Mumbai: Colaba garden goes eco-friendly, to get tetra 'park' benches

Updated: Jul 23, 2017, 09:32 IST | Hemal Ashar

Colaba garden to get recycled seating, thanks to efforts of eco-friendly NGO

Three years and thousands of empty tetrapak cartons later, the Bombay Port Trust's (BPT) Sagar Upvan garden, located in Colaba, will have four new, eco-friendly benches for its walkers and joggers from Sunday. City-based non-profit RUR Greenlife made these benches, after a three-year effort to collect and recycle tetrapaks.

One of the collection centres for the tetrapaks
One of the collection centres for the tetrapaks

Taking concepts like recycling, environmental awareness and going green out of fashionable party-hearty chatter and putting the real into them, the park will sport four benches (one can seat two-three people) made of recycled tetrapak cartons.

These four benches took shape after a three-year collection effort. Cynthia D'Mello trustee, My Dream Colaba, said, "The public was encouraged to deposit their tetrapak cartons at Sahakari Bhandar, Colaba, which gave us the space to start a collection centre. We collected thousands of cartons of milk, curd and aerated drinks in tetrapaks. We used to create awareness at Colaba-specific events about the importance and possibility of recycling tetrapaks."

The tetra, transformed
Renu Kapoor, member, Colaba Area Locality Management, said, "I started the initiative after I met two women at a workshop, where they were teaching participants how to make jewellery out of waste. The public will see how tetrapaks can be transformed."

"It is important to have a collection centre that is secure or can be locked. At an earlier venue, we noticed that empty tetrapak cartons being deposited for recycling were getting filched. We decided to have these benches in a garden, as they tend to get encroached when they are on public roads, with vagrants using them as makeshift shelters. There is security in a park," she added.

Talking figures
For Monisha Narke, founder-CEO of RUR, the four benches add to their tally of "at least 80 garden benches made out of recycled tetrapak cartons".

She added, "We have 44 collection points across the city. We need roughly 4,500 tetrapak cartons for one school desk and 6,500 tetrapak cartons for a bench."

Narke said initiatives like these are a joint effort, involving tetrapak companies, space for collection centres, ALMs and the community. She also said it is important for locals to see such benches and other recycled products, so that they are inspired to emulate these efforts in their areas.

Seating is believing
Colaba representatives and environmental activists are inviting locals from Colaba and Cuffe Parade to sacrifice their Sunday sleep and be at the park at 8.30 am for the inauguration of the benches.

"Even with consciousness, there is curiosity and scepticism about the durability and quality of items made from recycled material. Tomorrow, these benches will send all doubts out of the window, because the proof of the pudding is in the eating," Kapoor and D'Mello said with a laugh, but we think the proof of the pudding here will be in the 'seating'.

Number of tetrapaks it takes to make one bench

Number of tetrapaks it takes to make one desk

Number of garden benches RUR has set up from recycled tetrapaks

No. of recycled tetrapak benches BPT garden will get tomorrow


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