pvt. Ltd., which produced value-added products. The raw material (PPE kits) was collected and decontaminated by Passco Environmental Solutions, a waste management company located in Pune. CSIR-NCL has obtained all necessary regulatory approvals from the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) to complete this pilot test.
The technical path of CSIR-NCL, aided by Reliance and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP) Dehradun, with funding from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, mainly involved the conversion of decontaminated PPE waste (including mainly PPE suits / suits) in an easily convertible and upcycled agglomerated form (pellets or granules). The polymer granules have been guaranteed to exhibit the right attributes necessary for successful conversion to produce non-food applications, including high performance automotive components.
This pilot project can be implemented across India to build a sustainable “green” circular economy that can propel India’s growth in this relatively untapped sector and contribute to India’s socio-environmental goals.
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