Mumbai: India’s plastic pollution is a formidable challenge. Consider this: The country generated 26,000 tons of plastic waste during 2019-2020, out of which only 60 percent was recycled. The remaining 40 percent ended up in landfills or as pollutants in streams or groundwater (Source: Central Pollution Control Board) only because plastic disposed of in filthy condition does not get picked up for recycling and lies around as litter. This World Environment Day, Bisleri, India’s leading brand of bottled water, which has been actively working towards the cause of a cleaner and greener environment has launched India’s first clean plastic segregation and collection center at Marol, Mumbai.
The Bisleri Showcase Centre is a part of the company’s ‘Bottles for Change’ programme, initiated in 2017 and aimed at creating awareness among consumers about plastic pollution and proper methods of plastic waste disposal. Since its inception, Bisleri has been able to recycle more than 6,500 tons of plastic while working alongside local government bodies to create awareness as a part of ‘Bottles for Change’.
Taking a step forward to reaffirm its commitment to a cleaner environment, the center in Marol is conceptualized on the future of segregation. With a capacity to process 25 tons of used plastic per month, the plant is built across 2,400 square feet on a plot provided by MCGM’s (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai)K-East ward. What sets this facility apart is that it showcases how the right method of segregating and disposing of plastic can help tackle the pollution problem. The interiors have been created using 1,50,000 MLP (Multi-layer plastic) recycled bags (biscuits, chips, and chocolate wrappers)as partitions. For 100 sq. ft. area, 100 kgs of recycled hard plastic blocks (hard plastic-like juice containers, food containers, toys, shampoo, conditioner bottles, etc.) have been used to build the entrance ramp, which is strong enough to bear load equal to 30 tons of vehicles.
This revolutionary facility will also serve as a destination to educate citizens on the importance of plastic segregation and recycling. The center displays information about the habitual change, various recycling processes and also exhibits a range of products that can be made using recycled plastic. Aesthetics are not left behind here. The plant also houses a conveyor belt with a bailing machine for the processing of plastic before it is sent directly for recycling. Most importantly, it also ensures clean surroundings and hygienic working conditions for green plastic agents.
Speaking at the launch of the Bisleri Showcase Centre at Marol, Anjana Ghosh, Director Marketing and Our Social Responsibility, Bisleri International Private Limited said, “Bisleri has been working passionately towards the cause of plastic management since the last four years. Our aim is to recycle more than 10,000 MT in the next few years and go beyond. We have commenced various programmes across cities like Mumbai, Delhi, and Chennai, where we work on creating awareness through education seminars in housing societies, corporates, and schools. We are trying to break the widespread notion that plastic alone adds to environmental pollution. Our aim is to educate the public that plastic, by itself, is not harmful. It’s the way of disposing of what makes a difference. The Bisleri Showcase Centre is a landmark in our ‘Bottles for Change’ movement and is a major step towards educating citizens, especially our future generations, about segregation and recycling of plastic for its endless and unlimited potential.”
The project aims to bring about habitual change in society to enable people to clean the plastic, segregate the plastic from their waste and send it for recycling. Bisleri believes that it is necessary for society to stop treating plastic as waste and find solutions to dispose of it responsibly. Bisleri’s multi-city awareness drive spans citizens, corporates, and institutions. The company is actively working with Mumbai Municipal Corporation, South Delhi Municipal Corporation, East Delhi Municipal Corporation, North Delhi Municipal Corporation, Panvel Municipal Corporation, Thane Municipal Corporation, NaviMumbai Municipal Corporation, and Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation.
“This year as a part of the ‘SwachhaSarvekshanAbhiyan’, Delhi has adopted plastic recycling and waste management education through the various municipal corporations in South, East and North Delhi (SDMC, EDMC, and NDMC) The authorities have been an active part of our ‘Bottles for Change’ initiative which is a testament to our efforts. We hope that this will encourage local authorities in other cities as well,” observed Ghosh.
The municipal authorities in Mumbai, Thane, and Navi Mumbai, who have been a part of ‘Bottles for Change’ for over two years now have observed positive changes and a gradual perception shift in terms of plastic segregation and disposal. Pankaj Ghonge, AE, Solid Waste Management Department, K-East Ward, MCGM, said, “We congratulate Bisleri for taking the effort towards clean plastic segregation at source. We have been associated with the company for more than two years now and this center is a result of ground-level awareness as a part of ‘Bottles for Change’. Source segregation of clean plastic and recycling is a solution to the current scenario related to plastic pollution.”
Dr. Babasaheb Rajale, Deputy Municipal Commissioner, Solid Waste Management (SWM), Navi Mumbai Municipal, remarked, “Bisleri’s ‘Bottles for Change’ has been implemented in Navi Mumbai for over two years now. It has helped spread awareness about used plastic management and proper methods of disposal. The response from citizens has been encouraging. In fact, this year we wrote to various housing societies urging them to implement this in their premises. Inculcating behavior change is a difficult task and this team has been doing it successfully.”
Manisha Madan Pradhan, Pollution Control Officer, Thane Municipal Corporation Thane, had this to say about the initiative, “The Thane Municipal Corporation has been working with Bisleri’s ‘Bottles for Change’ for more than two years. This program has helped us tremendously in creating awareness among consumers. The key differentiator here is that citizens are instructed to segregate plastic at their end and then send it for recycling. This has reduced the burden on our resources as we are able to work together with residents. Through this initiative, we have been able to send 200 tonnes of plastic for recycling, instead of it ending up in the landfills.”
Dhairyasheel Jadhav Assistant Commissioner Panvel Municipal Corporation Solid Waste Management Department, said, “We recently permitted Bisleri to implement the ‘Bottles for Change’ program under the aegis of Panvel Municipal Corporation. We want to work together to make this successful as this is in alignment with the ‘Swaccha Bharat Mission’. We encourage every citizen to adopt small steps and start by cleaning and segregating plastic after use.”
Through Bottles for Change, Bisleri has touched over 6 lakh individuals, 800 housing societies, 400 schools and colleges, 500 hotels and restaurants, 500 corporates, 600 awareness sessions. This program has also created a channel and opportunity for plastic agents to collect used but clean plastic (hard as well as soft) through various stakeholders. With the objective to collect clean plastic for recycling, the program also aims to drive social change and help empower the green plastic agents
Bisleri has also worked with corporates such as Indian Oil, Western Railways, NSS Wing of Mumbai University, Bombay Stock Exchange, Godrej, JP Morgan, and Tata Consultancy Services amongst others. Currently, in Chennai, Bisleri is working with Power Grid Corporation of India, Sundaram Medical Foundation amongst others.