Replication of Integrated Resource Recovery Center in Small Cities
May 5, 2016
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The urban world is facing an immense environmental crisis of waste management, with plastic waste on top because of its multifaceted implications for the environment, water, life, oceans etc. The production of plastics (meaning pliable and easily shaped) started at the beginning of the 20th century with the discovery of polymers. These polymers were initially produced from natural sources like cellulose but now their main sources are fossil fuels rich in carbon compounds. . Now every second item around us is made of plastic, from personal use items like razors, cell phones to automobile parts, PET food containers, consumer electronics so on and so forth. Among other uses of plastic, PET bottles and shopping bags are the most extensively used items and a major source of single-use plastic pollution. According to our study 25% of the total solid wastes will recyclable waste out of which 50% will be plastic waste.

According to the United Nations Environment Program,

  • Every year the world uses 500 billionplastic bags,
  • Yearly, at least eight million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute.
  • In the last decade, we produced more plastic than in the whole last century.
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable.
  • We buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute.
  • Plastic makes up 10% of all of the waste we generate.
  • Only 14% of total plastic used the world over is brought back for recycling, rest is disposed of into oceans and soil.


  • In Pakistan, each year, 30 million tons of solid waste is produced, out of which 4 million tons are plastic.
  • 6 million ton is miss manage
  • 3 becomes process and recycled.
  • About 15% of plastic waste is increasing annually.
  • 55 billion plastic bags a year are produced.

These single-use non-biodegradable bags mostly find their way to open garbage dumps, landfill sites or municipal sewers, thus making sewage disposal systems less efficient by choking, thus adding to the costs of utility operations. Current urban waste management practices are partners to this crisis, since they only focus on picking waste from communal bins and disposing of it in urban fringes without segregation, material recovery or recycling, and also by not making communities act responsibly. They are spending as much as Rs. 3000-6000 per ton without any business model to recover costs.

To tackle this looming issue, we need to think globally and act locally. Considering a two-pronged strategy, we need to follow a holistic way forward to deal with this until science finds a sustainable way to replace conventional plastics. These solutions may include

  • Dovetailing global scientific research in plastic modifications to local solution regimes to benefit the local industry to improve production standards and processes to produce sustainable and biodegradable plastics.
  • Urban councils should reach out to communities sensitize them on the issue.
  • Encourage the use of reusable and washable long life metallic and glass utensils at the household level as much as possible.
  • Help assist urban waste management institutions establish material segregation and recovery facilities to enhance plastic recycling to reduce disposable volumes.
  • Enforce already existing regulations to curb the use of plastic bags and open burning. A recent example worth-following is KP’s ban on single-use shopping bags.
  • Consumer industry must be made to practice a take-back policy, especially for PET bottles and containers.
  • Local urban councils must ensure that plastic waste is not be directly disposed to a landfill site.

 Plastic companies and their products

Table 01: Companies dealing with Plastic waste in Pakistan

Sr. No Company name Material accept Products
1 Al-Quraish Group of Industries PET Flakes
2 Combine Holding Pvt. Ltd. Waste Plastic Granule, Pallets
3 Evergreen Plastic Industries (Pvt) Ltd PP, PS, HDPE, LDPE, LLDPE, HIPS Granule, Pallets, Flakes
4 International Industrial Services HDPE, LDPE, HIPS, ABS, PP Granule, Pallets, Flakes
5 Maqson Synthetics PET, LDPE, PP Granule, Pallets, Flakes
6 Marhaba Plastic PET Flakes
7 Modern Plastic Industries PET, PP, PA, PS, PVC, LDPE, LLDPE Granule, Pallets

 Plastic waste and its recycling Survey in Rawalpindi and Islamabad 

Plastic Waste analysis is being carried out in different areas of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to know about the existing situation and what further actions are required to handle this problem.

For this purpose a questioner based survey were conduct for different peoples involve in producing, collection and recycling of plastic. Questioners were made for scavenger, junkman, processing unit and environmental expert.



Following Methodology is adopted for this analysis.

