Fuel from plastic

For his latest venture, entrepreneur Sivaraj Muthuraman has found a better use for the plastic waste that usually makes its way into landfills

Sivaraj Muthuraman made headlines a couple of years ago, when he designed and developed the concept of an eco-friendly three-seater cab which runs on solar power. The project did not take off on a larger scale, due to various reasons. He then established Tea2Go, employing teapreneurs who sell tea on bicycles, and more recently, he launched Veg2Go, an 80-seater restaurant for south Indian vegetarian breakfast and meals, at a nominal cost.

“Looking at my ventures, my dad was unhappy and said, Enna da rombo local aah pore? How will I find a bride for a tea seller?” chuckles Sivaraj. “I am a man of ideas and concepts. And I don’t stop with ideas, but go on to implement it. I always get my hands dirty. I come up with concepts that are eco-friendly and focus on saving the environment, and at the same time, are of value to humans,” he says. He is now all set to launch his next venture, Junky Chew, a waste management company, along with Sai Ramya, a social entrepreneur.

“We share a collective mission to do something meaningful to save our environment. To begin with, we will be setting up collection centres to collect waste materials which people wish to dispose of, and this will be sent to our yard in Sriperumbudur,” he says.

The Junky Chew collection centres will be set up in all Tea2Go outlets (there are 20 across the city), with four boxes, one each for old newspapers, plastic items, e-waste and old gadgets, and non-disposable plastic.

At the yard, the non-disposable plastic waste will undergo a thermochemical process, where it will be heated to 300°-400° Celsius without oxygen, and converted into oil.

“This fuel, which will be made using thermochemical de-polymerisation process, can be used to run generators and to lay roads. It will be bottled and sold at ₹40 per litre,” says Sivaraj. The cost involved in collecting and transporting the waste will be recovered by the revenue generated in oil sales, and the necessary certification from the Pollution Control Board is in place, he says.

Junky Chew will next take up recycling and upcycling of other waste, such as metal scrap and e-waste, in the near future. The latter, which includes electronics and home appliances, can be recycled and used in the automobile industry. And that’s not all he has up his sleeve.

“Currently, I am working on designing a gadget which can collect smoke emanating from bike silencers, which can be used as ink for marker pens. The design is awaiting patent,” says Sivaraj.

For this 36-year-old entrepreneur, the biggest challenge is creating awareness. “There is adequate campaigning happening, but what is the solution? I am contemplating buying old paper and used plastic and glass bottles from the public. Unless people think that plastic waste can be monetised, the habit of segregating and disposing will not develop. Waste management in an enormous task, and Junky Chew will play a tiny role in saving our environment.”

Sivaraj Muthuraman can be reached at 9884959552.

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