Plastics and the Environment

INDIAN CENTRE FOR PLASTICS IN THE ENVIRONMENT
Growing population and increasing demand for various goods and services have put severe pressure on our natural resources and fragile eco system. Plastics offer an effective, environment friendly and economical alternative to score of materials and offer greater protection against environmental pollution. Use of plastics therefore has become not only desirable but also inevitable for a sustainable development.

PRODUCTION OF PLASTICS
World 160 Mn Tons +
Per Capita ~ 22 Kgs

India 6 Mn Tons +
Per Capita ~ 6 Kgs
From a meager commercial beginning from the early part of 20th Century, production of synthetic plastics has reached more than one million tons by the end of that century. In the year 2007, the world production of plastics has reached about 160 million tons and per capita consumption stood at around 22 Kgs. During the same year India’s production figure stood at around 6 million tons with per capita consumption at around 6 kgs, much below the world average.

2007 Figure

MAJOR REASONS OF ENVIRONMENTAL POLLUTION
AIR POLLUTION WATER POLLUTION SOIL POLLUTION GREEN HOUSE EFFECT & GLOBAL WARMING DEPLETION OF OZONE LAYER
If we analyse different reasons for Environmental Pollution, we note that the following are the major ones: Air Pollution, Water Pollution, Soil Pollution, Global Warming, Depletion of Ozone layer. We will attempt to examine the role of plastics in each of these environmental issues.

AIR POLLUTION
MAJOR POLLUTANTS SOURCE RESPONSIBLE FUEL BURNING / BOILERS DUST STORM / VOLCANIC ERUPTION / CEMENT / MINING QUARRYING FUEL BURNING /H2SO4/ INCINERATION / CHEM JNDS / SMELTING / REFINERY PETROLEUM OPERATION / AUTOMOBILES / INDUSTRIAL COMBUSTION ROLE OF PLASTICS PLASTICS PLAY INSIGNIFICANT ROLE

SPM

SO2 NOX CO

LESS THAN 4% OF REFINERY PRODUCTS ARE USED FOR PETROCHEMICALS INSIGNIFICANT

INCOMPLETE COMBUSTION OF FUEL CAN BE AVOIDED BY & HC IN INDUSTRIES AND CORRECTIVE METHOD AUTOMOBILES OF PROCESSING

Air Pollution is considered the most serious concern, mainly in the highly populated/industrial areas. A chart showing the ma jor air pollutants and type of industries/Source responsible for such pollutions is given. Air pollution due to vehicle emission in some of the metropolita n cities has since come down after strict implementation of CNG as a fuel in public transport system. Emissions from industries are among the other causes of pollution. The industries which have been identified under this are :--Thermal Power Plants, Brick Kilns, Potteries, Steel rolling plants and Induction furnaces. Plastics processing has been kept under non-polluting (Green) category.

MAJOR CHEMICALS HANDLED DURING COMMODITY PLASTICS MANUFACTURE
 ETHYLENE
 PROPYLENE  CHLORINE   VINYLCHLORIDE MONOMER BENZENE

THRESHOLD LIMIT VALUE (TLV) AND IMMEDIATELY DANGEROUS TO LIFE OR HEALTH (IDLH) LIMITS ARE DEFINED AND MAINTAINED
During production of commodity plastics raw materials, mainly four or five major chemicals are involved which attract attention of critics. These are Ethylene, Propylene, Chlorine, Vinyl Chloride and Benzene. These chemicals, by themselves, are toxic and their presence in the environment would endanger the safety and health of human life. However, the manufacturers of these commodity plastics, which are essentially in the organized sectors, constantly monitor the TLV of various chemicals and modern technologies enable these industries to install systems, which ensure that the emissions do not exceed permissible level. Government regulatory b odies also keep a strict vigil and control over the manufacturing conditions.Once these basic raw materials undergo chemical reactions to form plastics granules / powder, they b ecome completely inert and safe to handle. Critical characteristics and safety limits, TLV (Threshold Limit Value), IDLH (Immediately Dangerous to Life or Health) limit etc. are maintained.

EMISSIONS POSSIBLE DURING PROCESSING / BURNING OF COMMODITY PLASTICS

CO2 CO/ ACROLEIN / ALDEHYDE

IN COMMON CASES AT FIRE SITUATION (COMMON PHENOMENON IN CASE OF WOOD ALSO).

