The residents of Artek Apartments in Bandra are the proud owners of a unique garden bench that's made from recycled Tetra Pak cartons. It's what they got after recycling more than 2,000 cartons in nine months.
Over the past few months other housing societies too have taken up the responsibility to segregate cartons for recycling, with the assistance of a convenient collection chain set up through the combined efforts of RUR (R U Reducing , reusing, recycling), a non-government organisation, Tetra Pak and Sahakari Bhandar retail chain.
"We first put a recycling bin in the society to try this out. Most of the children had the recycling programme going on at school, so they were excited to do it at home and encouraged their parents. Now we've got a recycled bench for our garden," said Vinay Adhye, business head, Sahakari Bhandar.
This initiative began four years ago and more than six lakh cartons have been recycled during this period. Some 50 schools are involved in this programme, and some housing societies in Mahim, Juhu, Bandra, Matunga and Colaba have joined in along with a few corporates.
Tetra Pak joined hands with Deluxe Recycling India, one of the few carton recyclers in the city, for this programme. The cartons are reproduced into sheets at their unit in Palghar.
"We shred the cartons into pulp, that is compressed using heat and then cooled to form a material stronger than plastic and comparable to wood. It is used to make roof sheds, auto seats, doors and other such products", said Jignesh Shah, who runs the unit.
The scheme offers a recycled school desk for 4,500 cartons collected by a registered school. Housing societies can get a desk from 2,000 cartons. About a hundred desks have been donated by registered schools to those that require them.
"The tremendous space constraint in Mumbai is visible in the overflowing dumping grounds and this makes it extremely important to segregate waste, to recycle what we can. Children are more conscious of the environment and are educating their families about this," said Monisha Narke, who works with RUR.
Those interested in joining the recycling initiative should visit any of the 22 Sahakari Bhandar outlets and register themselves. Collection points have also been set up at Reliance Fresh stores. Participants will get a recycle bin to collect the cartons at their building. Write to RUR at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 022-66540957 to find out more.