A viral social media post inspired three women — Kunti Oza, Hansu Pardiwala, and Chitra Hiremath — to save 7.5 lakh plastic milk packets from going into landfills and polluting the planet.
The post detailed how even a small action like cutting the corners off of milk packets could contribute to massive amounts of pollution — these snipped off bits escape filters and reach the earth, entering the food chain and waterbodies.
Your simple act of cutting milk sachet can have detrimental effect on the solid waste management of your city.
— www.urbanvoices.in (@urbanvoicesin) March 12, 2019
Inspired by this, the Mumbai-based friends started their initiative, the Milk Bag Project (MBP), in 2019. The idea was to collect empty plastic milk packets and recycle them.
Here, people are instructed to wash, dry, and save the milk packets instead of throwing them away. Then, at the end of each month, the trio collect the packets and send them ahead to a plastic recycler.
For the project, they worked with two recyclers, Dalmia Polypro and Shakti Plastics. Their biggest challenge was collecting enough bags, since such vendors only accepted a minimum of 80 to 100 kg of plastic bags. Till they’d collected the desired amount, the trio stored the packets in their homes.
Today, they’ve tied up with over 80 entities, including societies, restaurants, and local tea vendors, as sources of milk packets. They also get boxes of packets to be recycled from Bangalore, Delhi, and Thane.
At the recycling units, the vendors wash and dry the packets, and then cut them up into small pieces. Through a machine, the pieces are then processed into plastic granules, and used to make products like garbage bags, reusing the plastic instead of sending it to landfills.
Edited by Divya Sethu