Have you ever used paper or plastic plates and cups to avoid washing that huge pile of utensils?
For my part, I'd say that yes, I have. It's just so easy to use them, discard them in the dustbin, and have a good night's sleep.
But did you ever wonder where does all of this ultimately go? How does this affect us in the long run? I didn't, unless I stumbled upon Mrs. Sameera Satija's 'Crockery Bank for everyone' page on Facebook. Intrigued by the idea, my team at Farmery decided to set up a meeting with her.
Sameera's story- How it all began
Sameera was appalled whenever she saw any Bhandara, Langar, Chabeel happening in public places. The huge amount of disposables lying on the road, uncollected for days, just never seemed okay to her. These would get stuck in water drains and horticulture iron nets. Sometimes poor animals would swallow them mistaking them for a food item.
She knew that there has to be a way out.
Expecting people to buy crockery in such huge amount was not practical. That's when the idea of Crockery Bank struck!
How the Crockery Bank works
Now the first question that comes to mind is- wouldn't Crockery Bank turn out to be expensive?
Well, Sameera had two principles in mind- it has to be Simple, so it can be replicated and Affordable, so people actually use it.
If you need the utensils, you simply need to drop a message on Sameera's page- ‘Crockery bank for Everyone’. Sameera would get back to you and tie up the pick up.
You'd have to submit a written letter signed by either the RWA or Councillor of the ward conveying the necessary details such as the number of crockery items needed, time span, and more.
If that's not applicable, any two members from the group need to submit copies of two IDs proof each; one proof must be Aadhar Card.
Once picked up, you can use them, wash, and return. There is no rental/charge for using the crockery. So, you are rather saving money than spending it on disposables.
The cost of lost/missing utensils is all that's borne by the borrower.
And there's more to it...
Once Sameera started the Crockery Bank, there was no looking back. She realized how minute changes in our lifestyle can go a long way. Here's what she has to say about it-
- Reuse, Recycle, and Donate Clothes-
Discarding old clothes is one of the biggest contributions we make to our landfills today. We just throw away the clothes that we think that we no longer need. And where does it go? To the landfills, of course.
Instead of throwing away these clothes, she decided to make better use of them. She tries to reuse the clothes as much as possible- making handbags, or pouches, or shoe laces from them.
If that is not possible, she donates the clothes to those in need.
- Reduce the use of single-use disposables-
Anything made for single-use is a disposable that goes to the landfills. It primarily consists of single-use plastics, single-use crockeries and Multi-Layer Packagings (eg. Maggi packets).
Sameera discovered an easy way to use them- making E-bricks! E bricks are made
by stuffing these disposable in plastic bottles. They can then be used to build dog houses, toilets, dustbins, and so much more.
- Avoid shiny gift wrappers-
Many gifts are exchanged between friends and families during several occasions such as a birthday or an anniversary. Sameera says that there's a better way than packing these gifts in those shiny wrappers.
Use paper wrappers or simply newspapers. They look pretty and personalized too!
- Segregate the E-waste-
Any product that runs on a cell or wires is known as an E-waste. These electronics should never be given to the ragman (kabadiwala).
Sameera always hands over the E waste to the CPCB (Central Pollution Control Board) or authorized vendors. These vendors are trained and authorized to treat e-waste in the recommended manner.
Here’s Sameera’s interview with Farmery-
Sameera focused on how to celebrate a clean and green Diwali. But like her, we believe the everything by her can be adopted year long, so every day is ‘clean and green’.
Are you ready to let go of all that plastic and paper?
This blog has been contributed by Shubhankar Srivastava.