In the last week of June, eight kiosks were inaugurated for street vendors in Sircilla, in a bid to have segregated areas for vendors and ease traffic congestion. Soon, a total of 55 kiosks will come up in different pockets of the town. Each of these kiosks of 8X8 square feet area have been built with boards manufactured by using recycled plastic. Nearly 22,000 kilograms of recycled plastic (roughly 88 lakh milk packets) go into making these kiosks. Soon, Siddipet will also have 45 such kiosks.
The force behind this project is the Hyderabad-based entrepreneur couple Prashant Lingam and his wife Aruna. The duo has a decade-long experience in designing bamboo furniture and housing, after which they tried their hands at upcycled furniture made from old rubber tyres, bottles and drums.
Their compact office in Swaroop Nagar, Uppal, gives visitors an idea of their work. One part of the office has bamboo furniture and décor, while the other part uses chairs and a table made from recycled plastic. An eight by four table has an 18millimetre thick board made by recycling used milk packets. “The boards have been made using 70% LDPE (low density polyethlene) such as milk packets, and 30% aluminium-coated LDPE sheets,” Prashant explains. The wall panels are also made from recycled plastic and mounted on metallic frames. The couple emphasise that these boards are acid and fireproof.
- Kiosks are built with boards manufactured from recycled plastic.
- Nearly 22,000 kilograms of plastic waste (roughly 88 lakh milk packet covers) go into making these kiosks.
- The paved pathway in Hyderabad Dog Park and the parking shelter near Miyapur Metro station have been built using recycled plastic.
- Coming up: A bus shelter made with recycled plastic at Kavidiguda, opposite the National Thermal Power Corporation office.
Their upcycled rubber and bamboo furniture caught the attention of GHMC (Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation) in 2013. It was also the time when Prashant and Aruna were looking to do something new, within the ambit of being environment-friendly. They designed bus shelters, near Shilparamam and Swaroop Nagar, where the metal-framed structure had slots for discarded plastic bottles. It was a starting point and Prashant got thinking on how to recycle plastic waste. “We researched for a year, met experts, and looked for industrial solutions. We are now collaborating with a factory in Gujarat to manufacture these boards,” he says.
The segregated single use and multi-layer plastics are shipped to a factory in Gujarat to manufacture the boards, which are then sent back to Hyderabad. While this idea of recycling can be a big win to address the growing plastic menace, a problem the team faces is with sourcing the waste, since most homes and offices don’t segregate waste.
Prashant’s initiative makes two kinds of recycled boards — one from single use plastic waste (straws and covers of chips packets, for instance) and another that uses multi-layered plastic (MLP). The boards made from single use plastics have been used to design a shelter for parking near Miyapur metro station. “If homes and offices diligently segregate their waste, our work will become easier and we will also be addressing the issue of plastic ending up in landfills,” says Aruna, who wants to start an awareness campaign in schools on waste segregation.
The Miyapur parking shelter got attention and there were enquiries from international firms who wanted to buy the technology. Prashant and Aruna turned it down: “We started this work to find a solution to our plastic waste, rather than sell the technology and enable international firms to recycle their plastic and export them to India,” they emphasise.
The couple has also used milk packets to design interlocking pavement blocks for the Dog Park in Hyderabad. Each block has used 600 milk packets, and the interlocked paved path extends to 3500 square feet.
Prashant and Aruna mention that the district authorities in Hyderabad, especially the GHMC West Zone Commissioner Hari Chandana Dasari, and authorities in Sircilla and Siddipet districts have supported all their endeavours of recycling plastic waste.
There are further plans. A bus shelter using recycled plastic is coming up in Kavadiguda area, opposite the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) office. The 24X8 bus shelter is a CSR initiative of NTPC. The couple will also be collaborating with UNDP (United National Development Programme) to design bus and parking shelters, and kiosks from recycled plastic for different locations in Hyderabad.
(This column celebrates eco-conscious initiatives. If you know an eco-warrior, write in to email@example.com)