Now, some city churches collect plastic waste on Sundays

Innovative thinking: Anjana Ghosh says you can use plastics without guilt if you know how to recycle them.

Innovative thinking: Anjana Ghosh says you can use plastics without guilt if you know how to recycle them.  

They have joined hands with Bisleri’s ‘Bottles for Change’

Four churches in Mumbai have joined an initiative where plastic is collected directly from parishioners and used to make benches and other recycled items.

In the past week, plastic collection bins were installed at Mount Mary Church in Bandra, Our Lady of Health Velankanni Church in Irla, St. Michael’s Church in Mahim and St. Francis Xavier’s Church in Vile Parle as part of Bisleri’s ‘Bottles for Change’ initiative. Recycled benches will also be put up at these churches shortly.

Parishioners who were aware of the initiative, and had observed its impact, over time influenced the churches to participate in the project. The project also has a young member, Glen Pinto (8), who, along with his father, approached the vicar of St. Francis Xavier’s Church. They were then joined by the Bible Fellowship Church and started collection of plastic on the church premises on Sundays. Parishioners who come for mass bring with them their weekly plastic which, instead of going to a landfill, is collected and recycled.

Anjana Ghosh, director of marketing and Our Social Responsibility, Bisleri International, said, “What most of us do not know as users of plastic is what to do with it post usage and therefore we just throw it in the bin, not knowing there is a value after it has been used. This then goes to the dumpyard where the heavy plastic gets collected and the light plastics are dumped. Through the installation of bins, under this initiative, all kinds of used plastic can be collected and recycled into something or the other.”

The plastic collected by ‘Bottles for Change’ is crushed into fine flakes and used to create products like handbags, window blinds and fabrics. The only prerequisite is that the used plastic must be rinsed before disposing of them in the dustbins set up under the project. “Through the project recycled benches made out of multi-layered plastic have been installed at Churchgate station and Santacruz Railway Colony,” Ms. Ghosh said.

‘Bottles for Change’ was launched a year ago on World Environment Day and has since been running awareness programmes in 600 housing societies, 400 hotels and restaurants and 200 schools, with 3,00,000 active students. The project bridges the gap between waste pickers and people, by helping them connect with the nearest plastic agents to whom the waste can be handed over. This waste is then sold to recyclers, who make sustainable products of them. This is done through the ‘Bottles for Change,’ mobile application, which was launched in Mumbai this year and has around 2,000 users. The initiative has also been launched on an initial level in Delhi, Chennai, Noida, Bengaluru and Jaipur.

“Everyone keeps preaching about reducing plastic without knowing how many commonly used products are made of it. We want people to know they can use plastic products without any guilt as long as they know how to clean it before disposing of them,” Ms. Ghosh said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 3:48:51 PM |

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