CSIR Researchers to Explore Ways to Utilise PPE waste

With masks and personal protective equipment becoming the norm to keep COVID-19 away, the next crisis in waiting could be the safe disposal of the enormous waste generated from their usage. It is estimated that almost one-third of the biomedical waste will be in the form of disposable PPE kits, masks, testing swabs and pipes used in the management of Covid-19 patients.

Four CSIR institutes, namely, CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum (IIP), Dehradun; CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune; CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute (CMERI), Durgapur and CSIR-Indian Institute of Toxicology Research (IITR), Lucknow have come together to devise methodologies to convert discarded PPE kits and other plastic waste into pellets that can be used for road construction or moulded for other applications.

The CSIR labs have also roped in private firms for working on recycling plastic waste from discarded PPE kits, masks and disposable testing equipment. The researchers aim to utilise the recycled material to pave roads, make bricks and interlocking tiles or reuse them for biomedical purposes after sterilizing them by microwaving.