Largest MNC-funded plastic waste treatment plant to come up in Kannur

Women at work in the Green Worms Material Recovery Centre. Photo: Special Arrangement

Kozhikode: Come March, Kannur will host Kerala's largest plastic waste treatment plant. The facility, set up by NGO Green Worms, will come up at KSIDC land at Valiyavelicham.

Funded by Beiersdorf, the German multinational company that manufactures personal-care products like Nivea and Labello, the project aims to implement an effective mass plastic waste management programme. The MNC has provided the fund as part of its 'Women in Circularity' project that aims to support women in waste management. Green Worms is the only NGO from India to receive the grant. One institution each from Argentina, Ghana and Kenya has also received the funding.

Green Worms will receive Rs 7 crore as a grant to establish a waste treatment plant and a material recovery facility, which will come up at Thrikkalangode panchayat in Malappuram.

“Spread across 20,000 sqft, the waste treatment plant in Kannur will be the most advanced and the largest solid waste treatment plant in the state,” said Jabir Karat, the founder and CEO of Green Worms. “The plant will accept segregated plastic waste and recycle it into pellets, which can be used to make new products,” he said. It will have the capacity to recycle 4,200 tonnes of plastic annually, he added.

“The speciality of the plant is that it can recycle soft plastic products like milk pouches. Plastic waste will be washed clean before recycling. The waste water also will be recycled, by an integrated affluent,” Karat said.

Green Worms, which has been working in the waste management sector for nearly a decade, has a presence in Tamil Nadu and the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It runs material recovery facilities (MRF) in Kozhikode and Ernakulam districts. The main responsibility of the MRF unit is to segregate and grade the solid waste, collected by Haritha Karma Sena, Kudumbashree's dedicated wing to collect waste.

At present, the Kozhikode facility receives collected waste from 35 grama panchayats of Malappuram district and 30 panchayats. The Kochi facility segregates the solid wastes from the city corporation.

“Green Worm also runs a textile recovery facility at Thamarassery in Kozhikode, which helps manage the textile wastes collected from households, hospitals and textile showrooms.

A woman labourer at the Material Recovery Centre of Green Worms. Photo: Special Arrangement

As part of the 'Women in Circularity' project, women labourers will get training and other social welfare supports like health checkups, insurance, interest-free loans, and education scholarships for their children,” said Karat. It will also set up a Waste Workers Welfare Fund to enhance the financial security of the local community, he added.

“We already train Haritha Karma Sena members, which enables them to earn 20 per cent more than what they used to earn,” he said.

Green Worms started its waste management endeavour from Poonoor in Kozhikode district in 2014 with a daily collection of 300kg of solid waste. Now it can handle 1.2 lakh tonnes daily from three different states.

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