Processing of plastics is completely safe under normal processing conditions. At burning situations, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, aldehydes etc are evolved. This phenomenon is similar to other organic and natural materials like wood, cotton etc .Plastics do not create any additional risk to toxic emissions during fire situation.

Emissions During Processing of P lastics
Polyme r (processe d at te mp ÞC) VOC as per ASTM D-3686 (GC) Nil Volatile Organic Compou nds (VOCs) and HAPs ( ppm) Formic FormaldAcid, Ace tic e hyde (UV Acid, Spe ctropAcet aldeh yde hotome try) (HPLC) Nil <1 Hydrochloric acid (Calorime try) Nil

LDPE (170-205 ÞC) Extru sion/Inject ion Moulding LLDPE (180-240ÞC) Extru sion/Inject ion Moulding HDPE (210-245ÞC) Extru sion/Inject ion Moulding PP ( 210-270ÞC) Extru sion/Inject ion Moulding PVC ( 150-250ÞC) Extru sion/Inject ion Moulding PS ( 190-270ÞC) Extru sion/Inject ion Moulding

Nil

Nil

<1

Nil

Nil

Nil

<1

Nil

<1

Nil

<1

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

Nil

<1

Nil

<1

Nil

Shriram Institute for Industrial Research

DIOXIN AND PLASTICS

As per the US EPA report, Dioxin level in the atmosphere in the USA in 2000 was reduced by 1/3rd as compared to that in the 1970s. However, production and consumption of all plastics raw materials including PVC has tripled during this span of about 30 years. This clearly proves that there is no direct correlation between PVC or any other plastics and Dioxin.

2,3,7,8- Tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin SOURCE :BOTH NATURAL & MAN MADE

 COMMERCIAL/ MUNICIPAL WASTE  BURNING OF FUEL(COAL , WOOD,OIL)  BURNING OF HOUSEHOLD WASTE  CHLORINE BLEACHING OF PULP AND PAPER  SOME CHEMICAL MANUFACTURING PROCESS
(NOT KNOWN FOR COMMODITY PLASTICS)  FOREST FIRE  CIGARETTE SMOKE

PLASTICS HAS NOT BEEN SINGLED OUT AS THE

ONE CAUSING DIOXIN GENERATION

WATER AND SOIL POLLUTION
• PLASTICS DO NOT POLLUTE WATER AND SOIL ø IT TRANSPORTS AND STORES POTABLE WATER AND PRESERVES SOIL FROM EROSION ø COMMODITY PLASTICS ARE COMPLETELY SAFE FOR LAND FILL
Plastics do not pollute water. In fact most plastics materials may be used in contact with food products. Potable water is stored and delivered through plastics. Plastics processing industries do not generally have scope of releasing any effluent except water itself which is used as cooling agent. Emission to water during manufacture of plastics is very low compared to that during the production of alternatives like paper, jute, textile or metals. Regarding safe disposal issue in landfill, plastics by itself are generally inert and pose no problem in land filling, though it is not a desired practice.

HOWEVER PLASTICS WASTE SHOULD NOT GO TO THE LAND FILL. IT SHOULD GO FOR RECYCLING / ENERGY RECOVERY

GREEN HOUSE EFFECT & GLOBAL WARMING

GREEN HOUSE GASES
CO2 > 50% Water Vapour NOx Methane CFC
The major gases identified as the main causes of Global Warming are CO2, Water Vapour, NOx, Methane and CFC. Plastics are not making additional contributions. In effect, use of plastics have reduced the emission of CO2 to a great extent in many applications like in automobiles, packaging, piping and insulation etc...

DEPLETION OF OZONE LAYER

IDENTIFIED ODS’s
CFC : CHLOROFLUOROCARBON

HALONS : CARBON TETRA CHLORIDE

MCF

: METHYL CHLOROFORM

CFC 11& CFC 12 ARE BEING REPLACED BY CYCLOPENTANE, A NON-ODS.
There are certain chemicals which have been identified as Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). They cause depletion of Ozone layer. CFC (Chloro Fluoro Carbon) is one of them. CFC-11 has been used as blowing agent in certain uses of plastics to give foamy structure. Hydrocarbons, specifically cyclopentane has replaced CFC-11 as blowing agent. Other ODS substances are Halons and Methyl Chloroform (MCF). These do not find applications in the manufacture of commodity plastics.

USES OF PLASTICS

PACKAGING FOOD & BEVERAGES
– – – READY TO EAT FOOD MILK/ TEA/COFFEE/ BISCUIT / ICECREAME CHOCOLATE SOFT DRINK / FRUIT JUICE/ WATER

PHARMACEUTICALS
– TABLETS/ SYRUP/BASIC DRUGS

MEDICAL
– BLOOD / IV SOLN.

