Inorganic Waste Treatment Technologies and Market Opportunities

Posted by Global technology interface on January 12, 2021


In India, initially, there has been very minuscule awareness about solid waste management and its hierarchy. However, in the last few years, the situation of solid waste management has been changing. Still, we have a long way to implement effective solid waste management practices. Lack of waste segregation is the biggest hindrance to implementing solid waste management. Though, the plastic and paper recycling sector are budding and proliferating due to the huge market demand for these commodities. Irregular collection, unavailability of transportation in some areas, lack of advancements in treatment technologies, financial shortage in municipalities are other factors for poor solid waste management practices.

Inorganic waste such as glass, fibreglass, plastics, tires, and aluminum parts can be taken back to their respective factories of production upon which they can be re-made into new products at the Material Recovery Facilities(MRFs). Reuse and Recycling of waste materials are very effective ways of reducing waste at its source. Recycling is the reprocessing of discarded materials into new useful products. In India, it has been reported that about 40-80% of plastic waste is recycled compared to 10-15% in the developed nations of the world. However, the recovery rate of paper was 14% of the total paper consumption, while the global recovery rate was higher at 37% as mentioned by the Central Pollution Control Board(CPCB). Waste management in India must emphasize and be linked to the creation of jobs, poverty alleviation, and community participation. There is increasing evidence that community-based approaches to waste management can promote more sustainable development. To minimize solid waste generation especially inorganic waste, the policy of 4R’s should be popularised.

The policy of 4Rs emphasizes “refuse”, which encourages the community from buying new containers/items and use the ones that are available at home and also “refuse” to buy items that are of minimal use. “Reuse” items by upgrading them and utilizing them to their optimal utilization. “Recycle” old discarded items like making of shopping bags from old rugged clothes and reusing them again. Also, efforts have to be given to “reduce” the generation of unnecessary waste from the source.

There is a urgent requirement to foster community awareness and behavioural change of people towards waste, as this is fundamental and imperative in developing proper and sustainable waste management systems. Sustainable and economically viable waste management techniques must ensure maximum resource extraction from waste, combined with safe disposal of residual waste through the development of facilities with appropriate technologies. India faces acute challenges related to policies, waste technology selection and the availability of appropriately trained people in the waste management sector. Until these fundamental requirements are met, India will continue to suffer from poor waste management and the associated impacts on public health and the environment.

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