Sunday mid-day's plastic-free challenge: 2 families discuss environment friendly hacks

Apr 15, 2018, 07:30 IST | Gitanjali Chandrasekharan

Two city households who took up the Sunday mid-day's challenge on April 1 share their victories two weeks on

Pooja Sinha Roy now sends her plastic to Urjaa Foundation which sends it to a firm in Pune that converts plastic into bio-fuel. Pic/Nimesh Dave
Pooja Sinha Roy now sends her plastic to Urjaa Foundation which sends it to a firm in Pune that converts plastic into bio-fuel. Pic/Nimesh Dave

It hasn't been an easy two weeks for the two homes from Juhu and Versova who took on the #plasticfreewithsundaymidday challenge on April 1. As reported last week, finding economically viable and environment-friendly alternatives for plastic bags to store meat, and bin liners proved difficult. However, while the Creados of Juhu - Sandra, 62, Colin, 71 and Reagan, 37 - found an alternative in steel boxes, Versova residents Pooja Sinha Roy, 32, and Amrutha Jalihal, 24, have turned to Urjaa Foundation to convert their plastic into poly-fuel.

Their environment-friendly hacks
"This week," says Reagan, who has an organic farm in Marathwada district, "a packet of seeds I had ordered was delivered." From a large plastic packaging, he pulls out a 1 inch plastic pouch in which the seeds have been delivered. "This wastage of plastic doesn't make sense. The thing is, you can't tell what the packaging is going to be like when you order online. But, we need to reconsider this."

Reagan also shows a sunflower stalk that he picked up from a farm a few weeks ago. The stalk, he points out, has the same texture as styrofoam/thermocol pellets often used in packaging of fragile items. "Instead, this bark can become an environment-friendly option since both styrofoam and thermocol are not bio-degradable."

Reagan Creado shows the sunflower stem stalk, which has the same texture as styrofoam and can be an environment friendly alternative in packaging fragile items. Pics/Satej Shinde
Reagan Creado shows the sunflower stem stalk, which has the same texture as styrofoam and can be an environment friendly alternative in packaging fragile items. Pics/Satej Shinde

Creado has also started carrying his own cup, bowl and straws in his backpack. These came into use when he was at a tea-tasting event last Sunday. Instead of using the disposable paper cups, most of which are lined with plastic, he was provided, Reagan fished out his own. Sandra has started carrying jholas to the market. The journey for the last two weeks, she says, "has been easy if you make up your mind to follow it. It will at the start cost more money, but it's worth it in the long run."

Roy has also switched to baking soda, in order to cut down on the body wash products that come in plastic bottles. "I have heard baking soda is not just better for the skin, it also consumes less water [to take off]," she adds.

What both families admit is that getting rid of plastic entirely is not possible. For what cannot be avoided, Roy has found an answer in Urjaa Foundation, a Dombivli-based NGO, that conducts collection drives every 40 days in Thane and Dombivli and then sends the plastic to Pune's Rudra Environmental Solutions, which converts it into poly-fuel in an environment friendly manner. "You have to ensure that the plastic you send is clean and dry. They will take anything from milk packets to bottles. However, you need to be careful of how you store your plastic for 40 days," she adds. That the fuel is then used by farmers is an added plus, making the effort worth it. "This is not like working with a raddiwalla, so you don't get any money back," she clarifies.

Greater awareness
"When I went to the fish market with the steel boxes, the fisherwomen exclaimed and said it was a good move and they would consider it too. Participating in the campaign has also helped create awareness around us," adds Colin.

Urjaa's next collection drive
On: May 20, from 10 am to 11.30 am
At: KDMC office, near the station, Dombivili 
* Service road, adjacent to Eternity Mall, Thane

How can help you
* Kala Iyer, a spokesperson from Urjaa Foundation, says that currently, the NGO has collection centres only in Dombivli and Thane. "We don't have trucks to collect from other parts of Mumbai. We ask people to keep their plastic in their homes, and give it to us every 40 days." 
* Roy says that a courier service like Russh can be used to deliver the collected plastic on this day. 
* Iyer says, "In a little over a year, we have saved 30 tonnes of plastic from being sent to the landfills."

Campaign ends, pledge continues
Twitter
* Pooja Sinha Roy @nicotineHi
* Amrutha Jalihal @bnceoffmybelly
* Sunday mid-day @sundaymidday

Instagram
* Reagan Creado @reagancreado
* Pooja Sinha Roy @octoberwilderness
* Amrutha Jalihal @amruthajalihal £ Sunday mid-day @sundaymidday

HAVE SUGGESTIONS TO SHARE WITH US?
Tweet how we can become plastic-free with #plasticfreewithsundaymidday

Also Read: 2 Mumbaikars who took Sunday mid-day's plastic free challenge discuss their victories

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