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My Story: ” My Search For An Ecofriendly Dustbin Liner Ended With greenBUG “

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There used to be one waste bin at home which we would keep outside every day and a sanitation worker would come and collect it. We never lined it and in the evening after parents came back from work, we would wash it and keep it inside and we repeated the process. Somewhere during the early 2000s the invention of plastic trash bags happened. In no time they flooded the markets and had very many takers. This just compounded the problem of trash collection and disposal.

In the last 10-15 years with the advent of plastic, I see plastic around me like never before. Just as plastic is all-pervasive, it has entered the dustbins as liners as well. Dustbin liners make sure there is less smell and mess to deal with. 

gree nBUG
Dustbin liner made of upcycled newspaper.

I had a child a few years back and my perspective about waste started changing. I noticed that the waste in my house phenomenally increased and I kept thinking this is just one house in Bangalore city. What would happen if every house across Bangalore and India generated a lot of waste? Will we be giving a livable planet to our children and the future generations? This uneasy question kept disturbing me.

One day I took my daughter to a plantation drive as we were digging the pits to plant our saplings. I noticed that the land was full of plastic waste such as toothbrushes, disposable plastic covers, shampoo bottles, chocolate wrappers etc., nearby there were some old trees and trees had plastic jetting out of them. This shattered my heart and made me wonder. What kind of planet am I leaving behind for my future generations?

I decided to take steps to tackle this menace staring at us. I have been segregating waste into wet (kitchen waste), dry (recyclable waste) and reject waste (goes to landfills). I have been able to reduce reject waste to almost zero. I have started taking vegetables and fruits directly from the farm thereby reducing plastic from this to zero. However, groceries and other consumables still do bring plastic waste. I also noticed that I was lining my dustbins with plastic liners and these needed to go as well.  While we may or may not be able to do much for packaging of the products we can definitely do something about the plastic dustbin liners.

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Why are plastic dustbin liners bad?

Plastic dust bin liners go hand in hand with the lack of segregation of waste at source. Combined kitchen waste, reject waste such as diapers and recyclable waste such as bottles, papers etc., in the same dustbin with plastic liners means that municipal workers take away waste in knotted up plastic liners which get transported to landfills and thus we have mountains of landfills around our cities. This is extremely detrimental to our environment and our country. 

Some cities such as Bangalore are attempting to impose garbage segregation at source and minimise the waste that goes into landfills. Plastic liners are not compostable and hence even if garbage segregation does happen and kitchen waste is kept in dustbins with plastic liners it leads to them not being able to be composted. 

Search for a solution?

One thing that plastic liners had taught me is that cleaning the dustbins is easier to manage in this fast-paced world with dustbin liners. I tried eco-friendly dustbin liners seen in the market, however, they are not really eco-friendly, they also take a long time to decompose you see. I tried spreading newspapers dustbin as liners but the domestic helper would find it difficult to line it herself, I would have to keep showing her or do it myself and this wasn’t practical for me on a day to day basis. If the dustbins weren’t lined properly there would be leakage and spillage. While I was grappling with this problem and trying to find a sustainable solution I came to know about greenBUG which makes eco-friendly newspaper liners which are completely decomposable. 

I came to know that Arun was dealing with a similar problem and hence designed a dustbin liner bag out of newspapers. It is essentially made out of newspaper and starch. My own experience of using these dustbin liners has been that it is indeed very helpful to manage waste disposal using dustbin liners. 

Birth of greenBUG

Arun Balachander and Jyoti Pahadsingh thought of spreading this meaningful invention to as many people around them as possible so that they could play a crucial part in reducing plastic wastage. Thus, began the journey of greenBUG. This truly eco-friendly newspaper liners are available on Amazon as well as on their website. They also offer a subscription option so that you never run out of them.

Empowering women

Interestingly, buying greenBUG dustbin liners also empowers poor women who make these dustbin liner bags. Shifting to eco-friendly newspaper liners gives me peace of mind as I am not contributing towards polluting the environment. At the same time, the disposal of wet and reject waste has never been easier. It also helps me in ensuring that I do garbage segregation effectively and in reducing the waste that goes to the landfills while empowering women.

