Overview of Research
Waste production is a global problem and it is increasing day by day. This is a result of two main factors which are population growth and increase in consumption. In addition to the problems of rapid population growth, increase and variety of consumer goods and products, rising trend of consuming culture, increasing use of disposable materials and uncontrolled expansion of cities caused to produces millions of tons of wastes in cities. Mkpat Enin local government area in Akwa Ibom State, is not excluded from this issue and because of the university in the area, has growing amount of urbanwaste. Waste is everything that people throw away each day.
Waste comes from agriculture, mining, industry and municipal solid waste. Municipal waste (MW) is the garbage that people produce in their homes and where they work which is operated and controlled by local officials such as city or governments. (MW) contains all kinds of garbage including papers, yard waste, plastics, old appliance, household garbage, used furniture and anything that people throw away at homes, schools and business. Waste management is vital problem not only for developing countries but for the developed countries as well.
However, the plastic waste as significant ratio and component of the municipal solid waste is a quite problematic for its non-biodegradability and therefore can stay in the environment for a considerable length of time carrying all sorts of problems.
There are two major categories of plastics include thermoplastics and thermosets.
Thermoplastics thisrefer to plastic materials that can be formed into other products by re-melting or treating into different shapes by the application of heat and pressure. These are easily recyclable into other products. These thermoplastics include polyethylene, low and high density (LDPE, HDPE) polypropylene (PP), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polystyrene (PS), polyethylene terephthalate (PET) etc.
Thermoset plastics contain alkyd ,epoxy ,ester ,melamine formaldehyde, polyurethane, etc.which are cross linked on curing and will not soften with heat to allow these to be made into different shapes.
Since the turn of the new millennium, there has been a rise in the proportion of plastic waste in the municipal solid waste (MSW) in Mkpat Enin, including the Ikot Akpadenarea where Aksu is located. This has been as a result of a steady increase in the use of plastic products for more hygienic mode of packaging food, beverages, water and other products. However, the packaging revolution has not been backed by a correspondingly appropriate plastic waste management policy, and therefore has left many towns littered with plastic waste; creating disgusting visual nuisance and public health problems. It is worth noting that low sanitation levels on the African continent are significantly influenced by poor waste management practices especially dumping of waste in water bodies and uncontrolled dump sites. As a result of plastic’s resilience against degradation and its proliferation in industry, the issue of plastic pollution has evolved to become a threat to global ecology (Webb, 2013).
The ability to reduce municipal solid waste (MSW) by volume and at the same time use it to generate new product and gas, has made the use of plastic recycling more important.
On the other hand recycling of plastics after sorting such waste out, is becoming even more popular. Although plastics are not intrinsically dangerous, they take up a huge amount of space in landfills and thus go to waste even though they are made from fossil fuel which is a non-renewable resource (Selinger, 1986). Using plastic packaging to enhance the future availability of recycled plastics as a sustainable material option is laudable. It is therefore important that, where possible, plastics are recycled. The recycling of plastics is carried out in a five step process. They are Plastics collection, manual sorting, Chipping, Washing and pelleting by melting it down and extruding into small pellets ready for reuse. (Selinger, 1986)
And the established plastic recycling process adopted is BASF pyrolysis process and in this process, a pretreatment is necessary. In this pretreatment the plastics are ground, separated from other materials like metals and agglomerated. The conversion of the pretreated mixed plastic into petrochemical raw materials takes place in a multi-stage melting and reduction process. In the first stage the plastic is melted and de-halogenated to preserve the subsequent plant and processed in the hydrochloric acid production plant. Hence, the major part of the Cl present in the input (e.g. from PVC) is converted into saleable HCl.
1.2 Statement of Problem
It is well known fact that most emerging communities are usually faced with the challenge of waste (particularly solid) management due to increase in population and economic activities. Mkpat Enin is a rapidly developing region particularly due to the presence of Akwa Ibom State University (AKSU) which has resulted in population increase and economic growth for both the host community and the surrounding villages. In order to effectively manage the waste generation associated with this increase, it is important that an efficient waste management process be designed and implemented in Mkpat Enin.
1.3 Aim and Objective of this Research
1.3.1 Aim of this research
Design of a municipal waste management process that is aimed at plastic waste recycling.
1.3.2 Objective of this research
The objectives of this research work include:
Investigating and finding out the plastic waste types found in Mkpat Enin local government area.
Design of a plastic recycling process for plastic waste disposed in Mkpat Enin.
Ascertain the economic potential of the designed process for revenue generation.
1.5 Significance of this Research
Plastic constitutes major source of waste in Mkpat Enin. The volume of plastic wastes in the area is the cause of many issues in the area like blocking of drainage, littering the environment etc. and that is why it is important to manage it.
1.6 Scope of this Research
This research work primarily centers on the design of an economical and efficient plastic waste recycling process for Mkpat Enin. It will also cover the economic aspects of the design (including cost of construction) to ascertain its revenue generation potential.
1.7 Justification of this Research
The ever-increasing population of Mkpat Enin local government area of Akwa Ibom state will result in corresponding increase in waste generation especially plastic waste which constitute major component of the waste in Mkpat Enin. And most of them are not biodegradable and cause problem in the environment like blocking of drainages, littering the environment etc. And thus a process needs to be put in place to effectively manage this increasing waste to maintain a clean and healthy environment for residents.