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Recycling forward: Experts suggest tips to go plastic free

Mid-Day logo Mid-Day 29-07-2022 Tanishka D’Lyma
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Mould young minds

Amishi Parasrampuria, founder of Upcycler’s Lab, believes that recycling is the best way to reduce virgin plastic from being added to the environment, so it’s a practice that we must build into our lives. She stresses on the importance of moulding young minds and inculcating sustainable habits early on. The 32-year-old’s initiative teaches children about the environment through games; topics include waste segregation and management, and the cause of ocean pollutants and how they affect marine life. Noting that recycling is a collective effort, their board games work on the cooperation of all players against the board.

Do it right:

>> If you cannot reduce plastic by refusing to buy it, ensure you recycle it the right way — by segregating, cleaning and drying plastic waste before you send it to recycling centres or aggregators.

>> Mumbaikars should adopt door-to-door services that pick up waste for recycling like 5RCycle Foundation.

>> Reuse as much as is safe and possible before you recycle.

>> There is value in upcycling only if what is made has long-term value like furniture. Decorative items that won’t last long add to waste and create smaller particles that cannot be recycled or further contaminate material for recycling.

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Cut back on plastic

“Recycling cleans up the plastic mess created so far, but we need to shut the tap,” Lokesh Sambhwani, co-founder of Refillable, tells us. To do this, the 25-year-old suggests replacing the habit of buying new plastic products with reusing and refilling what we already have. Illustrating the impact a single household can make, he explains that if we begin refilling detergent and liquid soap bottles, each refill will avoid 80 gms of plastic; multiply that by the number of bottles needed for different uses, the number of bottles we need every month, and that’s how much one family can cut back on plastic. But if you’re thinking about shifting to refillable pouches sold by brands in the market, think again. These pouches are made from MLP or Multilayered Plastics, which do not get recycled economically or widely.

Purav Desai, Rahul Batra and Lokesh Sambhwani of Refillable

Small steps matter:

>> When you order food online, avoid cutlery. Recycling such waste is easily overlooked in terms of monetary benefit and quantity by segregators, as compared to plastic bottles.

>> Choose thrift businesses to facilitate a circular economy.

>> Start with one act; the more you practise it, the more involved you will get. 

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It all adds up

Puneet Jain, 34, managing director of Enviro Recyclean, points out that the price of products and packaging made from recycled material might exceed that of items made from virgin plastic. This makes opting for virgin plastic products cost-effective, as they’re widely available and convenient. However, he asks us to look closely at the value of recycled material.

Upcycled bench

“People might not understand the impact of virgin plastic in terms of energy and fossil fuels that go into making it, and the price we pay for introducing more plastic into the environment.” The recycling process is a chain that requires individual and collective effort. Jain stresses on each person doing their part with the help of Urban Local Bodies and NGOs that are already in place to help citizens recycle.

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Tiles by Enviro Recyclean

Build a habit:

>> Consumers and citizens are a part of the recycling process. Carry out your part.

>> Keep different garbage cans for wet and dry waste so that segregation is easier.

>> A leader can drive change. Start by changing your mindset, incorporating recycling habits at home, and then in your society.

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