The story behind this is that while looking to scale this model to reach many customers they made a choice to train and allow women to make these dustbin liner bags. They have chosen women who are unable to step out of home and don’t have a fixed amount of time available every day. They give these very poor women training and every week a person gives them newspapers and gum, and the women give them dustbin liner bags at the end of the week. They make these bags whenever they have time during the week. This opportunity to work from home with flexible options helps these women get some much needed financial support for themselves, their family and some much-needed respect. 

While I chose greenBUG as an assistant in my journey to manage, segregate and dispose of waste. What are you doing to tackle the growing problem of plastic, plastic liners and reduction of waste generation? Tell us. We would like to gladly hear more such stories.

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Goonj Is Working With 1000’s Of Volunteers & Partner NGOs To Provide Covid-19 Relief In 18 States

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With the extension of the lockdown the crisis of migrant labourers and daily wagers has just grown bigger due to uncertainty and fear of future. In the migrant colonies, slums and for people in the villages hunger and desperation is building up day by day. This is high time we step up our efforts to support our people who are in dire need of food and hygiene essentials to survive the pandemic, Covid-19.

After the India-wide lockdown, a lot of jobless migrant workers are stuck in cities with hardly any resources while many started retreating back to their villages. With the loss of livelihoods, a large number of them are now struggling to support their families.

Goonj activated its pan India teams and a pan India network of partner organizations and volunteers in urban and rural India. This network, built over the last two decades, helps them learn from the ground, reach material quickly and review and adapt strategy periodically. Intensifying this network has helped Goonj reach and start work across 17produced states/UT in the last three weeks.
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KHAANACHAHIYE: Fighting Hunger In COVID19

96,21,319 Raised
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Goonj’s focus: 

Majority of the Covid-19 relief work by non profits right now is in the metros and cities but Goonj is the only non profit that is also simultaneously focusing on the people in the villages and the ones stuck on highways or somewhere.

Goonj is targeting daily wagers, migrants and other vulnerable groups, who even traditionally are left out like the disabled, sex workers, LGBTQ community.

“COVID-19 is a crisis, yes…But, it’s also an opportunity for us to build the society anew. Not ‘for’ the people…but, ‘with’ the people. And in the process, we will build ourselves too.” – Anshu Gupta, Founder-Director, Goonj.

Direct Monetary and Material Transfer

Wherever Goonj got the permission to open their centres for packing and disbursement of relief material kits, they are creating a kit consisting of 20-30 kgs material including dry rations, masks, sanitary pads and other hygiene material and reaching them to people, as per needs and as per regulations with all safety precautions. This kit will help a family survive for 30 days.

Information till 10th April 2020:

  • Distributed 15,100 ration kits reaching thousands of people
  • Reached 17,700 families
  • Supporting 12 community kitchen across India with 16,600kgs of ration
  • 77,800 food packets provided to migrant laborers and daily wagers walking on the roads across the country.
  • Provided direct financial support to 32 organisations
  • Made 42,800 cloth face masks
  • 24,900 cloth sanitary napkins produced
  • Produced 1500 litres of organic sanitiser

In Goonj’s processing centers its trained team of women are making cloth face masks and cloth sanitary pads (MY-Pads), keeping all the precautions and with the permission and cooperation of the local authorities.

In this lock-down phase if you are facing any difficulty getting sanitary pads or you are running out of stock, here’s a detailed but very simple process of making Cloth Pads at home created by Goonj. “This is how we make Goonj MY Pads.” This is how our mothers and grandmothers turned their spare cloth into pads.

This disaster, unlike any other, is unprecedented in its scale and impact and that’s why we all must do our bit with Goonj to continue its relief work for millions of people in this still unfolding long-tailed disaster.

The need is huge.. We are there.. Need You too !!

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Quote
It's not how much we give
but how much love we put into giving.
- Mother Theresa Quote
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