Bottles for Change programme is setting up benches made up of recycled plastic across Mumbai, in efforts to recycle waste plastic.
Millions of plastic bottles are discarded around the country every day, and the number will only jump every year, wreaking havoc to the environment and oceans. After paper, it is plastic that contributes to the ongoing global environmental crisis, and the situation is worsening with the rise in sea levels.
There is no natural alternative to plastic, since plastics are used to manufacture a huge number of products we use everyday. The government had even announced a ban on plastic, which resulted in great loss in the plastic manufacturing trade. However, Bottles for Change – an initiative by the Bisleri group – has found a solution to utilise the wasted plastics. Under the initiative, waste plastic bottles are recycled and converted into benches to be placed at public places.
“Initially, we introduced the concept to about 200 schools in the city to make the children aware that plastic is valuable and can be recycled. The schools and the children supported our concept and collected maximum plastic in a day,” says Anjana Ghosh, Director, Marketing and OSR Bisleri. “We are planning to place recycled benches in public places so that people know about plastic recycling. This will be motivation for them not to waste plastic,” she adds.
Within a year, the campaign has reached more than five lakh individuals in 14 different wards of Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. 25 benches, made out of 1250 kilograms of waste plastic, are ready to be placed. So far, Anjana’s team has collaborated with over 600 societies, 150 corporates, 200 schools and 400 hotels and restaurants for the campaign.
“Every member of the society is asked to clean plastic after using and keep it separately. The housekeeping staff is told to collect plastic from every household separately. Our agents collect the clean plastic from societies on a weekly basis and directly send it for recycling,” Anjana explains, adding that the residents of Andheri ward can download the Bottles for Change app to reach the nearest plastic agent to submit their request. “The request is dealt within 24 hours,” she assures.
For over a year, the team has been trying to inculcate the “recycle plastic” thought process in consumers, by reaching out to users and telling them to stop the plastic from turning into waste before it is dumped in the open. “It is very important to stop dumping, because once the plastic reaches the pit it becomes very difficult to segregate and treat it. So this initiative is all about trying to create a positive thought towards plastic,” explains the director.
Apart from keeping it out of landfills, recycling plastic also allows it to be reused in new products. This is why the team is expecting more and more public participation. “Helping curb the problem will eventually benefit every individual. We want everyone to take responsibility of treating plastic as a valuable resource,” she explains.
As of now, Anjana and her team are working to expand their campaign to other cities like Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore, while they focus to cover maximum areas of Mumbai. “We want to create a value chain for all kind of plastic to be sent for recycling,” she concludes.