Workshop on Recyclability and Reusability of Polymeric Materials for Fuel Packaging
A Workshop on Recyclability and Reusability of Polymeric Materials for Fuel Packaging was held at the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), Nagpur on 24th Feb. 2006. This workshop was jointly organized by Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. and ENVIS Centre on Hazardous Wastes, NEERI, Nagpur.
While delivering the welcome address at the inaugural function of the workshop, Dr. S. Devotta, Director, NEERI desired that the experts participating in the workshop should focus their attention on the title of the workshop and come out with some concrete recommendations pertaining to marketing of superior kerosene oil (SKO) in pouches and other types of packages.
Shri B.S. Rawat, GM ( C ), Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. (IOCL), welcomed the gathering on behalf of the IOCL and stated that the IOCL is committed to serve the nation with best of the public distribution system, with strong environmental conscience. The development of packages for marketing fuels in Indian market is one such attempt in this direction. Shri S K Diwan, GM (RS), made a presentation on the challenges and opportunities of marketing SKO pouches.
Later, a detailed technical presentation was made on the development of SKO pouches and other fuel containers. This presentation covered the world scenario on fuel packaging, various standards and regulations in practice in various parts of the world, IOCL test protocol followed for pouch development & testing and test results on permeability of various finalized materials for containers and pouches. The proposed guidelines for handling, storage, transportation and disposal of pouches were also covered, which elicited lot of discussions and deliberations.
All experts gave their opinions about the suitability of marketing SKO in pouch packaging for the Indian market, subsequent disposal and reusability. IOCL’s efforts in developing a suitable pouch material for SKO packaging with respect to permeability and pouch strength was highly appreciated.
The experts presented their opinions individually as indicated below:
Dr. Sukumar Devotta, Director, NEERI, Nagpur initiated the discussion by setting the agenda for the day’s proceedings and sought opinion of the expert panel regarding recyclability and reusability of used SKO pouches. Citing Schedule-1 of Hazardous Plastic Waste, he emphasized on a need to look into the definition of Containers mentioned in Schedule-1.
Dr. Tapan Chakrabarti, Director Grade Scientist, NEERI suggested that IOCL should interact with the Ministry of Environment and Forests to explore possibility of delisting ‘pouch’ from the list of hazardous waste as mentioned in Schedule 1. He also suggested that trial marketing should be carried out in such locations / states, where TSDF (Transport, Storage & Disposal Facilities) are available. The States suggested were: Gujarat (11 locations), Maharashtra (2 locations) and Andhra Pradesh (1 location).
Dr. S.K. Verma, Director General, Central Institute for Plastic Engineering & Technology (CIPET) mentioned that recycling of SKO pouches would be a difficult task and hence these should be disposed of. Incineration for generation of electricity would be a very good option for disposal. He suggested that IOCL should explore the possibility of packaging SKO in bottles to ease handling, pouring and storage. He also suggested that IOCL may consider joint projects with CIPET for developing ideal packaging materials for fuels and any other applications.
Shri Rajiv Dhar, Director, Indian Institute of Packaging, Mumbai suggested that IOCL should look into the laws and regulations pertaining to Consumer Affairs while marketing SKO pouches. He said that IOCL should study consumers during trial marketing of SKO pouches and assess the customer behaviour and acceptability, and assess the business sense of marketing pouches. He also suggested that pouches should be disposed of with the help of incineration for electricity generation. Shri Dhar also opined that IOCL should go for bottles, where incremental costs will be offset by manifold increase in the convenience of usage of the package and reusability / recyclability.
Shri T. Bandyopadhyay, Technical Manager, Indian Centre for Plastics & Environment mentioned that multi-layer pouches can not be reused and recycled in the conventional mode of extrusion and will require special compression moulding techniques available only at 4 – 5 locations in India. He further suggested that IOCL should look into the option of buying back used SKO pouches through its retail network and utilize them for recycling through compression moulding machines. He cited the example of Reliance, which is the largest purchaser of used PET bottles and buys back about 20,000 TPA of used PET bottles for recycling. He also mentioned that multi-layered SKO pouches can be utilized for production of industrial fuel. He dispelled the contention of SKO pouches adding to the vagaries of the environment.