Plastic Waste Recycling: Challenges and Opportunities

Plastic has shaped modern-day civilization. This piece of material helps preserve goods for longer durations, reduces weight in transportation, thereby saving capital invested in fuels. Plastic is ubiquitous.

But, plastic collection and recycling are at a remarkably slower pace as compared to its production.

Recycling plastic puts it into the loop of the circular economy, reduces space taken up by waste as well as helps save costs on the production of virgin plastic material.

However, all plastic generated each day doesn’t enjoy this process of recycling, due to sheer amounts of plastic and unavailability of recycling units across the country.

What is Plastic Waste Recycling?

Plastic waste recycling is recovering scrap plastic and using it in creating new materials. 

The plastics which are not recycled are sent into cement kilns and road construction etc.

Challenges in Plastic Recycling

Plastic waste recycling faces major problems in the Indian market. This venture is in a nascent stage and should be encouraged for more speedy propagation. Some of these challenges are listed below:

  • Mixing up of different types of plastics

All different types of plastic are often mixed up and dumped together. This not only makes segregation difficult but also reduces the efficiency and speed of recycling the plastic. Instead of recycling, it undergoes incineration. More awareness about types of plastic could collectively reduce this difficulty. 

  • Lack of proper infrastructure and policies 

India is a vast country and so is it’s plastic consumption market. Unfortunately, the country is yet not equipped to handle all the plastic and whatever plastic is generated is not effectively reaching the recycling units. 

Lack of good infrastructure to collect and process the waste makes this a bigger hurdle in the industry.

  • The fad of ‘Sustainable Packaging’

Many businesses have turned towards alternatives lauded for eco-friendly and sustainable properties. Although these sound like a good alternative, materials like sachets, flex-packs, and laminated plastic pouches are deemed non-recyclable. This pile might start piling up quickly. 

  • Complex design issues 

Many materials are often produced along with glue and fixed to metals, nuts, etc, and segregation of such complex products may consume more time. The infrastructure is not currently supportive of handling these issues. This may pose a risk of mix up of many forms of materials. 

Advantages of Recycling

Apart from proper waste management, plastic recycling helps conserve composure in environment. 

  • Helps limit the amounts of plastic generated:The recycling process enables loop of circular economy. Instead of producing new material, use of plastic recycled ddecreases gross amounts.
  • Helps limit spaces taken up by garbage: As population and consumer beahviour keeps growing in the societies, waste generation will experience same. Recycling ensures the land space taken up by garbage is limited. 
  • Conservation of resources and energy: Producing new batches of virgin plastic uses up lots of resources. Recycling helps conserve use of resources to a larger extent. 

Recycling is not only an important but absolutely necessary step in reducing materialistic consumption and keep the environment from getting messy. 

Although, this is a growing industry we need to put enough emphasis on it to make sure more investment and attention is spent on it.

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