You must have heard of people making money from selling recycled cloth bags, upcycled discarded bottles and even the most basic waste item i.e. newspapers.
But this old-age home is functioning on the sale of waste.
In a one-of-its-kind initiative, Dr Avinash Vaidya, founder of Shri Shankar Maharaj Seva Mandal, a charitable trust in Pimpri-Chinchwad (an extended area of Pune) is running an old-age home for destitutes and the abandoned by selling different types of waste like plastic, newspapers, electronics and so on.
Go Green with your writing and your art! It’s time to switch from regular pencils to these awesome ones made from newspapers. Check out eco-friendly stationery here.
He started the initiative five years ago to run his old-age home — ‘Sneh Sawali-Aapla Ghar’, in Kiwali gaon, Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal area, which provides basic facilities like food, clothing, shelter and medicine to the elderly.
However, lack of donations pushed Dr Vaidya to look for alternate funding options.
“I have been working as a pathologist for the last 30 years and I have seen the kind of health and emotional troubles that elderly face frequently. I really wanted to help them and finding an alternate way was important. That is how the idea of selling waste to recyclers popped up,” the 60-year-old tells The Better India.
But why waste?
The Trust has been an advocate of pro-environment activities since its inception. Every year, the trust members collect old and torn clothes and employ women from underprivileged backgrounds to stitch cloth bags to fight against plastic carry bags.
Another reason is that people do not mind giving their raddi to us. It won’t affect their financial condition if they do not earn money from scrap. It was not very challenging to implement this practice, adds Dr Vaidya.
The waste model, christened as Scrap Bank of India, is simple. The trust collects waste, mainly newspapers, from the citizens or they drop the raddi (paper waste) at Dr Vaidya’s clinic.
The trust has tie-ups with local recyclers who buy the collected waste regularly. Seeing the noble efforts, many recyclers even purchase the waste at a rate higher than the usual market rates.
As per Dr Vaidya, the trust, on an average, is helped by thousands of waste donors each month that fund more than 50 per cent of the trust’s activities.
Medical expenses of the senior citizens are also met with the money earned from selling the scrap, “We spend close to Rs 8,000 on every citizen each month and even finance their surgeries, medical emergencies, tests and so on.”
Presently, there are around 12 people living in the house which has a capacity of 25. With this bank’s successful run, Dr Vaidya hopes to take more elderly under his shelter.
In addition to the old age home, the trust also carry out other welfare activities.
Dr Vaidya’s first ever social cause was a blood donation drive he had carried out as an 18-year-old. Since that drive, he has conducted 1,500 blood donation camps.
The trust also funds the education of higher secondary students and in the last four years, it has helped 25 students pursue graduation, masters, and PhD.
It is interesting to see how Dr Vaidya and his team – Ashatai Patrudkar, Digambar Uchgaonkar, Prashant Tamhankar and Jitendra Uttamchandani are solving two problems with a simple thought.
If you wish to donate, you can reach out to the trust at: 9579225098 or 9404830160
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)