Figure 3: Flowchart Showing Methodology

Following major steps were taken for proper plastic waste analysis.

  1. Survey forms

Questionnaires were developed and used as tool of surveying. These were made for different groups of people dealing with plastic waste. Groups include scavengers/waste collector, Plastic processing unit junkman (Kabari) and environmental experts. These checklists are attached in Annex.

  1. Selection of area

Surveyors were asked to select their desired area for data collection within the vicinity of Rawalpindi.

  1. Data collection

For collection of data all surveyors were directed to different junkman, scavengers, and plastic processing plants.

  1. Data analysis

After the collection of data it is being analyzed to carry out Gap Analysis.


Gap analysis can be termed as the loopholes between the current practices and what further action are required to make the situation better. In this report Gap analysis to handle plastic waste is carried out which is explained below.


From this study it is concluded that

  • Daily 401 kg waste is generating
  • Scavengers are only collect 55 kg plastic waste daily
  • In total waste (401kg) only 130 kg is plastic waste coming to junkman
  • Plastic waste processing units are processing 1500 kg plastic waste daily

Form the above analysis it is concluded that

  • More plastic waste is processing in plastic waste processing units as compare to plastic waste generated in Rawalpindi and Islamabad
  • Scavengers are collecting less amount of plastic waste and compared to generation of plastic waste
  • From where the plastic waste is coming as the generation is lower than the processing of plastic waste?
  • The current practice of dealing with plastic waste.
  • Scavengers and waste pickers visit the dumping sites and collect waste of their concern including plastic waste.

Harmful Impacts of Processing

During processing hazardous pollutants enter into environment. These pollutants not only have severe implications on environment, but they effect people living nearby. Hence, there is a need to improve existing process by applying engineering controls.

Figure 4: Current Practices and future demands


Figure 2: Health effects of Plastic

Several studies have found causal links between plastic and problems across most of the human body’s systems: for instance cardiovascular, respiratory, reproductive, and gastrointestinal systems. Therefore, the health impacts are overwhelmingly numerous. Cancer, diabetes, chronic inflammation, and various immune diseases are just a few examples of severe issues potentially caused by plastic and its toxic components.

  • Heavy substances released in the extraction and waste incarceration processes have been strongly linked to problems in more vulnerable populations, such as children and pregnant women. Drilling and mining operations produce chemicals which are known endocrine disruptors, which have hugely adverse effects on the developmental, immune, neurological, and reproductive systems. For pregnant women, such impacts on a developing fetus have been shown to increase the likelihood of birth defects of the brain, heart, and/or spine.
  • This study highlights that “uncertainties and knowledge gaps undermine the full evaluation of both acute and long-term health risks at all stages of the plastic lifecycle”. What is presented by these institutions – and by others of their kind – is an urgent need to perform further research on the potential health risks of plastic pollution, whilst drastically limiting its production and usage in the meantime.
  • Another important step in the process is educating the public on these issues, so that they may make fully informed lifestyle decisions going forward, and limit their exposure to these pervasive, harmful substances.


Followings are the types of plastics which can be recycled:

  • PET/PETE products can be recycled.
  • HDPE (High density polyethylene) HDPE plastics are also extremely common.
  • PVC (Polyvinyl chloride) PVC is a soft, flexible plastic, so it’s used for a huge array of household products.
  • LDPE (Low density polyethylene)
  • PP (Polypropylene)
  • PS (Polystyrene)

Details of how this study is carried out and methodology adopted are discussed below.



Plastic bags are used worldwide which have immense effect on  environment, these plastic bags cannot be stopped however can be replaced with less hazardous materials. For this purpose 4 R principle which is reduce, reuse, recycle and recover can be implemented here in Pakistan which will not only reduce the environmental impact but will also create more jobs.

The plastic bags are not only cost effective, but are also a source of growth of economy of the country.

For this purpose following practices needs to be implemented:

  • Environmental management system (EMS) should be implemented in the plastic industries.
  • An awareness campaign about the separation of recyclable plastic from other waste should be there by higher authorities.
  • There should be promotion of 4R (reduce, reuse, recycle, recover).