Amid COVID-19, there has been a rampant increase in the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits and masks to reduce the likelihood of infections.
This generates a massive amount of biomedical waste ending up in the seashores and landfills. With this, the crisis of plastic is also deepening and these wastes are becoming a major cause of environmental pollution.
However, a 27-year-old environmentalist has come up with a solution to fix the amount of garbage produced during the pandemic.
Meet Binish Desai, the Recycle Man of India who is creating eco-friendly bricks by recycling PPE kits and masks made from non-woven fabric to help decrease their burden on the environment.
As per a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) in the National Green Tribunal, India produces around 101 Metric Tonnes per day (MT/day) of COVID-19 related biomedical waste, in addition to the normal biomedical waste of around 609 MT/day that the country generates.
Desai began collecting used masks from his family in April 2020, which were made of non-woven fibre, to study the material. He experimented with the material in his home laboratory to finally bring out the final version of the bricks called P-Block 2.0 or Brick 2.0.
Earlier, he created Brick 1.0 using waste paper and binders. The advanced version of Brick 1.0 is Brick 2.0. He added components such as used PPE kits and masks, which account for 52 percent of the total, while the rest is made up of paper waste and a binder.
It is three times stronger than any red brick. It adheres nicely to the plaster, is lighter, recyclable, and costs half as much as the conventional bricks.
Each brick is 12 x 8 x 4 inches in size, and it uses 7 kg of biomedical waste per square foot. It is also waterproof and fire-resistant and costs Rs 2.8 per piece.
Binish plans to introduce something called Eco Bins, meant only to collect non-woven PPE waste. The bins will be placed in hospitals, police stations, other places where the staff or people are using PPE kits and medical-grade masks.
He is working on collaborations to happen with NGOs, local organizations, government organizations to help them collect the waste.
The bins will have an indication mark to show that it is full. Once it reaches that mark, the waste is left untouched for the next 72 hours, and then it will be disinfected thoroughly.
Following this, they will be mixed with the special, organic binders that have been developed specifically for this brick. Once developed, these bricks can be used for construction purposes.
His start-up Eco Eclectic Technologies, a Gujarat-based company that creates usable things from waste, has already produced over 150 products, derived from 57 different types of waste and it is still growing.
Binish Desai aims to create a solution to every type of waste in India and make it a zero-waste country by 2025.