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We waste too much of waste,” says Sampatth. “In India, 300 grams of waste is generated per capita per day. That comes to about 40 million tonnes per year.
Of this, about 5 per cent is plastic and rubber. Between 1.2 million to 1.5 million of this plastic and rubber goes to landfills or lies scattered on the streets.” Sampatth reckons that from this 1.2 to 1.5 million tonnes of waste, waste management companies can generate about six lakh tonnes of diesel per year, which can be used to run a truck for six crore km.That’s just one of the alluring possibilities in India’s mounting landfills.
Companies are tapping into more waste for business. Sampatth says his company is building a full-fledged plant “about which we will make an announcement in about two weeks in Hyderabad.” He adds, “If you set up 500 such units, it will mean about 500 new entrepreneurs, employing about 500-1,000 engineers between them.”
Organic waste is a much bigger business proposition – it constitutes 35 per cent of all garbage generated in India. Water management, construction waste and debris (30 to 40 per cent) and hazardous waste, including bio-medical waste, too, call for professional management.
“Then there is huge scope for recycling of batteries, tubelights and CFLs, which requires skilled professionals,” says Sampatth. “There is a lot of potential in this field, especially in a developing country,” says Sahu.
A lot of waste management work is being done by private and non-governmental organisations. There has been some move in government set-ups towards professional garbage management. For example, through a public-private partnership, Mysore City Corporation is reportedly planning a unit to convert discarded plastic into crude oil with diesel, kerosene, wax and perfume as by-products.
Ecosense, involved in R&D of solutions using biotechnology, sells products including those that hasten the conversion of biodegradable waste into compost, without producing methane, a greenhouse gas. “With carbon credits, the profitability and viability of these (waste management) projects has turned around.”