Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology; Minister of State (Independent Charge) Earth Sciences; Minister of State PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh has approved a loan of Rs 1.15 crores to a Maharashtra-based startup, M/s TGP Bioplastics to manufacture and commercialise a “compostable” plastic material.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed between the Technology Development Board (TDB), a statutory body under the Department of Science & Technology (DST) in the Union Ministry of Science & Technology, and the company. The project has also received seed funding under the NIDHI Prayas scheme of the DST, Niti Aayog, and United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) for the prototype development.
Dr. Jitendra Singh recalled that in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s clarion call to phase out single-use plastic items, India had banned the manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale, and use of identified single-use plastic items. ‘The concept of compostable plastic will be scaled up with further government support,’ said Dr Singh.
He noted that the manufacture and commercialization of compostable plastic by the TGP Bioplastics gelled well with the ongoing countrywide coastal clean-up campaign launched by the Ministry of Earth Sciences on 5th July, 2022. The 75-day long programme was launched to raise awareness about “Swachh Sagar, Surakshit Sagar”. It will culminate on “International Coastal Clean-up Day” on 17th September 2022, when students, civil society members, and environmental activists, among others, will be mobilized to achieve the target to remove 1,500 ton of garbage, mainly single-use plastic from the sea coasts.
Currently, very few degradable materials/composites are available in the market. Most of them cost more than Rs. 280/kg for the raw materials. The cheapest degradable polymer today is Polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT). It is available at Rs. 280-300/kg. In contrast, conventional plastic raw materials cost just around Rs. 90/kg. Hence, the market will for degradable plastic is less. The new composite is expected to fill the gap as it would be available at about Rs 180/kg and with comparable strength.
The material is a blend of Thermoplastic-Starch (TPS)-glycerin with some chemical modifications. The granules prepared from this composite can be molded into any shape and breaks down into natural substances after use. The company targets a production capacity of 880 MT per annum.
Rajesh Kumar Pathak, Secretary, TDB, said, “The Prime Minister has emphasised that plastic being non-bio-degradable, threatens to become a menace to humanity and is already having a deadly impact on our terrestrial, marine and aquatic ecosystem. With TDB supporting M/s TGP Bioplastics, India is one step closer to providing an indigenous alternative.” (India Science Wire)