Almost every city in India has landfills with untreated toxic waste, including wet, dry and some electronic waste as well. Some of them have become so huge that are cause for concern – especially with the danger of fire due to excess release of methane gas and pollution of both land and groundwater.
To create a difference with efficient waste management, Divya Ramachandran founded a sustainable startup, Skrap in 2017 with the aim of helping organisations, offices, gatherings, and events in Mumbai implement zero waste and eco-friendly solutions. It has also conducted over 40 waste-free events.
These events include Bacardi NH7 Weekender, YouTube Fan Fest 2018, Mahindra Blues Festival, and worked with organisations like Insider.in, MiQ, and others.
According to Divya, Skrap has an eight-step process to organise a zero-waste event which is divided into three phases – pre-event, event, and post-event.
Speaking to NDTV, Divya said,
“Let’s first understand the importance of being involved during the planning of an event as that is the perfect time for us to intervene. Pre-event includes working with the organisers and ‘assessing’ the kind of material to be used during the event. We identify non-recyclable items and ‘recommend’ reusable or compostable alternatives. For instance, at some event, we want to make the food court a plastic-free zone.”
“We will pose questions to get the basic details like ‘how will you be serving beverage, food, water?’ Based on their initial preference, we suggest replacing plastic with reusable cutlery and tableware like steel and ceramic, if that’s not feasible, we propose compostable products – one made using areca or banana or sugarcane bagasse. Finally, we share draft ‘communications’ on zero waste for various stakeholders including attendees, food vendors, and produce stalls.”
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Later, the team of Skrap installs colour-coded dustbins for wet and dry waste for waste segregation at source. The startup also looks after the training of housekeeping staff and food stall vendors to maintain the waste management process. The team has also tied up with various NGOs to expand its ground operations.
Speaking to Verve Magazine on the process, Divya said,
“It’s a big challenge in India because a lot of people aren’t even familiar with segregation terms. Our objective is to make it as easy as possible for them to follow waste segregation. We also place our volunteers there, so that they can quickly separate the waste and guide people. We feel when there’s some kind of intervention and when somebody’s monitoring the bins, people tend to be on their best behaviour, or at least they try to make more of an effort to segregate the waste.”
The startup also urges organisers to talk about their events as zero-waste-festivals, what it means, and how the attendees can help in waste management. The team also organises pre-event social media marketing around the zero-waste event being conducted.