In a day, 30-something Rakesh Kumar and Udayeshwar Singh make nearly 200 sheets of hand-made recycled paper. They don’t know of the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), yet they are helping reduce India’s carbon footprints.
Both Kumar and Sharma work at the Delhi government’s paper recycling unit at the Secretariat. On an average, nearly 30 kg of waste paper is generated daily at the Secretariat. This waste is converted into hand-made paper which, in turn, is used to make files.
Since the unit’s installation in 2005, it has been making nearly 72,000 files per year. These files are consumed by the Secretariat. “We save on the money for new files and also on waste disposal,” said the Department’s Senior Scientific Officer Dr B.C. Sabat.
The process is not difficult. It is so simple that hundreds of schoolchildren across Delhi are converting their daily paper waste to recycled paper using the same method with units supplied by the department.
The process of actual recycling takes place at the Secretariat after which the papers are sent out to make files and for printing. “We have outsourced this to an NGO Development Alternatives, which prepares the files and does the printing on it,” Dr Sabat said.
And it’s not just the Secretariat’s paper waste that gets recycled. Departments like Sales Tax and the Transport Department too send in their paper waste this unit.
The cost works out to be just Rs 1 per kg for input (waste paper) and Rs 3.25 per complete file cover.
Sanjay Bajaj of Sanjay Stationers from Hauz Khas, says, “The cost of a simple file ranges between Rs 4 and Rs 10. A conventional office file costs Rs 7 per piece. In bulk deals it comes down to Rs 6 at the most.”
The entire process is not just environmentally sound but is also economical.
So, are the other Delhi government offices going in for it?
Secretary Environment of Delhi government Dharmendra (he goes by one name only) said, “Space constraint has limited our expansion.”
However, apart from the one unit at the Secretariat, there are about 100 schools which are already running paper-recycling units provided by the department. These not just recycle their own waste paper, but also cater to schools in their respective neighbourhood.
“I hope we’ll be able to add to the capacity when the Metcalfe Road secretariat building becomes functional next year,” he said.
With increasing awareness about green techniques and the damage to the environment by cutting trees, the only viable option to replace wood pulp in the conventional method is paper recycling. Delhi government has done it already.
Are the other government offices in Delhi — or for that matter, the corporate offices — reading this?