CSIR-NCL and Reliance Industries together undertake to recycle medical plastic wastes
- Journalist: S. Jayavikraman
Indian government premier research institute, CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory, has joined hands with India’s multinational conglomerate company Reliance Industries and other Indian companies to recycle Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) wastes generated during the COVID19 phase. The adjoining parties have obtained breakthrough results in the pilot-scale project that shows the capability of transforming PPE suits to easily processable granules and pellets form. These recycled pellets are capable of exploitation in high-performance automotive parts and non-food packaging.
PPE that includes bodysuits, gloves, face shields, masks, shoe covers, and headcovers, are largely produced from polypropylene plastic and have the capability to protect a person wearing them from the risk of contracting an infection. India has witnessed a significant rise in the demand for polypropylene single-use plastics for making PPE used by health professionals, and by most of the population in offices and household setups after the outbreak of the COVID19 pandemic.
India, in May 2021, generated around 200 tons of medical wastes associated with excessive use of PPE for protection from COVID19. The management of these wastes is done through incineration at central waste management facilities that cause the emission of toxic greenhouse gases.
As per ChemAnalyst, India’s total demand for polypropylene single-use plastics is fulfilled from domestic production and imports. Reliance Industries is the largest producer of polypropylene in India. Conscious of the need for robust solutions to slash down plastic wastes, the government and Reliance Industries have been strengthening their policies. The pilot project marks a significant step in supporting the circular economy for single-use plastics. The scaled-up project is expected to lay the foundation for mass recycling of PPE into useful products. With this project, Reliance Industries has the potential to become a future central for providing recycled polypropylene supply to the Indian markets.