COSMETICS / TOILETRIES

PACKAGING AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS
RICE/ WHEAT/ PULSES/SUGAR/ED OIL

INDUSTRIAL PRODUCTS
CEMENT / FERTILISERS

CHEMICALS WATER BOTTLES

BUILDING & CONSTRUCTION
• PIPES & FITTINGS

• DOORS / WINDOWS

• PARTITION

• FLOORINGS

MEDICAL APPLICATIONS
• DISPOSABLE SYRINGES

• I V SETS
• CATHETRES

• HEART VELVE
• TUBE FOR PACEMAKER WIRE

• INSTRUMENT TRAYS
• X-RAY FILMS

AGRICULTURE

Canal lining Green House

Mulch Film Sprinkler/Drip/Micro irrigation

WATER TRANSPORTATION

ELECTRICALS & ELECTRONICS

AUTOMOBILES

MAJOR BENEFITS OF PLASTICS

MILK

Today, 45 Million families daily receive fresh & unadulterated Milk ….. thanks to Pouches No Polyethylene Pouch ???

Operation Flood will have to be recast, Can we turn the clock back?

ENERGY SAVING – 1 LAC LTRS OF MILK PACKAGING GLASS VS PLASTIC

• Energy consumption in GJ for
– manufacture of packaging raw material and the packets and – transportation of milk Glass Plastic

2195

291

• Energy saving – 86% • Energy recovery with plastics - 20

ENERGY SAVING:1 LAC MT OF ATTA PACKAGING JUTE VS PLASTIC

• Energy consumption in GJ for
– Manufacturing packaging raw material and Product and – Transportation of Atta

Jute

Plastic

330

63

• Energy saving – 81% • Energy recovery with plastics - 35

EFFICIENT PACKAGING …
Cost of Packaging

Energy Consumption

Without Plastics
With Plastics

Volume of Waste

Weight of Packaging
Source: GVM, Germany-1987 / 91 (APME)
Use of plastics for efficient packaging has resulted in: Reduction in cost of Packaging by 300 %, Reduction in Energy Consumption by 150%, Reduction in Volume of Waste by 100 %, Reduction in Weight of Packaging by 200 %, in comparison to alternate materials of packaging.

Plastics - The best packaging medium

WOOD CONSERVATION : A MUST
Wooden Crates are Simply not available anymore !!

Yearly consumption 50 million Plastic Chairs & 15 million Crates

Savings over 10 yrs. ~ Close to 20 million trees
Source: Economic Times Polymer Bureau

PLASTIC CARRY BAGS
SOME FACTS

A

• Plastic Carry Bags Generate 60 – 79% Less Green House Gases than Paper Bags
• Plastic grocery bags consume 40% less energy during production and generate 80% less solid waste after use than paper bags.

• Paper sacks generate 70% more air pollutants and 50 times more water pollutants than plastic bags do. • It takes 91% less energy to recycle a kilogram of plastic than a kilogram of paper.

….PLASTIC CARRY BAGS
A

• 150,000 Plastic Bags of 20 cm x 30 cm x 40 micron weighs ~ 600 kgs and needs 1 small Tempo for transportation while Paper Bags of same size & number weighs ~ 1500 kgs and needs > 10 such Tempos for transportation - due to higher volume.

AIR & WATER POLLUTION BY POLYETHYLENE & PAPER
Environmental Burden Energy in GJ for Manufacture SO2 NOx CH4 CO Dust COD BOD Polyethylene 29 9.9 6.8 1.5 1 0.5 0.5 0.02 Paper 67 28.1 10.8 3.8 6.4 6.8 107.8 43.1

Fabbri, A in Scott, G and Gilead, D., editors, Degradable Polymers, Principles and Application, Chapman & hall, 1995, Chapt

PLASTIC AND JUTE BAGS

Energy Saving during Manufacture of Raw Materials, Production and Transportation of Plastic Bags compared to Jute Bags is 81%.

