IIM-K Plastic Recycling Solution Bags Wipro Earthian Award 2015

Kochi: The Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode (IIMK) has won the prestigious, Wipro Earthian Award 2015, for designing a de-centralised plastic waste management solution for the city of Kozhikode. The project was mentored by Dr. R. Radhakrishna Pillai, faculty, IIMK.

A winner in the Urban Waste Management category, this is for the third year in a row that the premier management institute has won the Award. The students of IIMK had presented a unique and ingenious, plastic waste management model, designed to benefit the town of Kozhikode.  This acquires importance when viewed against a Planning Commission report that says, the generation of solid waste in Kerala is estimated to grow at 1.8 per cent annually. Going by this trend, urban solid waste in Kerala will be 24 million tonnes by 2017. IIMK’s efficient yet cost-effective waste management model will help to reduce pollution, benefit the environment and generate revenue.

The three-step model includes, segregation of plastic waste at source with the help of resident associations; formation of Self Help Groups (SHGs) of local waste collectors and transportation of waste to the recycling plant, and finally, recycling the reclaimed materials, in either flake or pelletized form as feedstock in the manufacture of new products.

For investment, the students have proposed a public-private-partnership model to meet costs for setting up the recycling plant. The mandatory 2 per cent CSR investment specified in the Companies Act 2013 could be one of the sources for this investment. A conservative financial estimate for the city of Kozhikode indicated that three processing plants, each of 2.5 tons capacity will be sufficient to recycle the plastic waste generated in Kozhikode city till the year 2021. With a total initial investment of Rs 1 crore, the plants are expected to break even in less than 10 years.

The model takes care of the environment by minimizing the negative impact of household plastic waste and by closing the waste management cycle loop. It also suggests revenue generation from the sale of recycled plastic products.

It aims at empowerment of women, marginalized groups and the differently-abled by employing them in the segregation and recycling process. It offers a triple bottom sustainability solution that can be achieved through the proposed solution.