Statistics show that Kerala generates 480 tonnes of plastic waste a day. This amounts to a family in the state producing 60 grams of plastic waste each day. Over the last two years, the state government has been utilising money and concentrated efforts on awareness campaigns. Coming forward to help is this Kerala panchayat whose efforts in managing its plastic waste are commendable.
Two years ago, the Adimali Panchayat in Idukki district set up a plastic shredding unit to deal with plastic waste. Not only has the Panchayat shredded close to 20,000 kgs of plastics till date, it also generates revenue by selling the output.
In this conversation with The Better India (TBI), Adimali Panchayat Secretary, K N Sahajan, explains why and how this project came about.
Inception of The Project
“This project was conceptualised in association with Clean Kerala Company and Suchitwa Mission. The aim was to find ways of reusing the plastic waste being generated in the village,” begins Sahajan.
To bring this about, Adimali Panchayat along with the local self-help groups, set up a plastic shredding plant which comprises of a plastic shredding unit, an extruder (which helps melt the plastic) and an agglomerator (used to make plastic granules).
Sahajan explains that to ensure maximum participation, the panchayat has also been talking to various educational institutions who have started contributing to the project. Under the My Plastic Scheme, the panchayat collects plastic waste at regular intervals from various educational institutions around the village.
“It is financially a huge task to set up these units and therefore not every panchayat is able to set it up and run it successfully. Therefore when we did the same at the Adimali panchayat, we offered to take in and process plastic waste from other panchayats as well,” informs Sahajan.
How does the Panchayat use the Shredded Plastic?
“The shredded plastic waste is used for the tarring of roads by mixing the plastic with bitumen. As for the plastic granules, they are sold to factories to make hose and pipes,” says Sahajan.
The panchayat sells the shredded plastic at Rs 21/kg and have so far sold about 260 quintals. The panchayat sells the plastic granules at Rs 45/kg. Part of these revenues go toward meeting the labour expenses at the shredding units.
Currently, ten other panchayats contribute plastic toward this project.
Kerala is a small state but with high population density. Thus, to develop engineered landfills, the state faces serious issues with the availability of land. To address this concern, the government resorts to the 3Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
The year 2019 saw Kerala at the forefront of many initiatives aimed to improve health and the environment. From introducing a water bell in school to encourage students to drink water, using shredded plastic to pave roads, and recycling plastic granules to make hose pipes, among others, people in Kerala is indeed showing the way forward for the rest of the country to catch up.
Those interested in availing the shredding facility or buying shredded plastic waste or granule mixture, may contact the panchayat office at 04864-222160.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)