ENVIRONMENTAL BURDEN DURING PRODUCTION OF RAW MATERIAL & BAGS
Environmental Burden
Air Pollution CO CO2 SOx Nox CH4 HCL Dust Water Pollution Suspended Solids kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg

Jute Bag

Plastic Bag

54.3 6610.2 134.8 68.1 39.5 5.3 67.6 352.3

0.6 760 5.2 4.8 3.2 0 1.4 0.2

Chlorides

kg

4535.5

0.1

The values are for packaging of one lac MTs of Atta. Source – Report by Centre for Polymer Science and Engineering, IIT - Delhi

THE ENVIRONMENTAL BURDEN DURING TRANSPORTATION OF THE FINISHED BAGS
Emission CO2 CO HC NOx Particulates Total Regulated Tailpipe Emission Gm/km 781 4.5 1.1 8 0.36 13.96 Excess Emission for jute Bags 11107.3 64.0 15.6 113.8 5.1 198.5 Plastic Bags Taken as Basis Taken as Basis Taken as Basis Taken as Basis Taken as Basis Taken as Basis

The values are for packaging of one lac MTs of Atta. Source – Report by Centre for Polymer Science and Engineering, IIT - Delhi

PLASTIC AND TEXTILE BAGS
Plastics manufacturing consumes 400 kwh/mt while composite textile mills consume 1310 kwh/mt Textile contributes 30% SOx (Second Highest by Any Sector) and 23% NOx (Highest by Any Sector)

Consider the enormous environmental burden generated by Jute & Textile bags, which are not visible to naked eyes though, in comparison to Plastic Bags!
Source : Warmer Bulletin, July 01

ENERGY REQUIREMENTS OF VARIOUS MATERIALS
10000 9000 8000 7000 6000 5000 4000 3000 2000 1000 0
Al-DIE CAST PA-6 PA-66 PVC Zn-DIE CAST HDPE ABS PC PP PS ACETAL MOD.PPO Mg-DIECAST STEEL PMMA LDPE PET

Plastics consume least energy for conversion into product. Hence,wherever plastic products are replacing alternate materials like metal, glass or even paper, we save energy and save the environment to that extent.

DESPITE ALL THESE BENEFITS PLASTICS ARE UNDER THE SCANNER
• ISSUES: • • • • SAFETY TOXICITY BIODEGRADABILITY DISPOSAL

SAFETY
PLASTICS ARE APPROVED SAFE MATERIAL FOR USE … • IN CONTACT WITH FOOD, PHARMACEUTICALS AND DRINKING WATER AS IMPLANTS WITHIN HUMAN BODY

TOXICITY
ISSUE: PLASTICS ARE TERMED AS TOXIC AND INJURIOUS TO HEALTH REALITY:
• PLASTICS ARE INERT MATERIALS AND HENCE DO NOT POSE ANY DANGER OF TOXICITY • ADDITIVES USED IN PLASTICS ARE APPROVED AS PER BIS / FDA STANDARDS

• EMISSIONS AT FIRE SITUATION HAVE SIMILAR OR LESSER IMPLICATIONS IN COMPARISON TO SITUATION INVOLVING NATURAL ORGANIC MATERIALS LIKE WOOD & COTTON

BIODEGRADABILITY
• PLASTICS ARE USEFUL FOR ITS LONG LIFE CHARACTERISTICS

BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS ARE REQUIRED FOR SPECIFIC APPLICATIONS LIKE NURSERY BAGS, MULCH FILM, ONE – TIME USE CUTLERY / CUPS ETC TO BE CARRIED IN SHIPS
THE INDUSTRY IS IN ITS NASCENT STAGE BIS HAS RECENTLY ADOPTED ISO 17088:2008 ON COMPOSTABLE PLASTICS IN ITS INDIAN STANDARD BIODEGRADABLE PLASTICS ARE NOT RECOMMENDED FOR MASS APPLICATIONS AS COMPOSTING CREATES GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSION – CO2 AND CH4. ITS USE IS LIMITED TO SPECIAL APPICATIONS

• •

INDUSTRY RECOMMENDS RECYCLING OVER BIODEGRADATION

DISPOSAL
ISSUE:
PLASTICS ARE BLAMED AS THE MAJOR CAUSE OF SOLID WASTE PROBLEM REALITY: • ACCORDING TO INDIAN STUDIES PLASTICS FORM ABOUT 5% OF TOTAL MSW

WHILE ALL SOLID / THICK PLASTICS WASTE ARE SYSTEMATICALLY PICKED UP BY THE WASTE COLLECTORS FOR RECYCLING, DISPOSAL OF THIN PLASTIC CARRY BAGS, SINGLE-USE PLASTIC WASTE AND MULTI-LAYER PACKETS HAVE CREATED SOLID WASTE PROBLEM

