Puducherry

Auroville shows the way in eco-friendly lifestyle

Workers first segregate waste collected from households and the community in the Auroville township. Non-recyclable plastic is shredded and mixed with concrete and used to build walls. Old bottles too find their way into which cannot be recycled. S.S. Kumar

Workers first segregate waste collected from households and the community in the Auroville township. Non-recyclable plastic is shredded and mixed with concrete and used to build walls. Old bottles too find their way into which cannot be recycled. S.S. Kumar  

The international township promotes use of alternatives to plastics and innovative recycling or upcycling of non-biodegradable material

The international township of Auroville is taking the lead in developing an eco-friendly lifestyle, with alternatives to plastics and innovative recycling or upcycling of non-biodegradable material.

Eco Service, a waste management company, has been at the forefront of a campaign against solid waste, specifically plastic and non-recyclable plastic materials, since its launch in 1984.

The venture has opened around 340 collection points across the township from where plastic materials, glasses and other types of solid waste are segregated. Around 10 to 12 tonnes of solid waste and plastic waste are generated during the peak season — and about nine tonnes off-season — from October to March. About 60% of the waste is recycled and the remaining is landfilled.

Non-recyclable plastic is shredded, mixed with cement and used to build walls.

Non-recyclable plastic is shredded, mixed with cement and used to build walls.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

 

Few may be aware that waste can be sorted into several categories. Here, it is segregated into 83 types. The Eco Service team first isolates plastic that can be recycled. At the sorting shed, the non-recyclable plastic is shredded into tiny particles. The waste is then mixed with cement concrete and used for construction of experimental walls on the premises.

The segregated plastic, except the multilayer type (packaging materials), is bundled and taken to dealers in Sedurapet and Mettupalayam in nearby Puducherry with a specific demand to dealers that they should not incinerate the waste as it would be a threat to the environment.

“The recyclable waste is sold to recycling dealers for use as raw materials. The multilayer plastic is not landfilled and is only stored on the premises,” says K. Palani, an executive at Eco Service.

Youth roped in

Hoping to spread the message of a zero-waste policy, youth staying in the township have been sensitised to the importance of responsible waste disposal.

Old bottles too have been ingeniously used to deck up a wall on the premises.

Old bottles too have been ingeniously used to deck up a wall on the premises.   | Photo Credit: S.S. Kumar

 

They now lead by example, collecting waste dumped by tourists and visitors across the township on alternate Sundays.

Eco Service has also built an experimental wall in its sorting shed using thermocol and non-recyclable plastic wrappers.

The wall has been plastered using cement and decorated with glass bottles, old solar panels, old white and coloured glasses to decorate.

“Our primary goal is to minimise as much as possible the impact of Auroville’s waste on the environment,” he said.

It is pointed out that the sustained awareness campaign among the households, guest houses, communities, restaurants and organisations working in Auroville has now witnessed a fall in 40% in the use of plastics.

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Printable version | Feb 20, 2020 11:37:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/puducherry/auroville-shows-the-way-in-eco-friendly-lifestyle/article25698910.ece

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