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Plastic Waste in Meghalaya Will Now Be Used as Fuel for Cement Companies

The state government has made a deal with cement companies to recycle more than 17 tons of plastic.
Shamani Joshi
Mumbai, IN
Plastic waste in Meghalaya will be reused to make fuel for cement companies
Photo by RitaE via Pixabay 

Even as the Indian government sheepishly postpones its majorly hyped ban on single-use plastics, the state of Meghalaya is finding a sustainable solution to the garbage problem. The state government has signed a deal with a cement company to reuse 17 tons of plastic waste collected by ragpickers and other volunteers as fuel replacement for coal to make building bricks.

"We are trying to find out different ways to get rid of the plastic, which have clogged our streams, rivers and polluted streets. One of the ways is to use them as fuel in cement factories. The company has retrofitted its plants for use of plastics as fuel instead of coal. The pollution control board has been asked to monitor the ambient air quality so that harmful chemicals are not released in the air after burning of the plastics," Meghalaya’s Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma said at a Gandhi Jayanti function on October 2.


The cement company will pay Rs 30 per kg to the scrap dealers that collect plastic waste. This is part of the state government’s ‘Plastic Challenge’ initiative to involve local companies and tribal bodies in the plastic waste management process and is looking into different ways of turning plastic waste into usable products.

Even though Meghalaya has had a plastic ban since 2018, it imposed a complete ban on the use of plastic cutlery, bags, water bottles, styrofoam cups and more, on September 1, 2019. The state is also one of the first in the country to construct a road made out of plastic waste in its Nongstoin town, followed by another in Tura town this year.

Considering many major cement companies are based out of Meghalaya, which has about 10 percent of India’s limestone reserves, this shift to plastic-fuelled energy is necessary. District administrations have been asked to ensure that every village and locality segregates their plastic wastes and municipal bodies or other recyclers collect it from designated points.

“Entrepreneurs and companies are being encouraged to sponsor plastic crusher machines, cloth bags or steel bottles as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility initiative,” Sangma told Hindustan Times.

“It is all linked to cleanliness, health and the overall benefit of the state and I am of the conviction that the government alone cannot achieve unless it is a people’s movement with full and active participation. Let’s do it together.”

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