Agency New Delhi: Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) has supplied more than 6 lakh paper carry bags utilising more than 12 metric tonnes of plastic waste since August 2018 under its removing plastic from nature (REPLAN) initiative. Kumarappa National Handmade Paper Institute (KNHPI), a KVIC unit at Jaipur, has supplied 6,02,050 carry bags worth Rs 61,14,704 since August 2018 and more than 12 metric tonnes (MT) of plastic waste has been utilized by cleaning the nearby drainage, said a statement by the Khadi commission. Earlier, the production cost of handmade paper made of white cotton rags was Rs 1,00,000 per MT which has come down to Rs 66,000 per MT after mixing polythene waste, which is a reduction of 34 per cent in the cost of production, it said. Also, with the mixing of 20 per cent plastic waste, the strength of bags have increased by 7 per cent, the statement said. KVIC Chairman Vinai Kumar Saxena said, “We don’t claim that the project REPLAN has found an absolute solution to plastic menace but it is an experiment to remove the existing waste plastic material from nature and use it in a semi-permanent manner, so that availability of plastic in nature is reduced to a large extent and bound into usable products that do not cause the kind of problems plastic causes at present.” He further said in the statement, “With continued removal in this manner, coupled with continued ban on use of plastic, is expected to provide significant relief from the existing problem with plastic in nature.” The project REPLAN was launched in August last year in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan’ (Clean India Mission). According to the statement, at present KVIC has orders to supply 10,000 bags per day due to Gandhi Jayanti nearing. The entire process of collecting plastic garbage, experimenting on it to see its utilisation and to making the cost effective paper carry bags was completed in a record 28 days, the statement said. Saxena had visited KNHPI on August 2, last year, and asked the officials to collect the plastic garbage from the nearby drainage and after necessary cleaning and processing, mix it in the paper pulp up to 20 per cent to ascertain whether it can be utilized in handmade paper industries or not. Accordingly, garbage was collected and experimented upon to see the utilization of various types of plastic waste including High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE) and Low-Density Polyethylene (LDPE) for its utilization in paper making up to 20 per cent. The preliminary studies showed potential of utilization of polyethylene waste in handmade paper making, the statement said. Earlier, President Ram Nath Kovind had asked KVIC to supply 700 customized bottles bags made of recycled single use plastic waste during swearing-in ceremony of Modi Cabinet in May, 2019.
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