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Waste Warriors Of India

“My Waste My Responsibility” With This Mantra, Swachh Brigade Makes Coimbatore Garbage Dump Free

With the idea of segregating one’s own waste at source, No Dumping in Coimbatore is trying to make weddings plastic and waste free

“My Waste My Responsibility” With This Mantra, Swachh Brigade Makes Coimbatore Garbage Dump Free

“My Waste My Responsibility”, is the mantra for No Dumping, a non-profit organisation that aims at having cities without dumpsites. The organisation has been working in the field of waste management since January 2016. From waste collection to segregation to processing and safe disposal of waste, the NGO not only handles waste efficiently, but it is also making weddings and parties go waste free.

Started by three youngsters, Suresh Bhandari, Saranraj and Prashanth, the group has now 15 active members and volunteers who support them in events and in spreading the message of waste management.

The focus is to not burden the landfills with unsegregated, non-recyclable and non-biodegradable waste. To achieve their objective of no dumping, the organisation is helping individuals, organisations, and institutions in segregating and managing the waste.

We started with waste management in 2014. We tried out many ideas and models, but all vent in vain and we failed. It is in 2016 when we successfully initiated No Dumping at Coimbatore airport. The core idea behind this initiative is “cities without dumpsites”. We are working to reduce waste that reaches landfills which indirectly saves resources and saves environment, says Saranraj, co-founder of No Dumping.

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How Does ‘No Dumping’ Work?

Waste is collected from different locations including apartments, associations, and airport. The waste which is collected by the team is already segregated into three broad categories, organic waste, inorganic waste and sanitary waste. The waste segregation is done by the waste generators only. While organic waste is sent for composting, inorganic waste is again separated to recyclable and non-recyclable waste. Recyclable waste goes for recycling and non-recyclable finds use as Alternative Fuel Resource (AFR).

AFR will be carried out as co-processing in plant where they shred the waste into bits and pieces and then use as raw material for furnaces. This process actually eliminates the use of fossil fuels and coal usage in cement and steel plants and also in power generation. This same process is carried out in waste to energy process plants, says Saranraj explaining the process.

As of now, sanitary waste goes to corporation landfill, but the team is working on finding a solution to treat sanitary waste.

“My Waste My Responsibility” With This Mantra, Swachh Brigade Makes Coimbatore Garbage Dump Free

Orange bin for wet waste, red bin for sanitary waste and white bag for dry waste

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How ‘No Dumping’ Makes Weddings Go Plastic Free And Manage Waste

No use of plastic and waste management at wedding or be it at any event is possible only if the caterer and the organisers agree to it”, says P Roopa, community relations and research and development head at No Dumping.

At weddings and parties, disposable plastic cutlery is used without giving a thought to the plastic waste being generated and the burden it will put on landfills. To minimise the use of plastic, the NGO started with ‘No Dumping’ Wedding. Under this initiative, plastic water bottles, glasses, plates are replaced with steel glasses and re-usable plastic tumblers.

Our first choice is always steel. If caterers have enough steel utensils to serve the guests or if we are able to rent adequate amount of steel glasses and plates then we go for that. Else, we use re-usable plastic tumblers with a lid, says P Roopa.

Alternative to plastic disposable cutlery

Reusable plastic tumblers can be used again and again. Clean and rinse the tumblers properly and they are good to go. While plastic cups and bottles and replaced with reusable plastic tumblers, plates are replaced with banana leaves. It is like going back to traditional methods.

One plastic tumbler can replace 20-25 water bottles. Once you have used the plastic tumbler for say 20 times, you can send it for recycling. An additional benefit to this is, the vendor who provides us such reusable plastic tumblers, buys it from us for recycling, tells P Roopa.

Also Read: Swachh Kadam: This Mumbai College Saved 840 Kgs Of Waste That Could Have Ended Up In The City’s Dying Landfills

Along with replacing the cutlery, the team checks the place of the event and recognises the place where waste will be generated like kitchen, juice counter or snacks counter. After identifying the source, two dustbins, each for dry waste and wet waste are kept at every place.

We make volunteers stand near dustbins and educate people about the waste and how it is to be segregated. With this, the waste is segregated at source only which makes the following process simpler. The aim is to make people segregate the waste they generate, says P Roopa.

Not only this, the team urges organisers to use digital media to send invitations and use eco-friendly materialS in decorations. Floral decoration is one of the most viable and feasible options as flowers are compostable, easily accessible and look pretty also.

Let’s not leave any waste in the name of wedding, says P Roopa.

“My Waste My Responsibility” With This Mantra, Swachh Brigade Makes Coimbatore Garbage Dump Free

A comparative study of modern wedding and no dumping wedding

‘No Dumping’ Along With ‘N0 Food Waste’ Seeks To Cut Out Food Waste

Along with managing the waste, the team in collaboration with No Food Waste focusses on no food wastage at weddings and other such events. All the leftover food and water are used wisely without anything going to the landfill. Usually, most of the people don’t finish the water they take or get in a glass. Collectively, all the left over water makes up to huge amount of water. The water is used for watering plants and cleaning purpose. Along with water, a lot of food is wasted during parties. All the waste on table goes for composting. Apart from that, unused and excess food is collected by the team and is distributed among needy.

Recently, No Dumping team was called at a wedding to manage the waste. The team served 2,200 people and ended up segregating 1100kg of compostable wet waste and 100kg of recyclable dry waste.

Also Read: This Mumbai Housing Society Generates Zero Waste Thanks To One Simple Trick

The teams efforts have been recognised by the Prime Minister and this year, on the occasion of third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, the group was awarded for waste segregation.

“My Waste My Responsibility” With This Mantra, Swachh Brigade Makes Coimbatore Garbage Dump Free

Saranraj and Prashanth holding the award

Last month, Governor of Tamil Nadu, Banwarilal Purohit visited the NGO and interacted with the volunteers. He not only understood the process, but also appreciated the efforts of the NGO.

Currently, around 4,000 households have adopted the practice of segregating waste, voluntarily.

No rule, no law can make you segregate and manage waste. It is us who can be the change. If we spend little time and efforts then we can bring a big change. A small change in our behavior and learning process and be the harbinger of change, signs off P Roopa.

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