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After Reliance, Indian Oil Builds Road from Single-Use Plastic

The road building, similar to the 40-km stretch that built by Reliance at its Nagathone petrochemical plant in Maharashtra, used shredded single-use plastics or polythene bags used to carry daily use items.


Updated:October 2, 2019, 7:09 PM IST
After Reliance, Indian Oil Builds Road from Single-Use Plastic
A logo of Indian Oil is picture outside a fuel station. (File Photo: Reuters/Adnan Abid)

New Delhi: After Reliance Industries, state-owned Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has built a road using single-use waste plastic as the industry demonstrated recycling opportunities to keep plastic in use whose alternative in paper or metal have much higher energy and water footprint.

IOC laid an 850-meter long road outside its R&D Centre in Faridabad, near here, using "varying concentration (1%-3%) single-use waste plastic" alongside bitumen, a company statement said here.

The road building, similar to the 40-km stretch that built by Reliance at its Nagathone petrochemical plant in Maharashtra, used shredded single-use plastics or polythene bags used to carry daily use items.

"As per the lab tests, the waste plastic roads have the advantages of higher strength, increased durability, lesser rainwater seepage due to plastic in the aggregates, better binding/bonding of mix and lesser stripping with fewer pot-holes," IOC said.

While PET bottles such as once used for the sale of mineral water and soft drinks are completely recyclable, single-use plastic such as polythene bags possed an environmental challenge as they were mostly discarded. PET bottles land up in recycling centres as they fetch Rs 35 per kg in trash or waste market but single-use plastics have no such economic value.

If companies recycling single-use plastic can guarantee Rs 15 per kg, collection of single-use plastic too would become an economically viable model and help eliminate risk they now poss, industry officials said.

"People forget why plastic came into being. Plastic replaced paper and glass which was commonly used for purposes such as milk sale. Paper and glass have a much higher carbon footprint as they not just involve a high degree of energy usage in their manufacturing including cutting of trees, but also require a large water usage when they are washed for reuse," an official said.

In comparison, plastic, if sustainebly collected and recycled, has much lower energy and water footprint, he said.

The 850-meter road outside IOC's R&D Centre in Faridabad used about 16 metric tonnes of waste plastic from single-use carry bags/packaging film waste. "Performance of this road will be monitored by IOC R&D centre in association with CSIR-CRRI, and also fine-tune the concentration of single-use plastic to be added," IOC statement said.

IOC said a special grade of Bitumen, CRMB55, has been designed using 2wt% of waste (single use) plastic material. A first truckload of the product was flagged off by IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh from the company's Panipat refinery.

"Yet another novel initiative introduced on the day were polybags for bitumen filling produced from 100% single-use waste plastic, which solubilize fully in the bitumen at the time of road paving. Bitumen is packed in two-layered specially designed poly-bags - one inner liner bag for filling and another outer (raffia) bag with handle for ease of handling.

"At the user's end, the outer bag is removed and bitumen along with the inner bags can be charged into the bitumen hot mix plant. During the bitumen melting process at the road construction site, the inner bag melts and completely homogenizes with the bitumen, which can be further used in the same way as conventionally packed bitumen," it said.

In order to establish robust supply chain of waste (single use) plastic material for implementing these initiatives on regular basis and to develop a sustainable business model, IOC also released a National Expression of Interest (EoI) on Wednesday for assessing the market availability and willingness of parties/aggregators/ organizations to supply different types of waste plastics in commercial quantities on consistent basis.

Industry officials said in today's modern world, plastics have become an integral part of human life. The plastics are in fact helped make human life easier. The environmental problems arise not because plastics are bad but in absence of effective disposal and recycling mechanism these materials find its way in landfills, they said.

Besides building a road from single-use plastic, Reliance collects PET bottles and recycles them into eco-friendly polyester fibres that can be used for making fabric from T-Shirts to Jeans.

Recycling of PET Bottles is being carried out at Reliance's Barabanki, Hoshiarpur and Nagothane plants, a company official said.

IOC said to mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatama Gandhi and as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the company flagged off 10 LPG delivery vans with banners to promote the use of Repurposed Used Cooking Oil (RUCO) as biofuel.

"Biodiesel is an alternative fuel similar to conventional or fossil diesel. Biodiesel can be produced from vegetable oil, animal oil/fats, tallow and cooking oil. Used Cooking Oil (UCO) can be converted to Fatty Acid Methyl Esters (FAME), which has fuel properties similar to crude based diesel and hence called Biodiesel. Thus UCO is a major source for the production of biodiesel," the statement said adding the potential of Bio-diesel from UCO in India is estimated at 3.5 million tonnes per annum.

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