Benches made of Tetra Pak cartons for public use!
You can now find four new eco-friendly benches installed at the Bombay Port Trust’s (BPT) Sagar Upvan garden in Colaba.
Inaugurated on Sunday, it was part of an initiative led by the city-based non-profit organisation RUR Greenlife, and the end result of a three-year effort of collecting and recycling over thousands of Tetra Pak cartons that were transformed into usable furniture.
The public was initially encouraged to drop the used cartons off at Sahakari Bhandar, Colaba.
“This gave us the space to start a collection centre. We collected thousands of Tetra Pak cartons of milk, curd and aerated drinks. We used to create awareness at Colaba-specific events about the importance and possibility of recycling cartons”, Cynthia D’Mello, who is the trustee of My Dream Colaba, told MidDay.
The initiative is the brainchild of Renu Kapoor, who is a member of Colaba Area Locality Management. “I started the initiative after I met two women at a workshop, where they were teaching participants how to make jewellery out of waste. The public will see how Tetra Pak cartons can be transformed,” she said.
Installing collection centres where people could drop-off used cartons at various locations, the initiative had its own share of obstacles. After finding some of the cartons that were deposited for recycling being stolen, they had to make sure the collection centre was secured with a lock.
“At an earlier venue, we noticed that empty Tetra Pak cartons being deposited for recycling were getting filched. We decided to have these benches in a garden, as they tend to get encroached when they are on public roads, with vagrants using them as makeshift shelters. There is security in a park”, Renu added.
The organisation that was behind the initiative has so far introdcued 80 garden benches that can seat two to three individuals, including the ones in Colaba.
“We have 44 collection points across the city. We need roughly 4,500 Tetra Pak cartons for one school desk and 6,500 Tetra Pak cartons for a bench,” Monisha Narke, founder-CEO of RUR, said.
Monisha also explained that initiatives like this are a joint effort, involving Tetra Pak companies, space for collection centres, ALMs and the community. “It is important for locals to see such benches and other recycled products, so that they are inspired to emulate these efforts in their areas,” she added.
Initiatives like this stand as a great example of how collective action towards environmental conservation can be formalised into reality using things that we deem as waste.
Way to go, guys!
You can reach out to RUR Greenlife at firstname.lastname@example.org.