The term "biodegradable" has been used over the past few years, to describe plastics or packaging that could potentially be metabolized by microorganisms in nature, with complete breakdown to CO2/Methane, water and biomass. However, there is significant confusion and controversy surrounding biodegradable plastics since many suppliers have used the term to loosely describe their material/packaging without specifying the conditions under which the material would degrade in nature. For instance, some plastics (like PLA) will only degrade under industrial composting conditions, while some others (like PHA) can break down under a wider range of conditions and environments (industrial, backyard, marine). Given this widespread confusion and the misuse of the "biodegradable" term, many global government and industry organizations have issued guidelines to restrict or eliminate the unqualified use of biodegradable as a descriptor of plastics or packaging. These include the European Commission guidelines (European Plastics Strategy) and the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides in the US.
In line with such guidelines, Ubuntoo's recommends that companies providing biodegradable materials, products or packaging:
1.Avoid unqualified use of the term "biodegradable" to describe their products
2.Any claim of biodegradability should be accompanied by a description of specific conditions and environments under which the material or product will undergo degradation in nature
3.It is strongly recommended that companies provide globally accepted certifications or testing for various biodegradability claims (such as the BPA certification for industrial composting)
Further in line with the position articulated by the European Commission as well as major CPG companies, Ubuntoo recommends that "biodegradable" plastics should not be considered a solution for littering (or worse a license to litter). Appropriate collection and end-of-life solutions (such as industrial composting or home composting) need to be put into place to avoid biodegradable plastics ending up as litter in the environment.
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Rudra Environmental Solution (India) Ltd have been successful in finding a way of getting rid of non-degradable polymer waste by Gasolysis process and generating poly fuel from the plastic waste.
The founders have identified that although plastic has various advantages it also has many drawbacks. Most plastic is non-degradable/non-perishable. They were appalled by the amount of pollution that plastic bags and bottles have in our rivers and oceans and the negative effects on animal life.
Since inception, the company has been involved in research of converting waste plastic into fuel technology through a Thermo Catalytic Depolymerisation Process (TCD). The first pilot plant was established in March 2010, second-generation plant in 2013 and now its patented third generation plant is running successfully in the company's own factory situated in Jejuri M.I.D.C. area.
They invented a conversion technology that consists of a machine that effectively reverses the plastic production process; where the Thermo Catalytic Depolymerization (TCD) process cracks the long chains of polymer to produce usable fuel. Prior to this, the plastic waste; is cleaned and shredded into small pieces, to remove contaminants like paper, oil, grease and food particles. This is important as it increases the efficiency of the machine and subsequently quality of the fuel. During the primary phases, depending on the availability the natural gas/ LPG or the diesel is used. During the process, the heat output is also monitored to maximize the consistency of the fuel. It is a batch type process, which takes between 3 to 7 hours to complete depending on the capacity of the machine.
The Thermo Catalytic Depolymerization (TCD) process performs within a heated sealed reactor. The reactor is loaded with the shredded plastic and is heated and the catalyst helps in cracking the long chains of polymers in the absence of oxygen to produce hydrocarbon vapors. The plastic depolymerized at 380 –430 degrees Celsius, and the gases are condensed. The condensed vapor produces the fuel and synthetic gases, out of which the syngas is used as an energy source for further heating of the reactor. This synthetic gas, which is a byproduct is passed through scrubber and cleaned prior to being used a heating source; helping improve the efficiency of the process. The fuel passes through the filtration system before it’s collected. The non-plastic material and non-depolymerized plastic settles at the bottom of reactor, collected after the shift or during weekly maintenance
Rudra has also partnered with Keshav Sita Memorial Foundation Trust for creating awareness of segregation at the source as well as pick up of waste plastic from various areas of Pune for the last two and a half years. At present, the collection happens from almost 15000 households, hotels and businesses. They claim to collect more than 15 to 17 MT of plastic every month. They have collected more than 250 MT of waste plastic, and thus claiming to have reduced a total of 15, 00,000 kg of carbon dioxide emission.
The company is ISO 9001-2008 certified and to date, Rudra Environmental Solutions has received many awards including the following: Economics Times-Polymers awards 2017 Excellence in Recycling, NK Orchid college of Engineering & Tech Solapur 2017 –Best Innovation Industry Mksss’s Smt Hiraben Nanavati Institute of Management Pune & Rotary Club of Gandhibhavan -Most Promising Company of year 2016.
Cost accountant by education, Shirish has been a passionate wild life photographer. Since college days, he has been sportsmand, avid trekker and this love of photography has let to the foundation of “Rudra Environmental Solutions (India) Ltd, company working in waste management with emphasis on waste plastic to fuel technology. Fondly called as “Vision Engineer” by his teammates, Shirish has steered the company with focus on quality and everimproving service, where the research continues every day in perfecting the efficiency of the waste plastic to fuel technology. Company has two running plants.
Dr Medha Tadpatrikar
Dr Medha Tadpatrikar, a serial entrepreneur is a Director of Mantraa Research & Consultants Pvt Ltd, Phoenix General Insurance Brokers Pvt Ltd and Rudra Environmental Solutions (India) Ltd. Environmentally conscious from early age Medha found herself working on waste plastic after witnessing the death of deer in wild life sanctuary. The passion and determination to find a solution on waste plastic resulted in Medha and her business partner Shirish Phadtare in to building a first pilot machine in 2010, which successfully converted waste plastic in to usable fuel. The company runs two plants in and around Pune.