Meet the Delhi teacher who recycles juice and milk cartons

  • Neha Pushkarna, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Jun 05, 2015 10:48 IST

Do you know that the little cartons of juice that you drink from can be recycled into notebooks, bags or even furniture?

Sapna Sukul, a teacher from Vasant Kunj, found this out three years ago.

And Sukul, ever since has been collecting Tetra Pak cartons wherever she goes — be it high-tea events at embassies or a party with friends in a club or family lunches at a restaurant.

“Most people just throw away these cartons, when they can be recycled. All layers of such cartons are useful,” said 46-year-old Sukul.

She started collecting cartons and sending them for recycling after collaborating with TERI for a school programme. With that started her mission of recycling, which has now spread through her neighbourhood, family and relatives. She gets them in touch with a Tetra Pak recycler who sends in a truck to collect cartons from their doorstep.

According to rough estimates, she has either collected or facilitated the collection of nearly 1500 kilograms of cartons for recycling in the last three years.

At Sukul’s home, every carton of juice, milk, chhachh, tomato puree, and cream is taken care of and sent for recycling. “My mother-in-law, who lives in Noida, also sends me these cartons collected from her neighbourhood. I once went to a party and saw that they were throwing away juice cartons. I asked them to give them to me. They first laughed and then handed me a bag full,” she recalled.

At another instance, she gathered all the cartons from a club and filled her car with them.

“Our car stank, but my family understood,” she says. Sukul now wants to take her quest for cartons to schools, restaurants and localities across the city.

Tetra Pak cartons are made of paperboard, polyethylene and aluminium. After recycling, the paperboard can be used to make paper, tissue rolls while the other two can be recycled into roof tiles, pots and furniture.

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