India recycles about half of the plastic waste generated across the country

India has recycled around half of the plastic waste generated across the country in the 2019-20 financial year, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, Minister of State at the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, said on Tuesday. .

While referring to the annual report released by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) for the financial year 2019-2020, the Minister said that India generated 3.47 million tons of plastic waste in that year. Of these 1.58 million tons of plastic waste were recycled and 0.17 million tons were co-processed, which means that the cumulative recycled share represents more than 50% of the total volume of plastic waste generated during the 2019-2020 fiscal year. There are 1419 registered plastic waste recycling units across India as of fiscal year 2019-20.


Plastic Recycling Activity in India in FY 2019-20



Plastic waste generated (million tons)


Plastic waste recycled (million tons)


Plastic waste co-processed (millions of tonnes)


Number of registered plastic waste processors (Unit)


Source: Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MOEF&CC)

The Minister further stated that between 40 and 96% of the plastic waste littering the beaches is collected for recycling. It should be mentioned here that the central government program – Establishment of Hazardous Substances Management Structures, provides financial support for innovative technologies for environmentally sound management of chemicals and wastes.

To control the threat of plastic waste, the Indian government has implemented a nationwide ban from July 1, 2022 on the manufacture, import, storage, distribution, sale and use of identified single-use plastic items that have little utility. and high litter potential. The list of prohibited plastic items includes headphones with plastic sticks, plastic balloon sticks, plastic flags, candy sticks, ice cream sticks, polystyrene (thermocol) for decoration, plastic plates plastic, cups, glasses, cutlery such as forks, spoons, knives. , straw, trays, wrapping or wrap around candy boxes, invitation cards, cigarette packs, plastic or PVC banners under 100 microns, stirrers. Additionally, the thickness of the plastic carrier bags has also been increased from 50 microns to 75 microns which will be further increased to 120 microns from December 31, 2022.

Besides India, other countries have also banned single-use plastic items to control irresponsible waste of used items. For example, Kenya banned SUP carrier bags in 2017 and imposed stiff fines of up to $40,000 for anyone violating them. In 2020, Bangladesh called on hospitality industry players to stop the supply of toiletries and other plastic-wrapped products. Bangladesh was the first country in the world to ban plastic carrier bags in 2002. On July 20, 2022, the Canadian government released the final rule banning “harmful” SUP items, with a ban on manufacturing and importing the most of these articles to come into force in December.

China announced in early 2020 a ban on non-degradable bags in major cities by the end of 2020 in all cities and towns by 2022. On June 8, 2022, the United States Department of Interior Unis said it would phase out SUP products from public lands. by 2032, including national parks, in an effort to tackle a major source of plastic waste in the United States as recycling efforts collapse.

According to a study, the ocean absorbs a large amount of plastic pollution, absorbing more than 14 million tons of plastic waste every year. Plastic litter alone accounts for nearly 80% of all marine debris found on the surface. Another study reveals that around 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic were produced globally between 1950 and 2015, of which 80% equivalent to 6.3 billion tonnes was plastic waste. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) found in its study that plastic pollution has increased from 2 million tonnes in 1950 to 348 million tonnes in 2017.


Bryce K. Locke