“ CSIR-NCL and RIL join hands to make useful products from COVID-19 PPE waste”.

CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (CSIR-NCL), Pune jointly with Reliance Industries Ltd.
(RIL) and several other companies from Pune have achieved a breakthrough to manufacture useful
moulded plastic components from COVID-19 PPE waste. The undertaken pilot project has the
potential to scale up and replicate throughout the country to convert PPE waste into useful and
safe products.
A substantial increase in demand for single use plastic items such as Personal Protective
Equipment (PPE), masks, gloves, etc. has been observed since the outbreak of COVID-19
pandemic. Across India, more than 200 tons of COVID-19 related waste was generated every day
in May 2021. So far, this hazardous PPE waste is incinerated at central waste management
(BMWM) facilities. Incineration is energy-intensive and leads to the release of harmful greenhouse
CSIR-NCL, RIL and other companies embarked on a mission to develop an end-to-end process
for effective recycling of COVID-19 plastic waste to produce value-added plastic products
ensuring decontamination of COVID-19 plastic waste, focusing on the conversion of the plastic
waste suitable for downstream processing and identification of potential stakeholders / markets for
creating value for entire supply-chain.

In a proof-of-concept study, CSIR-NCL team successfully demonstrated the lab-scale manufacture
of moulded automotive products from the decontaminated PPE plastic waste (at M/s Niky
Precision Engineers, Pune) by leveraging the existing recycling infrastructure available in Indian
CSIR-NCL and RIL have now signed an MoU to scale up the production to pilot-scale, laying a
path to take the concept to the national level. A pilot scale of 100 Kg in the Pune city area was
successfully implemented by collaborating with Pune-based companies, viz. M/s APPL Industries
Limited, M/s SKYi Composites, M/s Harsh Deep Agro Products, M/s Urmila Polymers, M/s Jai
Hind Autotech Pvt. Ltd., who produced value-added products. The feed material (PPE kits) was
collected and decontaminated by Passco Environmental Solutions, a waste management company
located in Pune. CSIR-NCL secured all regulatory approvals needed from Maharashtra Pollution
Control Board (MPCB) to complete this pilot trial.
The technical journey of CSIR-NCL, aided by Reliance and CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum
(CSIR-IIP) Dehradun, with funding from the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, mainly
involved converting the decontaminated PPE waste (mainly comprising PPE suits/overalls) into
an easily processable and upcycled agglomerated form (pellets or granules). It was ensured that

the polymer pellets show the right attributes necessary for successful conversion to produce non-
food applications, including high-performance automotive components.

This pilot project can be implemented across India to build a sustainable circular “green” economy
that can propel India’s growth in this relatively untapped sector and contribute towards India’s
socio-environmental targets.

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