Alternatives to Plastic

Alternatives to Plastic

News: A Niti Ayog report has suggested on plastic alternatives or technologies making plastic degradable.

Findings of Report:
• India produces 3.47 million tons of plastic waste per annum (according to CPCB report) with per capita waste growing from 700 grams to 2500 grams over the last 5 years. Unfortunately, only a small amount of this waste gets recycled. 60% is collected for recycling and the remaining 40% is littered in the environment as waste.
• Goa, Delhi & Kerala have reported the highest per capita plastic waste generation, while Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura have reported the lowest per capita plastic waste generation.
• Globally, 97-99% of these plastics are derived from fossil fuel feedstock while the remaining 1-3% come from bio (plant) based plastics

What are its recommendations?
• Develop emerging technologies. For example, additives can make plastics biodegradable polyolefins, such as polypropylene and polyethylene
• Use of Bio-plastics as a cost-effective alternative to plastics. Given the significant potential overall and the promise of recent innovations, increased investment in the development and application of biodegradable plastic is required to move towards a sustainable plastics economy.
• Recognizing the contribution of the Informal sector and vulnerable groups in recycling waste.
• Strengthening waste minimization through Extended Producer Responsibility.
• Levelling and collection of compostable and biodegradable plastics.
• Disclose data on waste generation, collection and disposal.
• It is important avoid greenwashing. Greenwashing refers to the process of conveying misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound.

Innovative approaches to minimize plastic waste:
• In Sikkim, plastic waste is used in road construction.
• DRDO lab DFRL has developed technology for biodegradable cutlery.
• In Tamil Nadu, collection efficiency of plastic waste is 92%.
• In Junagadh, an eco-friendly café, run by Sarvoday Sakhi Mandal was opened which offers food when you give plastic to them. For example, one kg of plastic waste will get you one plate of poha. More the plastic, bigger the plate.
• Edible seaweed cups in Indonesia. Seaweed can grow up to 60 times faster than land-based plants, making it an important carbon sink.
• In 2020, a Scotland-based paper manufacturing company developed a sustainable wood-based alternative to plastic packaging.

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