A Supply Chain Analysis of Plastic Recycling in Pune

Ananya Lokare
Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts

Abstract

In 21st century India, rapid urbanization has become a serious problem – resulting in the active implementation of waste management laws by the government. In 2018, Maharashtra’s plastic ban put restrictions on the use of all plastic bags and single-use plastics. Within the city of Pune, institutions like SWaCH Cooperative attempt segregating solid waste into recyclables and non-recyclables in order to realize recycling and effectively managing solid waste. However, the complete supply chain of recycling is not well documented, which adversely affects public awareness. This paper provides an overview of the waste management practices and rules and an analysis of the supply chain of plastic recycling in Pune. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with the people involved at every stage of the recycling process, in order to understand the journey of a recycled item in Pune. This research included interviews with two waste pickers from SWaCH Cooperative engaged in waste collection at doorstep, the owners of a scrap shop in Viman Nagar area of Pune, a scrap wholesaler in Katraj area of Pune, and a representative of a Recycling Plant also located in Katraj. Two methods of plastic recycling were examined in greater details — recycling of low-density plastic materials and phuga, which refers to plastic items that have a cavity. The findings highlight the existence of a functioning supply chain of recyclable plastics in Pune and identifies the different kinds of plastics that are recycled in the market as of December 2018. Furthermore, it mentions links in the supply chain where efficiency can be increased as well as the importance of supplementing government policies with awareness about recycling. Further research is required into the levels of plastics that are safe to reuse, alternatives to plastic as well as the waste management processes followed in the areas that SWaCH Cooperative is not operating.

Keywords: Supply Chain, Plastic Recycling, Waste Management, Sustainable Development, SWaCH Cooperative