Recycling rate of plastic in India is higher than the global average
Recycling of (MSW) is now recognised as the ‘most environmentally sound’ strategy for
dealing with MSW following only the preventive strategy of source reduction and reuse.
In India, since there is little in the way of government recycling initiatives, recycling
and recovery is usually conducted by the ‘informal’ sector, which rag pickers place at all
levels and at every stage of the waste management stream, and this practice strongly
influences the flow of the waste stream, compared with developed countries, there are
some districts different in collection of recyclables.
The Central Pollution Control Board estimated in 2013 that about 8 to 9 per cent of the total municipal solid waste in India is plastic waste, of which about 60 per cent is recycled, most of it in the informal sector. A study by National Chemical Laboratory, Pune (2017) estimates that PET recycling in India at 90 per cent is much higher than 72 per cent in Japan, 48 per cent in Europe and 31 per cent in the US. While the recycling rate of plastic in India is considerably higher than the global average of around 15 per cent, there still remains a significant amount of plastic waste rendered unrecyclable mostly due to mixing of different streams of waste, which is either landfilled or ends up clogging drains/sewers or polluting groundwater resources.