Government has been taking all possible steps to curb and manage plastic waste all around the country. Plastic Waste Management Rules were introduced by Ministry on 18th March 2016. The rules emphasis on the responsibility of local bodies, gram panchayats, waste generators, retailers and street vendors to manage plastic waste. These rules have introduced several new policies including EPR(Extended Producer Responsibility).
Various provisions have been set up upon brand owners, retailers and other as part of EPR. It states that within six months of publishing of these rules ,will acquire modalities for waste collection system based on Extended Producers Responsibility and involving State Urban Development Departments, either individually or collectively, through their own distribution channel or through the local body concerned. Moreover, Every producer shall maintain a record of details of the person engaged in supply of plastic used as raw material to manufacture carry bags or plastic sheet or like or cover made of plastic sheet or multilayered packaging.
Various such guidelines have been laid in the document that define the responsibility of people involved.
Management in other countries
Countries like Belgium, Ireland, Italy and some others have created one common non -profit entity that collects the necessary funding, cooperates with local authorities and ensures recycling in the most cost-efficient and environmental way.
While others such as Germany, Austria and Sweden have adopted dual model where Industry has full operational and financial responsibility over collection, sorting and recycling.
Similarly many other countries have introduced different ways to manage the plastic waste so generated.
Flow of plastic in India
The flow begins from house to house collection
In this mixed waste might be collected in single bin. This mixed waste is collected by waste collector where the waste collector sort out the plastic from the mixed waste at some location and remaining waste is sent to dumping ground. Where there is 2 bin collection system is adopted, the segregated waste is collected from the houses where the recyclable waste and bio- degradable waste is segregated as dry and wet waste. This plastic is sent to recyclers /cement plants/waste-to-road/waste-to-oil/thermal power plants/waste to energy plants etc.
If house to house collection method is not used then the waste is collected from the secondary collection point (dhalao) and transported to dumping site/partially to waste to energy plants. In bigger cities, there are transfer stations where the waste is directly transferred to bigger containers (16 ton – 20 ton vehicles) so that the same can be carried to the dumping grounds.
There is another system of collection of plastic through kabadiwalas. The kabadiwalas reach the houses/commercial establishments/markets where the plastic is sold to kabadiwalas.
The third stream of plastic is from the rag pickers. Most of the rag pickers collect the plastic from the dumpsites in the morning hrs and then in the day time they collect the plastic from the streets/markets etc.
The forth stream of plastic is from the road sweepers. The sweepers collect the plastic bottles etc while sweeping the roads in the morning and collect it in separate bags for selling.
The fifth place is the dhalaos’ from where the rag pickers (generally the dhalao are allowed for the rag-picker/collector who sort out the plastic from dhalao.
Sixth is the industrial plastic waste which, after being circulated among other industries may partly come to the recycler or to the assembler and then recycler.
Although the flow has been shown as linear, however, there are many possibilities in which the plastic is flowing. Mainly, it may happen that the kabadiwala himself be an assembler and directly sending the waste to the recycler or there is a chain of 2-3 assemblers, after which the waste is reaching to the sorter-balers and then to the recycler.