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The Milk Bag Project (MBP): an initiative that recycled 7.5 Lakh milk packets

Three women were inspired by a viral social media post. This inspiration saved almost 7.5 lakh milk packets from polluting our mother earth. They launched an initiative called the Milk Bag Project.

Correct is the fact that small changes make huge differences.

A social media post stated that instead of cutting the edge of your milk packet, make a slight slit. The slit will be enough to pour out the milk. Also, a lot of plastic can be saved from polluting the land.

pic credits: The Better India


            

In 2019, three friends living in the same neighborhood got inspired by this post. They received the viral post as a WhatsApp forward. As a result, these three friends Kunti Oza, Hansu Pardiwala, and Chitra Hiremath started The Milk Bag Project (MBP).

The idea promoted by the viral post was not a big task. Also, accomplishing it was feasible and practical. And, the friends realized that milk consumption in the city was high. Why? Because the majority of the garbage’s on the beaches is comprised of milk packets. We discussed it among ourselves and decided to do something about it. Kunti Oza, one of the three friends, shared with The Better India.

The viral post promoted keeping bits of plastic intact on the milk packet itself. But, this campaign took the initiative one step further. So, the milk packets were collected and given for recycling.

First of all, the three friends started the initiative in their respective homes. Later, a video was created which explained the process in detail.

As a part of the Milk Bag Project, individuals were asked to wash, dry, and store the whole milk packets instead of throwing them into the dustbin. At month-end, the three friends would collect the plastics and give them for recycling. This entire procedure was converted into a video and shared with as many people as possible. Chitra Hiremath told The Better India in an interview.

The initiative of The Milk Bag Project (MBP) is not new to these women. The three friends have been contributing to environmental and waste management causes for many years now.

Hanshu Pardiwala works for an organization called Har Ghar, Hara Ghar. Kunti Oza has been working to clean Mumbai as one of the Chairperson of the Clean Mumbai Foundation. And Chitra Hiremath is associated with the organization called Garbage Free India.

On realizing the potential and opportunity in plastic waste management, they decided to invest their time and energy into it.

The three friends spoke about two recyclers on board. They are Dalmia Polypro and Shakti Plastics. Initially, there is no cost for the entire process. But later, the women had to pull two employees to collect the plastics.

OVERCOMING CHALLENGES TO MAKE AN IMPACT

Although, the trio faced many challenges. They not only overcame it but also made the initiative successful.

Any such initiative which requires a daily habit and is thoughtful is not easy to promote. It is only through continuous efforts that they could motivate people to participate.

Another big obstacle the women faced was on the recycler’s end. Usually, the recyclers will not accept less than 80 Kg or 100 Kg of plastic. Thus, till the team collected the minimum quantity, they had to store the plastics in their own homes.

To date, these women have motivated around 82 entities. These entities include residential colonies, a restaurant like Leopard Cafe and Hotel Diplomat, and local vendors.

Kunti says that even to date, people from Bangalore, Delhi, and Thane are sending milk bags for the Milk Bag Program (MBP).

At the recycling unit, the milk packets are washed and processed. They are converted into other usable plastic items.

Around 2.5 Lakh plastics were sent for recycling in the initial period. But, later on, it saw a big halt due to the pandemic. The initiative had to wait because people had other problems to deal.

Things are better now, so the Milk Bag Project has resumed.

This kind of motivation and perseverance among environment-conscious people sparks a new ray of hope to protect and preserve our Mother Earth.

Statistically, 79 percent of the total plastic waste is, dumbed into the wastelands. But, the numbers do not say anything about the amount of plastic that, could be reused.

Thus, we see a lot of potentials is there. Maybe, significant ideas could bring a big change in the management of plastic waste.

The only thing we need to do is start the Milk Bag Initiative in our own homes. Promote it and be persistent about the cause. By this, we will be able to motivate more and more people.

Also, these initiatives will provide jobs to the poor and boost the economy.

If you want to contribute to the Milk Bag Project Initiative, you can contact [email protected]

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