About five tonnes lying unsold at the unit started by a cluster of 40 SHGs

A novel initiative undertaken by a cluster of 40 self-help groups (SHGs) at Naganakulam here to collect waste plastic bags and shred them into tiny pieces for laying plastic roads has suffered a setback with around five tonnes of shredded plastic lying unsold for months.

Now, the SHGs are on the lookout for real estate promoters who can purchase their produce and use it for laying roads inside apartment complexes and residential layouts. They claim that roads laid using plastic waste have longer life than the conventional bitumen roads.

G. Bodhi Lakshmi, secretary of Naganakulam Panchayat-Level Federation (PLF) of the SHGs, said the Naganakulam shredding unit was one among 10 established across the State last year with financial assistance from the government.

The SHG members received training under the Mahalir Thittam and were given Rs.3.75 lakh for establishing the unit — Rs.1.5 lakh was used for purchasing the shredder, and Rs.86,000 for a machine to clean plastic bags before shredding.

As per a business model developed by the SHGs, they procure waste plastic bags for Rs.5 a kg and sell the shredded plastic for Rs.30 a kg

Former Collector Anshul Mishra inaugurated the unit on July 20, 2012. The District Rural Development Agency bought three tonnes of shredded plastic from the SHGs, and 1.5 tonnes were sold by the unit for laying the Kaliyathur-Mangudi Road in Sivaganga district. “But not many were interested in buying our product, which resulted in accumulation of about five tonnes. On the one hand, there is an appeal for recycling plastic waste and on the other hand, there is a lack of support for people like us who are making the best use of waste plastic,” lamented PLF treasurer E. Vanmathi.

Ms.Lakshmi said using shredded plastic for laying roads was a technology developed by R. Vasudevan of Thiagarajar College of Engineering here. It was the best solution for disposing of plastic and people must come forward to support the SHGs involved in the process.