New Delhi: ‘Few years ago, I attended an environment day event, and, I was simply shocked to witness the irony – on one hand we were guiding people on the importance to save the environment with messages like ‘Say no to littering’ while on the other hand at the end of the event we are leaving behind piles of waste, that will obviously end-up landing in our already dying landfills,’ says 27-year-old Tamanna Sharma. This raised the concern of how events in our country end up creating tonnes of waste without any care of how it will be managed, leading Tamanna to start her company Earthling First in 2017, a start-up that deals with the aftermath of events/occasions all over India.
Till today, Earthling First has handled around 15-20 projects and they have been part of bigger events organised by Maruti Suzuki Devils Circuit, Border Security Force (BSF) and Oxfam India. They have successfully diverted approximately 75-90 per cent of the waste generated in these events by managing it through composting and recycling.
Explaining her sustainable model of handling waste, Tamanna added,
When we get an event, first we deploy our staff members on the site (around 20-40 members, depending on the event scale) who are daily wage workers. They are responsible for cleaning the event, then segregating the waste in various categories at source and finally sending the waste either to composting/recycling units in the area.
She further adds,
The motto of the company is to simply connect the dots when it comes to waste management in our country. Over the course of time, we have realised that when you put a right system in place to manage waste, you will definitely be able to save 75-90% of waste that usually ends up going into the landfills. I am simply out there post events, putting that system in place.
Tamanna’s aim is to divert the maximum amount of waste generated in different events back into the society simply by managing it effectively, for this she has partnered with right recycling firms that help her manage the waste. Apart from this, the bigger goal for Tamanna is to make events in India sustainable.
We try and talk to the event managers, guide or educate them on how they can go completely green. We also speak to the caterers and discourage them for using things that cannot be recycled like multi-layered plastics, straws, styrofoam to name the few.
In terms of the achievements, Tamanna pin-pointed one such event and added,
“There was an event in Hyderabad, I spoke with the caterers and educated them how they can save the environment by choosing eco-friendly products. And I was simply amazed to see how that one request worked – they brought tableware that can be composted after usage. For drinks, they used coconut shells without straws. This is how a small request can pave way for a better environment.”
Earthling First started in early 2017, but, the initial four months went just in searching for events that agreed to join hands with the organisation.
There were not many who would agree to work with us, for them it was a new concept. But, we didn’t lose hope and continue to do our bit towards environment by encouraging and motivating them. I believe, it is a duty of every individual to think before they purchase an item – they should know about how that one item will affect the environment for years and then make a conscious choice. Once this rule is followed as a daily habit by each one of us, we will definitely have a better planet, Tamanna signs off.
The company is one of a kind venture that is today out there helping India create waste-free events – from fairs and conferences to concerts and weddings, the company covers it all.
Let’s hope there are more such waste warriors like Tamanna who take responsibility to tackle India’s growing waste in one way or the other.