Amid a growing debate over the impact of single-use plastics on the environment, the paper offers a sustainable option and can capture a fourth of the `80,000 crore single-use plastics market by 2025, if its use is totally banned by the government, a new study said.
India generated 26,000 tonnes per day of plastic waste in 2017-18, of that only 60 per cent was recycled and the rest ended up as litter on roads, in landfills or streams. Single use plastic industry is close to `80,000 crore right now and growing. Packaging accounts for a third of India’s plastic consumption, and 70 per cent of plastic packaging is turned into waste in a short span.
While uncollected plastic waste poses a huge threat to species on land and in water, single-use plastic bags and styrofoam containers can take up to 1,000 years to decompose, said the study released at the world’s largest paper fair, PAPEREX organized by Hyve India, a 100 per cent subsidiary of Hyve Group Plc, London, last week.
Paper, on the other hand, is eco-friendly green product and bio-degradable, it said, adding it was a myth that the paper industries cut trees for production, and consumption of water and energy is high. Paper industry plants more trees than harvested and primary raw material are 100 per cent renewable like wood and agro-residues.
The study said about a third of new paper comes from recycled paper and an equivalent amount from waste such as sawdust and scrap from lumber mills.
“In India, companies use 46 per cent raw material from recovered paper, 29 per cent from agro residue like bagasse, straw etc and 29 per cent from plantation wood,” it said, adding paper promotes literacy, hygiene and reduce pollution by using bagasse.