Advancing Environment Sustainability in Curbing Plastic Waste through Local Community Engagement

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environmental pete linforthy pixabay plastic waste
environmental pete linforthy pixabay plastic waste

Today 5th June is observed as World Environment Day, and this year 2021 a global campaign will be launched of the UN Decade on Ecosystem restoration. Pollution due to plastic waste is a massive threat to the ecology that the green earth has offered to all lives to survive and flourish. An Innovator & Entrepreneur from Bengaluru, Shashidhar NC of AMS India is working to convert waste to wealth through the recycling plastic wastes at housing societies, educational institutions and hotels.

Take the pandemic situation, during the initial days, we had a shortage of PPE Kits, and thanks to our Government and entrepreneurs, India within no time became one of the leading manufacturers of PPE Kits in the world. Now, what about the waste created by these single-use PPE Kits, masks and other medical supplies we are using against COVID19, which are in millions? A solution is becoming another threat!

Shashidhar NC

Pollution due to plastic waste is a massive threat to the ecology that the green earth has offered to all lives to survive and flourish. The advancement of technology and subsequent rise in the usage of plastic has increased manifold through the last century. Today less than ten per cent of all the plastic generated globally get recycled.

This is exactly the objective Shashidhar NC of Bengaluru based AMS-India is working towards; to develop technologies by which the hazard of plastic can be reduced with simple solutions that people can easily adopt. AMS-India is a technology solutions and services provider in the segments of automation and engineering and has developed various products for both additive and subtractive manufacturing.

In an exclusive discussion with Machine Maker, the Founder Director and CEO of AMS India, Shashidhar NC explained that there is a huge amount of plastic wastes being generated from the community itself. “It includes household wastes from housing societies, and even from educational institutions and hotels. The concept is to identify the normal plastics like the ones from regular use like water bottles, juice packets, shopping bags etc.

These plastics are categorized as PVC, PP, PS PET, LDPE and HDPE, and they account for the maximum amount of plastic wastes generated globally. The categories are easily identified by a simple flame test; the distinct colour of the flame indicates the category.” Once the shredding of the plastic is done, there is another method of identification, that determined by the floating properties of the plastics.

The awareness among people should begin with the identification of the plastic category and subsequently ascertaining the disposal method. Mr Shashidhar says, “So we have created an ecosystem where the community can participate in the recycling of the plastics and reuse them. Today people have to pay to get rid of plastic waste, but with the implementation of the proper methods, people will pay to buy the waste.” The idea is to convert “waste to wealth”.

Simple Innovations for Greater Cause

AMS-India’s innovation to the objective of community participation is plastic recycling has led to the development of small-scale recycling machines. “We developed the machines like shredder, extruder, hand injection moulder and compression moulder; all for the common people’s usage. Designed only for small scale community applications, the machines can be used in residential area, communities or schools”, says Mr Shashidhar. The sheet press that is developed is meant for making plastic tiles. The hand injection moulding machine can be put to unlimited use for making an article.

“With the smaller dies, one can make small components. Even bigger components like a chair, bench etc. can also be made out of these machines. Mr Shashidhar also presented some innovative products like HDPE knife, injected plates and saucers, broom hanger and interlocking bricks, that can be made from the machines. He says that the idea is to create an ecosystem within the community where people gather the plastic wastes and use the machines to convert them to use plastic components and parts.

The cost of the machines, which can be customized are designed to be affordable by the social communities, and the user can process the plastics from his own community. Shashidhar NC also believes many corporates who want to add value to the communities can also buy these machines for their CSR activities.

Given that sixteen kilos of plastic wastes are generated by each person and all of that is going to the dumping groups. Shashidhar NC says, “Bins are to be placed at public places and once the bin gets filled up, the collected data from there will send SMS for a person to collect the waste and place another bin.” A social engineering project can be devised, empowering the economically weaker sections and get the local women involved in such projects.  If such ten communities can be developed, the rage pickers collecting plastics can put their collection in the machines and by doing so new components can be made. The corporates should come forward to support such projects as part of CSR for a plastic pollution-free environment.

AMS India’s innovation in 3D printing technology, the additive manufacturing process can bring a sustainable solution to recycle the plastic waste threat. “AMS-India 3D Printing Machine that we have developed has got a very high level of flexibility. The machine has the elements of both additive and subtractive manufacturing features. The product has been purely designed for industrial Research & Development purpose”, adds Sasidhar NC. Recycled plastics can be used as the raw material for additive manufacturing, the community can supply it to companies involved in additive manufacturing.

Mr Shashidhar says, “The objective is to propagate the idea and putting it across the people.” Today sustainability is a big issue with the manufacturing segments. But a lot of things remain on papers because it is very difficult to implement.  Recently AMS India entered an MoU with the Department of Technical Education and Training, Odisha where they set up a lab in Government ITI Cuttack, and students are given hands-on training on the entire plastic waste to the wealth process system.

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