That plastic bags are hazardous to the environment was something Shilpa Kaul, resident of BT Kawade Road, had known for a long time. As a conscious step, she stopped throwing away the used plastic items of her house almost two years ago.
However, she didn’t know how and where to discard the waste. Over a month ago, she learned of a group that facilitates door-to-door collection of plastic once a month from various parts of the city. Last Saturday, Kaul got rid of the huge amount of plastic she had piled up over the last two years.
Now she is one of as many as 140 citizens who are doing their part to save the environment from plastic. It began in early 2015 when city-based Mita Banerjee, founder of support group Team Miracle, wanted to do something under the Clean India Campaign, and coincidentally got to know about Rudra Environmental Solutions, which recycles plastic and makes polyfuel that is used for generators and boilers.
Banerjee contacted Medha Tadpatrikar, who runs Rudra Environmental Solutions, and enquired if she could send someone across to collect the small amount of plastic waste she had collected. While Tadpatrikar does this for a social cause, she is a market research consultant by profession.”Medha said she can send a vehicle to collect the plastic waste but it had to be in large quantity because the vehicle was coming all the way from her factory in Jejuri.
So I started spreading the word among my friends and neighbours in Vimannagar. In May, at least 10 people had joined us and when the vehicle came to collect the plastic waste, we had three sacks full of plastic,” recalls Banerjee.
Soon, more people joined the bandwagon and from Vimannagar, the movement spread to Koregaon Park, DP Road, BT Kawade Road and Kalyaninagar. On the other hand, Tadpatrikar was collecting plastic waste from Prabhat Road and Law College Road. “We were hardly 10 people when we began in June, now we are 143 people. From three sacks in June, we have reached over 70 sacks of plastic waste,” says Banerjee. Every area has a few coordinators and Team Miracle works as a catalyst between the coordinators and Tadpatrikar.
Talking about the initiative, Banerjee says that it is driven by a simple idea. She states that one cannot get rid of plastic completely because every item — from toothpaste to medicine — everything comes in plastic.
“On one hand, plastic chokes the drain and on the other, animals like cows, buffaloes and street dogs end up eating plastic along with other food items thrown in the garbage bins. It is non-degradable waste, which releases harmful gases in the environment when burnt,” says Banerjee, adding that at the recycling factory in Jejuri, the harmful gases given out during the burning of the plastic waste are not released in the air but are instead used to fire the next lot of plastic waste.
Accepted Plastic Waste:
* Milk bags/oil bags
* Food bags
* Yogurt containers/ plastic glasses
* Cooking oil canisters
* Laminate tubes (toothpaste, mediciness)
* Carry bags (all micron thickness)
* Food item wrappers
* PET bottles (Bisleri, soft drinks, toilet-cleaning material)
* Shampoo/powder bottles/empty sachets
* Detergent bags
* Blister packing, bubble wraps
* Plastic flowers, buckets, toothbrushes, plastic brooms
* All types of plastic wrappers
* Plastic table cloths, mats, shower curtains, visiting cards, CD & cassette covers
* Plastic combs, toothbrushes