Agartala: Every day from waking up in the morning to going back to sleep at night, we use plastic for various purposes and most of them are single-use plastic.

The Agartala Municipal Corporation area produces an average of 19 tons of plastic waste every day. Most of these are single-use plastic. The sea is the final destination for most of the plastics produced in the world. However, plastic is found to be present in all places like hills, rivers, canals, beels.

Engineers at the Agartala Center of the Central Institute of Petrochemical Engineering and Technology (CIPET), Government of India, have come up with an innovative method of recycling discarded single-use plastics.

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P Vijay Kumar, Manager at the Agartala Center of the Central Institute of Petrochemical Engineering and Technology, told EastMojo that the material was made by mixing discarded bamboo parts and discarded plastic. If the remaining discarded bamboo could be utilized, the state would prosper financially, he said.

Gopal Chhetri, an engineer from the organization, informed EastMojo that its the discarded plastic waste that is first collected from different places.

“We use crusher machines to first turn plastic to powder, and then the same process is used to turn discarded and useless bamboo parts, collected from waste, and turn into powder,” Chhetri explained.

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The powder made out of waste and discarded plastic and bamboo is then mixed in requisite proportions and turned into a composite pulp. The pulp is then moulded with the help of a machine to take the shape of plates and bowls.

“The durability of the material made with this new composite material is much higher than that of plastic. It will also be possible to make tiles and other sturdy daily use things with it,” Chhetri added.

Should any company be interested in the material that promises to reduce and replace single-use plastics, the Institute would be happy to transfer the technology for commercial production on the basis of an agreement with them.

“The material handles waste plastic and bamboo and is as flexible and durable as plastic, if not more. The material will be good to make of household products,” Chhetri said.

Samir Jamatia of Tripura Bamboo Mission and a lifelong member of the Bamboo Society of India has been associated with this project for long. He is, in fact, credited with coming up with the idea of mixing bamboo and plastic.

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He said that many bamboo-based industries have developed in the state of Tripura at present. Notable among these are the factory for making incense sticks, the factory for making tiles with bamboo, etc.

“The present government has also adopted an industry-oriented policy, and more and more new industries are coming up in the state. The largest are those producing incense sticks. The incense burner is cut into pieces of a certain length, so about 90 per cent of the bamboo is lost. For the time being, it is of no use except to burn them. When burned, a lot of carbon is emitted, which is extremely harmful to the environment,” Jamatia said.

The present government of Tripura is also working to prevent plastic pollution. So this year a road has been built in Agartala by mixing waste plastic with bitumen. The Tripura government will play a major role in reducing plastic pollution if it starts making products by mixing plastic and bamboo.

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