Based on inputs by Shahid Kazi
The passengers travelling in Lucknow-Delhi Tejas Express, were surptised when they were given biodegradable packaged drinking water bottles.
Tejas Express is country’s first private semi-high speed train.
Chief Regional Manager (CRM), IRCTC, Lucknow region, Ashwini Srivastava said: “At least 1,500 bottles are being served on Tejas Express every day in both up and down trips. The bottles would be in use for a few months to observe the results and check how much do they actually decompose. The bottles would be disposed of as prescribed.”
These biodegradable bottles are being manufactured by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) at its Mumbai bottling plant on a trial basis.
The IRCTC in its tweet said
IRCTC’s big leap in curbing the use of #SingleUsePlastic – successfully tests biodegradable packaging for #RailNeer. Supply commences on a pilot basis on the newly introduced LJN-NDLS-LJN #TejasExpress. #IRCTCSaysNoToPlastic #IRCTCForEnvironment
For the first time that the IRCTC, a central public sector enterprise under the Railways Ministry, has taken an eco-friendly measure by using degradable bottles. Compared to ordinary plastic bottles, made in polyethylene terephthalate (PET), these cost just 15 paisa more.
As per the IRCTC, in India approximately 10 lakh metric tonnes of PET bottles are consumed in packaging water, soft drink, juices etc.
The IRCTC conducted a trial to make a PET bottle biodegradable by adding a biodegradable polymer to the compound. The physical and chemical properties of biodegradable polymers allow them to decompose completely when exposed to aerobic or anaerobic process or micro-organisms.
The biodegradable bottle is manufactured as a pre-form at the bottling plant and then it is blown as a bottle at another plant. The bottles have been tested at the Indian Institute of Packaging, Mumbai, and testing authorities noticed that biodegradation did occur when the bottles were disposed of under high-solid anaerobic digestion conditions.