Trash Tales workshops combine story sessions with recycling activities to create awareness among kids about the potential uses of waste paper

One man’s trash can be another man’s cash. While this has been the driving force behind the livelihoods of around 15 million rag-pickers and recyclers in the country, there’s still a considerable quantity of paper and other waste that chokes our towns and cities. “Even if you segregate waste well at home, it has no value unless you are able to recycle it into useful stuff. Recycling is the key to a sustainable earth,” says ‘Paperman’ Mathew, a young green champion, who has made recycling the buzzword in numerous schools and corporate houses through his ‘Paperman’ initiatives.

“Recycling as a strategy will work across society only if people find it attractive enough; we have to make it exciting,” emphasises Mathew. Well, he has got the strategy right. After all, generations of children and adults have kept discovering that the same job can be work or play, depending on whether you want to do it or not.

Trash Tales is a series of workshops organised by Paperman that combine story sessions with recycling activities to help kids get wise to the potential of recycling. The idea is to make recycling paper and plastic a fun activity that stimulates the mind, rather than relegating it to a civic duty. From making paper planes and bags to bowling pins and balls, used paper lends itself to making a variety of usable stuff — several kids and their families discovered this first-hand at the first Trash Tales session at Hippocampus, recently. Aiding the recycling journey were stories narrated by professional storyteller Asha Sampath. The protagonists she employs in her 10 trash stories for these workshops are used paper, earthworms that recycle organic waste, robots created from junk and the like!