Innovations and understanding chemical components of waste will boost its reuse: Experts - Hindustan Times

Innovations and understanding chemical components of waste will boost its reuse: Experts

Jun 09, 2024 06:56 PM IST

Innovations and understanding chemical components of waste will boost its reuse: Experts

Bengaluru, More innovations and understanding the chemistry of waste material will help find ways to reuse solid waste, experts suggested during a panel discussion organised at Bengaluru International Centre on June 9. One of the panelists, Myriam Shankar, co-founder of The Anonymous Indian Charitable Trust formed to address the critical issue of solid waste management, pointed out that in India 45% of dry waste cannot be recycled. “It is mainly because the waste is not segregated at source. This also increases the cost of recycling,” added Shankar. Shubhi Sachan, a multidisciplinary designer who specialises in textile waste, proposing alternative uses rather than traditional waste disposal methods, discussed the challenges in waste processing. According to her, homogeneity is the biggest hurdle when it comes to using waste as a resource. “For instance, we cannot insist on mono material because we may not get, say, 2 million tonnes of milk packets when we need it. Often we are forced to use different packets resulting in differences in the recycled yarn or textile,” said Sachan. She also said economically it will not be viable to scale waste reuse projects as long as waste management is not recognised as a separate industry. “At present, we have to deal with taxation three times. When we buy waste, we are taxed. When we process the waste and sell it, we are taxed. And when we innovate end uses, again we are taxed. There is also no visibility for the industry players. We do not know how much waste contributes towards our GDP, for instance,” said Sachan. Pune-based Jesh Krishna Murthy, founder of Advanced Nature, which transforms toxic materials into sustainable solutions, specialising in cement-free concrete and waste-based products like tiles and furniture to combat the climate crisis, talked about the need to merge science and art as well as the need for experimentations in form and function of recycled waste. Sachan added that many times interventions to convert waste into resources fall flat because of the knowledge gap. “I remember a time when someone presented a pair of slippers made of cow dung, stating that skin contact with cow dung was supposedly beneficial to a person. But the slipper was coated with varnish, defeating the entire purpose,” said Sachan. At the end of the day, the sustainable solutions put forth by a handful of people are not enough to make sustainable living for all a viable concept, Shankar said, adding that to gain momentum, political will is needed. “For instance, when we take segregation of waste at source, the law mandates that every household must do it, failing which one could be punished. But no one is punished because they are the vote bank. This must change,” Shankar added. The panel discussion was moderated by Jenny Pinto of Oorjaa, Bengaluru’s first handmade paper studio that was led by the idea of combining waste and natural fibre. The event is part of Oorjaa’s 'The Curious Crow' series.

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