Varanasi Municipal Corporation Inaugurates New ‘Material Recovery Facility’ Set-Up Jointly by Tetra Pak, GIZ and TERI

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Varanasi: Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) today inaugurated a ‘Material Recovery Facility (MRF)’ set up in partnership with Tetra Pak, Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as part of “Development and Management of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in India” at Bhawania Pokhri, Belupur to increase collection of recyclable waste and help strengthen the waste management in the city.

Varanasi Municipal Corporation (VMC) today inaugurated a ‘Material Recovery Facility (MRF)’ set up in partnership with Tetra Pak, Deutsche Gesellschaft für International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) as part of “Development and Management of Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) in India” at Bhawania Pokhri, Belupur to increase collection of recyclable waste and help strengthen the waste management in the city. The NAMA project is funded by the Federal Ministry of the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMU), Germany. The Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Government of India is the nodal Ministry for the NAMA project.

The new MRF will function as a waste sorting centre where plastic, mixed-waste paper, paper-based cartons, etc. are separated and baled. While the MRF will focus on dry waste, the location of the MRF has been chosen strategically as the compound also hosts a VMC biogas plant to process the wet waste collected and turn it into electricity, making it a truly ‘zero-waste’ site.

The land for the facility at Bhawania Pokhri has been provided by VMC, Tetra Pak has provided the equipment and in partnership with NAMA project of GIZ and TERI is providing technical expertise related to ‘Municipal Solid Waste’ (MSW) management with an objective to reduce ‘Green House Gases’ (GHG) emissions from waste management sector. The initiative will also support the awareness and capacity-building for waste-pickers across the city. GIZ and TERI are together responsible for driving awareness among consumers about the segregation of waste at source, as well as educating the waste-picker community on the best waste management practices.

Shri Gaurang Rathi, Municipal Commissioner, Varanasi Nagar Nigam said, “I would like to thank Tetra Pak, GIZ and TERI for joining hands with Varanasi Municipal Corporation for setting up this Material Recovery Facility (MRF). Along with the MRF the NAMA project is focusing on achieving source segregation at the household level and engaging informal sector for MRF operations. Public Private Partnerships initiatives like these will be instrumental in achieving sustainable MSW management in Varanasi. In my view, this decentralized MSW management model is ideal for replicating in other parts of Varanasi and to other cities. The Honourable Prime Minister Modi’s vision of Swachh Bharat can be achieved with the help of such initiatives. Therefore, I encourage all stakeholders to cooperate for successful implementation of source segregation and decentralized waste management in Varanasi.”

Jaideep Gokhale, Vice President Sustainability, Tetra Pak Asia Pacific said, “We strongly believe that recycling can turn waste into wealth. For more than 16 years we have been working towards creating a sustainable collection and recycling ecosystem for our paper-based and fully recyclable packages. Today this ecosystem covers more than 23 cities in India and 1 in every 2 carton packages sold in India is recycled. We are happy to share our expertise and experience with committed partners such as VMC, TERI and GIZ to help realise PM Modi’s vision of a ‘Swachh Bharat’ and further increase collection and recycling of used paper-based cartons.”

Ashish Chaturvedi, Director-Climate Change, GIZ India present at the inauguration said, “Varanasi is one of the biggest tourist hubs in the country and attracts millions of tourists every year. A bustling city like Varanasi needs a robust waste management system. The NAMA project is focusing on reducing Green House Gas (GHG) emissions due to unsustainable waste management like landfilling or burning of waste. Recycling of each tonne of segregated dry waste reduces around 0.5 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Over the past 12 months we have educated around 310000 people and 100 waste-workers who are the catalysts to changing the waste landscape in Varanasi. With the inauguration of this MRF and the increased focus on awareness-building, we believe that the current waste landscape will see a massive change.”

Dr. Suneel Pandey, Director, Environment & Waste Management, TERI said, “According to the baseline study conducted in Varanasi by TERI as part of a Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMA) project, if waste management is not done properly, it could lead to an increase in GHG emissions. For a city like Varanasi, it could mean more than 1,35,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions in 2020. Therefore, to reduce GHG emissions there is an urgent need to improve waste management in the city. Initiatives such as this MRF will go a long way in accelerating this change.”

Varanasi, with a total population of 1.3 mn generated about 750 TPD in 2018. Out of this, 77% of the waste was collected and 23% of the remaining waste was unrecovered[1]. All recyclables recovered through the MRF will be put into the relevant recycling streams ensuring that no waste goes to landfill. The carton packages recovered from Varanasi will be sent to Tetra Pak’s recycling partner in Uttarakhand where the entire carton will be recycled into useful items such as paper, furniture and granules which can be further converted into products of daily use. Day to day operations of this facility will be managed by Trilochan Enterprises, a Varanasi based organization that deals in collection of dry waste from the city.

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