One man’s garbage is another’s … compost!

The Constant

Indians generate a whopping 62 million tonnes of garbage every year, an amount that we find hard to visualize in any shape or form. Which, of course, is why cities like Mumbai and Bangalore have been directed to segregate their waste: into organic garbage like vegetable peels, which can be composted, and dry waste like plastic and other materials, which could get recycled … or, more likely, end up in the landfill.

Photo Credit: www.skrap.in

As Divya Ravichandran found out, it’s not too hard to adopt a zero waste-to-landfill lifestyle at home. But in offices and at events … It’s a different story all together. And that’s where her consultancy, Skrap, comes in.

Photo Credit: www.skrap.in

Divya started Skrap in March 2017, because she saw great potential for change as well as a massive need to step in. “More than 90% of our waste can be converted into resources if it’s segregated and managed properly,” she says. And she’s proven that’s possible time and time again.

But let’s backtrack a bit. Before Skrap, Divya’s background was as far removed from the field of sustainability as possible. The Mumbai resident has an MBA in Finance and used to work with the audit and financial consulting firm, Deloitte.

Video Credit: www.skrap.in

In January 2016, Mumbai’s largest dumping ground caught fire; Deonar receives a third of all Mumbai’s waste, about 3,700 metric tons daily, and it burned for days. Divya says this landfill fire played a major role her journey. “It got me to start thinking about the waste I was generating on a daily basis and the manner in which I was disposing this. Because of it, I started diligently segregating my waste, started composting at home, and sent my recyclable waste to a local recycling centre. Within a month, I was able to turn my home into zero waste-to-landfill by reducing my daily garbage from 1kg a day to next to nothing.” In the process, she learned that a few simple steps go a long way to mitigate the garbage crisis.

 

Friends asked her to help them reduce their waste, then small offices and events. And two years down the line, Divya is committed to the cause full-time.

The Variable

Divya now works with organizations of all sizes as well as some pretty big events. Skrap has helped green corporate gatherings, music festivals, even a marathon. She and her team worked with high-profile venues as well as brands at the Mahindra Blues and Jazz Festival in Mumbai as well as Bacardi NH7 Weekender in Pune and the Mahindra Kabira Festival in Varanasi. In some cases, the waste was sent to a biogas plant, to be converted into renewable energy; in others leftover food was donated to the homeless.

Photo Credit: www.skrap.in

With her strategy guiding them, the Mumbai SBI Green Marathon 2018 eschewed not only plastic bottles but also single-use plastic which shows up in packaged nutrition bars and energy foods. Instead, water dispensers were set up along the route and hot meals were cooked and provided to participants. More than 90 percent of the waste was composted (including the eco-friendly cutlery).

Photo Credit: www.skrap.in

Depending on the location, duration, and the kinds of attendees, Skrap designs custom plans for their clients. They’ve also aided many small and mid-sized companies in making their offices zero waste, says Divya.

The Formula

“Our aim is to encourage people and organisations to rethink our relationship with waste. How we generate, manage and dispose it,” she says. “And to nudge them towards more sustainable alternatives.”

Photo Credit: www.skrap.in

Skrap works very closely with event organizers to figure out a waste management strategy. “We get involved right at the planning stage to help ensure the use of sustainable materials at the event. For example, food courts are encouraged to use only reusable or compo-stable plates and cutleries. Food vendors are also requested to avoid using non-recyclable items such as ketchup sachets and instead use bulk dispensers.” The team also works out important, but often overlooked things like bin placement, signage design, and trash collection points. Finally, Skrap identifies local partners such as recycling centers, composting units, biogas plants to get to that final step: making sure that disposal is done responsibly.

The Result

Skrap is focused in Mumbai but open to projects all over India (they’re even hiring!) and Divya says they “hope to make waste management and sustainability the norm at all large events and offices.” On the cards are workshops and awareness sessions centered around the garbage crisis that highlight sustainable alternatives people could look into.

Photo Credit: www.skrap.in

The reactions to Skrap’s efforts have been overwhelmingly positive. “While we did expect people to respond well to our work, what we didn’t expect was to see how deeply the message of sustainability resonates with people,” says Divya. “What makes us happiest is when at the end of a project, trucks are loaded with recyclable, biodegradable and donation materials. It’s always so incredible to see these leave the venue destined for reuse/ recycling, rather than being dumped in landfills.”

QED

 Inspired yet? If your organization, event, or restaurant would like to talk to Skrap about going zero-waste, here’s how you can reach them:

Where: Everywhere in India, but definitely in Mumbai

Contact: divya@skrap.in

Web site: www.skrap.in

Learn more: http://www.developmentchannel.org/2017/08/27/the-great-indian-urban-waste-problem-facts-you-should-know/

 

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