Leaders within India’s plastics industry are looking into ways of improving the country’s recycling system and infrastructure. Though the government passed solid waste management rules in 2000, there has been general agreement among leaders that a better system for separating wet and dry waste, revised rules for packaging products and processing waste, and improving energy efficiency to recycle waste is necessary. By Satnam Singh | PLASTICS NEWS CORRESPONDENT

MUMBAI, INDIA (April 11, 1:15 p.m. ET) – Leaders of India’s plastics industry say the country needs to work on improving waste management and recycling policies for plastics.

Speaking at the Plast Avenues Summit in Mumbai, leaders said plastics have suffered from being identified with pollution and litter rather than on being useful products.

“Solid waste management rules were passed in 2000, therefore, there is a proper policy framework in place,” said Vijay Merchant, vice president of the Indian Plastics Institute. “But implementation and enforcement is not here, as it is in the West or in countries like Germany, Dubai or Singapore.”

“Moreover, the country has to further improve the waste management infrastructure like proper segregation of waste into dry and wet as done in the West to extract maximum out of the waste and find greater applications,” he said at the March 18 conference.

Merchant said India needs comprehensive rules for packaging and waste.

India’s plastics recycling sector accounts for about $2 billion in annual revenue, employs more than 3 million people and handles between 2.5 million and 3 million metric tons of material annually. But Merchant said the sector needs to modernize.

“The Indian plastic recycling industry has to improve the energy efficiency levels,” he said. “There are in between 20,000 to 30,000 extruders in the recycling industry consuming high power.

Small recyclers also tend to discharge effluent into drains and small rivers, pointing to a need for larger plants, or clusters of plants, with improved technology.

The PlastIndia Foundation is working on a project that may help with those problems. The group hopes to set up model plastics recycling plants that can demonstrate the economic and technological viability of the sector.

PlastIndia has approached Ministry of Petrochemicals for land, said Ashok Goel, president of the foundation. The group wants to set up model plants in more than one city.

“Initially, we are planning to set up such plants in four or five metropolitan cities in the National Capital Region,” Goel said.