SOLUTION TO DISPOSAL PROBLEM
• SEGREGATION AT SOURCE • PROPER SYSTEM FOR COLLECTION OF SEGREGATED WASTES FOR FORWARDING TO RECYCLERS

• INCENTIVES / ENCOURAGEMENT FOR RECYCLING
• UPGRADATION OF THE EXISTING MECHANICAL RECYCLING TECHNOLOGY • ENCOURAGEMENT FOR ALTERNATE METHODS OF RECYCLING / RECOVERY OF ENERGY

WASTE MANAGEMENT

SEGREGATION OF WASTE AT SOURCE

Rag pickers with van

Loading of dry waste in Municipality van

Dry waste being carried for loading into Municipality van Dry waste at housing colonies Municipality van with dry waste on way to segregation area

SEGREGATION OF WASTE AT SOURCE

Segregation of dry waste

Storing of segregation dry waste in secured place

Packing of segregated dry waste

Segregation of dry waste being weighed and sold to recyclers / traders

RECYCLING

Waste fertliser, cement and other bulk packaging bags are recycled in to Newar Patti for making cots and to Box Strapping for use in packaging industry.

RECYCLING

Waste Automobile battery cases are recycled into cheaper luggage and Brief cases for use by common mass.

RECYCLING

Waste PET bottles are converted into Floor Carpets, Fibre filling for pillows, mattresses and other fibre products.

FUEL FROM WASTE PLASTICS
Invention by Indian Scientist

Waste generated out of mixed plastics, co-mingled plastics and plastics materials made out of a combination of different plastic materials are generally difficult for normal recycling and hence creates waste management problem. Success has already been achieved in converting such plastics waste in to industrial fuel in an environmental friendly technology in the country (Nagpur, Chennai). Technologies are available from developed / other countries also. This option has the benefit of using mixture of different types of plastics waste, mixed together, without segregation. Elaborate cleaning / washing is also not required. Encouragement is required for popularizing this technology among the entrepreneurs for its commercial utilization.

ENERGY RECOVERY IN CEMENT KILN

ACC PLANT AT KYMORE, MP

RECOVERY OF CALORIFIC ENERGY FROM PLASTICS
• CALORIFIC VALUES OF DIFFERENT PLASTICS • MJ/Kg – POLYETHYLENE 46 – POLYPROPYLENE 44 – POLYAMIDE 32 – PET 22
– CALORIFIC VALUE OF COAL : 29 MJ/Kg

One of the most effective methods of recycling of plastics waste for recovery of energy is its use as an alternative fuel in cement kilns. The high temperature used in the cement kilns gives a scope for use of even some type of plastics waste contaminated with toxic chemicals like pesticides and some other hazardous materials. No segregation or cleaning is required for such type of disposal. Low-end plastics waste, which creates a waste management problem, may provide the vital energy to the cement industry. There are about 170 cement kilns in the country, in different zones. Even at the rate of 30 MTD of plastics waste, the total requirement of plastics waste by theses cement kilns could be as high as close to 2.0 million tons, much higher than the total plastics waste generation in the MSW stream. Plastics Waste are also used as Reducing Agent in Blast Furnace Successful examples are available for use of waste plastics as a reducing agent in the blast furnace for the manufacture of iron from its ore. Use of coke in the blast furnace provides only one type of reducing agent – Carbon Monoxide. In contrast, use of plastics waste provides one additional type of reducing agent – Hydrogen. The process also reduces generation of ‘ash’. A steel manufacturing facility having production capacity of 3 million tons per anum, can consume 600, 000 Mts of plastics waste.

ADVANTAGES
• ALL TYPES OF MIXED PLASTICS WASTE CAN BE USED TOGETHER – NEEDS NO SEGREGATION • NO MAJOR CLEANING REQUIRED • NO TOXIC EMISSION – OPERATIONAL TEMPERATURE ≈ 2000 ° C

PLASTICS WASTE IN ROAD CONSTRUCTION

Prof. V S Aghase Road – Dadar, Mumbai

Plastics Waste has been successfully used in the construction of asphalt roads. Plastics waste is converted in to powdery form or is shredded in to small pieces and is added with the hot bitumen or hot aggregates, partly substituting bitumen to the tune of 10 – 15 % by weight. This results in better quality of road with higher life at lesser cost and providing a scientific solution to the disposal of low-end plastics waste.

Bidhya Sagar Road- Kalyani- West Bengal

Segregate waste at source. Adopt and popularize the concept of Two – Bin Culture

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