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Industry focuses on recycling & recovery of industrial waste to address environmental & climate crisis: Expert

Nandita Vijay, Bengaluru
Monday, November 28, 2022, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Concerned over the increasing environmental degradation and climate crisis, the Indian pharmaceutical industry is focussing on recycling and resource recovery of its waste, said Masood Mallick, CEO, Re Sustainability.

Besides, hospital sector has encountered an unprecedented surge in biomedical waste during the COVID pandemic which has not yet reduced. Across all healthcare centres, there was a 600-700 per cent increase in daily waste generation. We thought post Covid, it would come down to baseline levels but that has not happened. The reason for this being that medical protocols have changed as use of protective consumables in patient care have only increased as part of good infection control practices, he added.
For pharma, the interest is the circular economy for recovery from industrial and commercial waste. Their approach is reduce, reuse and recycle. Typically pharma waste is water which is recycled. Plastic, paper and chemicals waste are reduced or recycled.

To this end, the Hyderabad-based Re Sustainability a KKR-backed company engaged in waste management of hazardous, municipal, industrial and biomedical is working onm eco-efficient solutions. These include autoclaving, incineration and chemical disinfection, takes place with advanced equipment now being manufactured in India, said Mallick.
We have dealt with a large number of these equipment and had a learning curve for the last 30 years. A lot of modifications for improvements have happened, especially on automation and sensor control to reduce manual dependence and allowing a greater degree of confidence in performance, he said.
There is implementation of artificial intelligence and deep tech. Our first robotic enabled biomedical waste facility where the waste handling is being is being handled through a robotic waste picker is all ready and to be implemented soon early next month in Bengaluru. Of course, one of the technologies India needs is microwave as a disinfection technology because it is faster. This is an in-house technology for which currently the R&D is on. We actually welcome more start-ups, because we think that this space is needs innovation, said Mallick.
Delving on the current biomedical water guidelines in India, Re Sustainability CEO said that while it is fairly complete yet there is a need to take precaution, even if there are no standards in the category of domestic hazardous waste, which includes medical waste generated at homes.
There is definitely a need to update regulations and Re Sustainability, present across India and globally, would be recommending to the government for one common law across municipal, industry and biomedical waste. We believe that biomedical waste rules will get amended and compliance will improve, said Mallick.

The company is investing over Rs 200 crore to expand its capacities across the country with global expansions too.
Going by the indispensability of biomedical, hazardous and industry waste management in India, there are limited vocational programs around this science of environment and sustainability. Currently, Re Sustainability has a strength of 20,000 workforce. But going by the pace of expansion plans, there is a need to partner with universities to start programs to develop human capital qualified and trained across all forms of waste management, recycling, resource recovery, energy recovery, sustainability disciplines. We already have standard operating procedures to create the curriculum and the sites for the training can happen in partnership with Universities, said Mallick.


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