Housing society in Warje adopts ‘utensil library’ initiative for zero waste generation - Hindustan Times
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Housing society in Warje adopts ‘utensil library’ initiative for zero waste generation

ByGayatri Vajpeyee
Aug 27, 2023 12:11 AM IST

The Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), an independent cell of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, has initiated a project on the campus, to share the necessary utensils on the occasion of various events where food is being served

PUNE As the festival season draws near, events like family get-togethers, social gatherings and free distribution of meals at religious events will be planned. This will result in garbage as well as plastic and paper waste. City-based educational institute and a private housing society have implemented an innovative utensils library with a zero-waste generation technique to reduce waste generation during festivities.

A zero-waste approach entails responsible production, consumption, and disposal of products in a closed, circular system. (HT PHOTO)
A zero-waste approach entails responsible production, consumption, and disposal of products in a closed, circular system. (HT PHOTO)

The Centre for Sustainable Development (CSD), an independent cell of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics, has initiated a project on the campus, to share the necessary utensils on the occasion of various events where food is being served.

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A zero-waste approach entails responsible production, consumption, and disposal of products in a closed, circular system. This means that resources are reused or recovered as much as possible and minimises pollution.

Under the initiative, various utensils like plates, spoons, and glass made of steel have been stored and they will be given to those who need them for events that too free of cost. The utensils should be cleaned and restored in the library by the borrower after the programme.

Aditi Deodhar, a member of the CSD cell and project in charge, said, “The initiative aims to reduce waste generation and reuse the available options.”

“On June 30, we organised a roundtable for the centre which was a complete zero-waste event, with snacks and tea served in steel and ceramic cutlery. We have kept these utensils at the centre and borrowed them for other events at the Gokhale Institute,” said Deodhar.

While Gokhale Institute has implemented such a project for the first time, a housing society in Warje, Rahul Park, has been implementing such a project for the last five years.

Shirish Kothwal, a member of the housing society, said, “Our society has nearly 150 flats and children of all age groups are there in big numbers. So now and then there are functions like birthday parties, naming ceremonies, and others. So, members used to bring use and throw items for such functions which generated a lot of plastic waste.”

“Therefore, we wanted to implement the initiative in our society. After discussing this idea, only 16 families agreed to participate in the initiative in the beginning. With contributions from everyone, we brought plates, bowls, spoons, and glasses that are needed for any family or society function and started using them,” said Kothwal.

“We also took time to spread awareness about the initiative among other members of society,” he said.

“To date, 80 per cent of members of our society have taken benefit of this initiative, said Kothwal.

“Earlier, we only had a meal set including small plates, big plates, bowls, spoons, and glass. But over the period over 350 varieties have been added to the library and over 285 events were organised,” Kothwal added.

Benefits of utilising reusable items

Such an initiative has a significant positive impact on the environment as it reduces the generation of plastic waste. Zero waste generation ultimately resulted in the reduction of carbon emissions from the waste as well as the management process.

Why single-use cutlery should not be used

*As per information from the CSD cell, single-use cutlery is made of plastic.

*Plastic does not decompose but degrades into very small pieces called microplastics.

*Microplastics are later mixed into our water sources as they are been dumped in open places in many areas in the city. The liquid leached from such items contaminates the land as well as the water.

*Recycling of these products also has limitations.

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