This Central govt employee from Gurugram fights plastic pollution with a free steel utensils bank
Sameera Satija’s ‘Crockery Bank For Everyone’ has got every kind of steel utensil, which can be borrowed for huge gatherings by dropping in a message on the initiative’s Facebook page.
With India holding off on a blanket ban on single-use plastic, the sight of plastic waste piling up on streets and clogging up drains is not set to be expunged anytime soon. But, a conscious eschewing of plastic products, such as bags, cutlery, and other disposable items, has certainly taken hold across the country, thanks to the recent initiatives for curbing their use.
Towards bringing about a larger change in plastic usage, 45-year-old Sameera Satija, a Central government employee from Gurugram, has taken a considerable step by setting up a steel utensil bank.
From spoons to plates, Crockery Bank For Everyone has got all kinds of utensils, and is focussing on meeting large-scale needs for social and religious gatherings.
The bank provides it all for free. Anyone wanting to lay their hands on the utensils just needs to drop in a message through the initiative’s Facebook page. They can then collect the required utensils from the bank by showing government-approved ID cards. The bank asks users to wash and dry the utensils after using them and drop them back at no cost.
Sameera, speaking to Gurgaon Moms, said,
“One simply has to give a written letter signed by either his RWA or councillor of the ward conveying the number of crockery items required, date, days, etc. If neither of the above is possible, any two members from the group may give copies of two IDs each; one proof must be Aadhaar card.”
This idea of saving on plastic with steel struck Sameera on June 22, 2018, when she started serving only steel glasses at the chhabeel (free water service in the Sikh religion) and steel plates at the bhandara (free meal service) at her community’s gatherings.
Over time, Sameera’s initiative has motivated other communities to open up branches of the bank across the city, which are being run by citizens like Sameera voluntarily.
When asked by Sheroes why she avoids charging a fee on her initiative, Sameera said,
“Because I want to motivate more and more people to use the bank where they feel that they are saving money as well as the environment. And my reason to start this free service is to reduce the usage of disposable plastic. Within four months of its launch, I have been able to save 1, 00, 000 items of disposable plastic, and around nine branches have been set up in Gurugram and Delhi.”
The efforts have yielded other positive results, as Sameera is also seeing borrowers adding utensils to the bank in return.
With the cleaning of these utensils posing a major task, the unique bank has chosen to use the organic soapnut or reetha powder to spruce up its assets. The volunteers go one step further for sustainability by using the wastewater generated to water plants.
(Edited by Athirupa Geetha Manichandar)
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