Many people think of recycling as their primary environmental action, yet recycling as it is currently practiced does relatively little to mitigate environmental catastrophes like climate change, according to experts who convened last month.

To be of benefit, recycling needs to be done well, and our current recycling system is delivering some mixed results.

Recycling is done poorly in India, and that’s partly because the Indian public is confused about what and how to recycle. Their confusion leads to high levels of contamination (such as plastic bags or food-soiled cardboard in recycling bins). The contamination leads to increased costs for themselves, the ratepayers, and the governments who collect the recyclables.

But the public shouldn’t shoulder the blame, because the ratepayers and governments are effectively subsidizing both the companies that produce the materials and those that purchase them after recycling. That fundamental economic misalignment contributes to these three root challenges to the success of recycling:

1 Underinvestment

The climate and environmental benefits of recycling are not reflected in its economics. “Recycling & Recovery can reduce costs to society through reducing pollution and climate change, but these benefits are not reflected in the economic signals that industry and local governments are responding to, and this leads to an under-investment in recycling.” Consumers and governments are collecting materials for producers who pay much less for them than the cost of collection.

2 Under-Participation

Because producers are left out of recycling’s economics, they have less incentive to reconsider packaging or product design. “There is a significant gap in the responsibility involving consumer brands, These producers have the unique power to influence changes in packaging and product design and create market demand for recycled materials and reduced price volatility, but they are largely absent from our current policy framework.”

3 Unchanging Laws

Many recycling laws were designed 30 to 40 years ago when the economics of recycling were driven largely by newspapers. Since then, the newspaper has all but disappeared from the waste stream. Waste handling has changed dramatically, and the laws haven’t kept up. “Thirty years ago nobody anticipated that we would mix our recyclables together, or that we need processing facilities to sort them out, or that we’d export them to distant lands with less environmental regulation and infrastructure.”

Swachh Bharat Mission is the unique initiative of Govt. of India which is looking into proper waste management. All ULBs have to follow the rules set in by SBM. SBM 2.0 is the new version of guidelines that the ULBs will have to Follow. The Focus of the SBM 2.0 will be focused on resource recovery and Source Segregation. The ULBs who will be using the power of technology will benefit more and farewell in Swachh Survekshan 2022.

Eswachh is an End to End waste management and resource recovery company. Eswachh helps the ULBs of various sizes in wet waste composting, Door-to-Door collection with source segregation, and resource recovery of material in more than 22 categories.

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