In India the consumption of plastics is increasing by leaps and bounds and it is expected that the consumption could increase to 22 MMTPA by 2020 from the present 13 MMTPA. A significant amount of plastic wastes are generated every day and generally end up as part of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). In India, about 80 percent of total plastic consumption is discarded as waste and at least 40 percent of this waste remains uncollected. The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) has estimated that approximately 25,900 tons of waste plastics were generated every day in 2015-16. The present methods of disposal of waste plastics have inherent drawbacks like converting enormous amount of land into waste land and emission of toxic gases and chemicals. These wastes also lie littered in cities causing drainage blockage and tempting animals to ingest them.
Considering these facts, CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (CSIR-IIP), in collaboration with GAIL (India) Ltd, has developed a novel thermo-catalytic process by which polyolefinic wastes like polyethylene and polypropylene, which account for about 70 % of the total waste plastics, can be converted exclusively into any one of the products, viz. Gasoline or diesel or aromatics, along with simultaneous production of by-product propane and butane which are the main constituents of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). 1 Kg of clean polyolefin waste can produce up to either 550-600 ml gasoline or 750-800 ml diesel or 450-500 ml aromatics. The gasoline and diesel conform to the BS IV/VI norms. These have also been tested on vehicles and the emissions are at par with the refinery produced gasoline and diesel. Presently, a 1 metric ton per day pilot plant is being set up at Dehradun for converting waste plastics to diesel, which is likely to be commissioned in early 2019. This process would not only provide an environmental benign solution to the waste plastics disposal but also simultaneously produce valuable products.