Plastic is a menace to the environment, yet our dependability on this man-made polymer is such, it’s usage cannot be avoided almost immediately. Until that time arrives when we would have found an alternate, recycling plastic and avoiding usage wherever possible is the way forward. However, as per nature’s law, technology will progress and necessity will bear an invention which will show it’s face eventually, if not in nine months.
The Municipal Corporation of Surat (SMC) believes in such progress and has found a way to convert it’s plastic waste into crude oil and re-usable plastic pellets. The resultant products can be further used as substitute fuel to power industrial units, vehicles, power plants, generators and all such things which depend on dinosaur juice to function.
Plastic is derived from petroleum or natural gas in a chemical process that combines smaller molecules into a large chain-like molecule, often with other substances added to give it particular qualities. As plastic embodies energy from fossil fuel and has a higher energy value than coal, leaving so much of it in landfills is not only an environment hazard, but a huge waste of a valuable resource that could be used to produce electricity, heat or fuel. From around 1,500 tonnes of municipal solid waste (MSW) that is generated everyday from the seven municipal zones in the city, 8 per cent or around 130 tonnes is plastic waste. The SMC plans to convert this into crude oil or plastic pellets using the state-of-the-art ‘Pyrolysis’ technology.
“SMC is the first urban local body in the state to have proposed a project to convert plastic waste into crude oil and pellets. The crude oil, produced using the pyrolysis technology which decomposes organic material at elevated temperature, could be used as a fuel for domestic and industrial purposes and the city would be free from various types of pollution caused by waste plastics,” says solid waste manager, EH Pathan.
A City-based firm has already submitted it’s lowest offer after SMC invited an expression of interest. The final decision will be taken today at the tender scrutiny committee meet. So for all the people who would lose sleep after reading news about heaps of plastic that float in the Sea, or feel sad about their future grand children, who might never know what crude oil is, we hope you sleep well now.