President and CEO of the Norwegian TOMRA Collection Solutions, Stefan Ranstrand, who is in the city, stressed the importance of recycling plastic waste to protect the environment.
As of now, only 2% of the plastic in use is coming from recycled system, and 98% from its original source, that is crude oil, he said, while sharing details about his visit to Mumbai and Hyderabad on Friday.
Of the 78 million tonnes of plastic created every year, 32% ends up in nature, subsequently to be deposited in oceans along with the river flows. “It is so bad that by 2050, we will have equal amounts of plastic as we have fish in the oceans. It’s a real problem,” Mr. Ranstrand said, stressing the need to create a circular economy to address the challenges posed by resource-intensive modern living.
TOMRA has been offering collection and sorting solutions in about 80 countries across the world, and has installed more than 80,000 reverse vending machines in 40 markets so far, mostly European.
Currently, TOMRA recovers over 35 billion empty drinking cans and bottles per year. Its Material Recovery business includes the pick-up, transportation, and processing of used beverage containers, as well as the subsequent brokerage of the processed material to recyclers. Currently, TOMRA Material Recovery processes over 3,40,000 metric tons of beverage containers annually, ensuring highest possible material values to the recycled products.
For India, however, Mr. Ranstrand advises the deposit return system which Norway had adopted 45 years ago. Governments may begin by effecting policy changes so that small deposits are collected for as ordinary plastic materials as milk sachets, which may be returned once the sachets are deposited back.
He is also looking at how ragpickers can be introduced into organised collection and trade of plastics, to improve their earnings. He met GHMC commissioner B. Janardhan Reddy on Friday and discussed these options.