Can plastic be valuable? Learn all about the Bottles for Change recycling initiative in Mumbai

Anjana Ghosh, Director Marketing and OSR of Bisleri International chats with Indulge about their ongoing ‘Bottles for Change’ initiative.

author_img Joy S Published :  03rd November 2019 07:41 PM   |   Published :   |  03rd November 2019 07:41 PM
Anjana Ghosh

Anjana Ghosh

Anjana Ghosh, Director Marketing and OSR of Bisleri International chats with Indulge about their ongoing ‘Bottles for Change’ initiative.

Please elaborate on the initiative Bottles for Change.
People are unaware about the benefits of plastic and easily believe that plastic should be banned. To spread awareness about the recycling of plastic, we started the whole effort in the late-'90s and later evolved the initiative and approached about 200 schools in Mumbai.

We introduced this concept to making them aware that plastic is valuable and can be recycled. The schools and the children actively engaged and supported our concept and helped us in the collection of maximum plastic in a day.

We entered the Guinness Book of World Records for collecting maximum plastic in the shortest time. Last year, we coined this concept and we gave it the name, ‘Bottles for Change’.

For over two years, we’ve been trying to inculcate this thought process in the consumers. We made an effort to personally go to them and educate them not to treat plastic as waste. Once the plastic reaches the pit, it becomes very difficult to segregate. This initiative has helped to create positive thought towards plastic.

What are the benefits of recycled plastics? And in what forms can recycled plastics be used?
Plastic as a packaging material is extremely handy and sturdy. We believe, plastic is a miraculous material and if used wisely and recycled, it does no harm to the environment. Our PET packaging is recyclable multiple times, and we will continue to spread awareness about recycling, and its benefit to each and every citizen.

As we are well aware of the recycled benches, which have recently been placed at the Churchgate Station in Mumbai, what was the idea behind doing this installation at this particular location and how do you feel while contributing to the society?
The idea behind these installations is to catch maximum eye-balls and educate people about the benefits of recycled plastics. The installation will make them understand the value of used plastic and how small steps of segregation can make them fall into the right place, in the recycling chain. It will also raise awareness about the initiative and would attract more and more people to join the same.

In what way are these installations contributing to spread awareness amongst citizens?
As these benches are placed at very prominent and populated places in Mumbai, our daily commuting citizens and pet bottle consumers get to see the actual benefits of recycled plastic, and how in multiple ways, it contributes to the wellness of the society. 

How many recycled benches are made so far? Could you please elaborate on the process involved in making these recycled benches and products?
So far, we have made 25 such benches, to be placed at all prominent locations of Mumbai. 

Could you give us some insights into the process involved in making these benches and products? 
Recycled Plastic benches by Bottles for Change are made from post-consumer mix plastics, that is, MLP, plastic bags/pouches and such soft plastics. The plastic is first shred into small pieces, the shredded pieces are spread in a tray of required thickness, and this tray is further fed into an oven and heated to a particular temperature, then compressed and cooled to form a homogenised board.

The board of size 8 ft x 4 ft is then cut in a CNC machine into desired sizes and shapes, and the bench is assembled. Approximately 40-50 kg of soft plastic goes into the making of one bench. Having being made from plastic, it is waterproof and ideal for outdoor locations.

Where else are you planning to place these benches in Mumbai?
We are planning to place these benches in all prominent places in Mumbai. For now, we have already placed benches at Siddhivinayak Temple. The rest of the other places are in the pipeline.

With the increase in awareness of recycling plastic, what are the strategies Bottles for Change is adopting to sustain the campaign?
Our PET packaging is recyclable multiple times, and we will continue to spread awareness about recycling and its benefit to each and every citizen. Recycling is a sustainable solution, which is the need of the hour.

What is in the pipeline for this initiative?
Bottles for Change received a huge response and appreciation from the stakeholders in Mumbai. Our stakeholders include schools, colleges, corporates and housing societies. Our initiative has grown in this one year and currently, we have 600+ societies, 300+ corporates and 400+ schools and colleges enrolled with us.

As a part of our awareness programme, we will be placing recycled benches across public places in the city. Mumbai is our pilot project and now we have are about to start our operations in Noida too. We want to implement the same model across multiple cities.