Friday, May 13, 2022

Steel can provide a long term sustainable solution for plastic waste: RCP Singh

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New Delhi: The Union Minister of Steel Ram Chandra Prasad Singh convened a meeting of all the officials of the Ministry of Steel to deliberate on the findings of report titled “Plastic Waste utilization in Iron and Steel Industry” submitted by the Steel Research and Technology Mission of India (SRTMI). A detailed presentation was made. The RCP Singh observed that iron and steel industry can go in a big way for utilizing plastic waste in various processes like coke making, Blast Furnace Iron-making, Electric Arc Furnace steel making and truly, realizing the vision of Prime Minister of converting waste into wealth. As most of the plastic wastes are a source of carbon & hydrogen besides high energy in comparison to coal utilized by the industry and free from ash, alkaline matters etc. use of plastic waste will help the industry in multiple ways like reducing dependency on imported coal, minimizing GHG emissions, improving efficiencies etc besides addressing the large national issue of efficient & safe disposal of plastic waste.

The Minister of State for Steel and Rural Development Faggan Singh Kulaste was also present on this occasion.

All types of plastics including single use plastic can find application in iron and steel industry.  Several countries across the globe like Japan, Europe etc are using such plastics in steel-making for quite some times.

The use of plastic by the steel industry shall address the major environmental and social issue of generation of carcinogenic gases like Dioxin and Furans, normally encountered in systems like Incineration, energy generation, as high temperature is maintained in steel making and some of the processes are pyrolysis processes. It is expected that 1 Kg of plastic use shall replace around 1.3 Kg of coal and iron and steel industry has the potential to consume around 2-3 million tonnes of plastic waste every year based on the present capacity and more than  8 million tonnes by 2030-31. Thus, iron and steel industry can be the major user of plastic waste. Steel Minister directed for taking up the matter with the Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change so that Steel Sector also can be included as an end-user under Plastic waste Management Rules 2016 and holding a national conference to further deliberate and promote the same.

Today’s India’s per capita consumption of plastic is around 13.6 Kg against the world average of around 30 Kg. India is consuming around 18 million tonnes of plastic every year. This is much lower in comparison to advanced countries like USA, UK, Germany where per capita consumption is much higher and varies between 80-140 Kg. Thus, it is expected that in India also, per capita consumption shall increase in future and Iron and Steel industry will be the best end-user of plastic waste in time to come in the most environmentally friendly manner.

Plastic waste utilization is one of the largest issues facing our world today. It has become one of the most important environmental and ethical issues. Single-use plastics such as food wrappers, plastic bags and beverage bottles are filling the landfills, rivers with increasing speed, and they simply cannot be broken down fast enough. Thus, Iron and Steel industry can be the savior and shall promote resource efficiency.

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