With thousands of people being added to urban India every day and a generation of more than 50 million tonnes of trash yearly, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to realise that we have a problem. A problem whose solution lies in innovative methods, a holistic approach, and a strategy that works at making zero (waste) the hero. Skrap Waste Management Solutions, a company founded by the young and exceedingly enterprising Divya Ravichandran, is one that provides solutions that help reduce the negative environmental impact caused by the waste generated at an event or by an organization, help brands connect with sustainability-conscious customers, besides helping cut costs by identifying beneficial opportunities, apart from other resolutions.

 

WASTE NOT, WANT NOT
"Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire."

 

Ideas often shape history. But there are times when a happenstance shapes an idea. And then everyone wonders how no one thought of doing something that way before. So, when the massive fire that broke out in the Deonar dumping ground in 2015 played a major role in Divya setting up Skrap, it was like the universe conspired to set something right. "This horrific incident prompted me to start taking more responsibility for the waste I was generating and the manner in which I was disposing it," begins Divya. "I started segregating my waste, diligently, set up a composter at home, and identified a recycler who would accept my recyclable waste. After a few months of experimentation and learning, I was able to turn my home into zero waste-to-landfill by reducing my daily garbage from 1kg a day to next to nothing." Surprised by how much her garbage had reduced, and how a few simple steps can have a huge positive impact on easing the garbage crisis, a few eager friends and family requested her help in reducing the garbage in their homes. Seeing their homes go down to zero waste within a few months, she gradually started working with offices and events to help reduce the garbage they generate and Skrap thus had its humble yet powerful beginnings.

 

WEALTH FROM WASTE
There is no such thing as 'away'. When you throw something away, it must go somewhere.
- Annie Leonard

 

In essence, Skrap helps to turn waste into wealth for our ecosystem, both environmentally and economically. They begin very simply by working to build awareness and a behaviour change on waste segregation and reduction. They have an end-to-end waste management process for offices, parties, and larger events like music festivals. Once waste segregation has been implemented, they divert the food waste away from dumping grounds; where they would normally emit harmful greenhouse gases, and instead convert this into nutrient-rich compost that nourishes the soil. This recyclable waste (such as paper, plastic, metal, glass) is collected and given to NGOs or recyclers, who in turn, convert these into new and different products.

 

"We focus on solid waste management consultation and implementation at offices and events," explains Divya. "At the offices we work with, we run zero waste projects, with an aim of reducing the amount of waste sent to the landfills by around 80-90%. These are long-term projects that are aimed at inculcating a behaviour change towards the way we consume and discard resources. Skrap focusses more on building awareness, setting up an effective waste segregation infrastructure, and reducing wastage (of food waste, paper cups, tissue papers, etc.) at our client's premises." While waste management companies provide different solutions for different waste streams such as composting, bio gas plants, dry waste recycling, e-waste recycling, etc., Skrap partners with various players in the waste management space to provide their clients with access to these varied and numerous sustainable solutions.

 

TACKLING THE TASK
Once you need less, you will have more.

 

Skrap has had the joy of working with people and spaces that are passionate about reducing their carbon footprint and managing their waste in a responsible manner. From companies like OML (Only Much Louder), to office parties to events like the YouTube FanFest and Bacardi NH7 Weekender, the response to the company's zero waste projects has been incredible. So incredible that they have reduced waste by 80-90% with those they've worked with! "Depending on the scale, complexity, and duration of a project, the commercials could vary anywhere between INR 30,000 to INR 2,50,000," points out Divya. "We plan to work with more event organisers and hope to make waste management the norm at large events. We will start working with restaurants as well to help them go zero waste. Our strategy involves carrying out more awareness building sessions around the garbage problem in our cities, in addition to discussing sustainable alternatives that folks can adopt, among other approaches."

 

ZERO WASTE CITIES
The greatest threat to our planet, is the belief that someone else will save it.
- Robert Swan

 

We often hear the words smart cities or smart communities being thrown around in the media or in any conversation on environmental issues. But how can we, in our humble capacity as individuals, be smart and reduce our overall carbon footprint? Segregating our waste, refusing disposable plastics, using public transportation, are just three small ways among a range of others that Divya suggests we can directly implement. Once we understand that people's apathy towards the garbage crisis often stems from a lack of awareness about waste, the biggest hurdle to cross in adopting zero waste is that it requires a shift in habits. "Sensitising people on how their waste is disposed, the toxicity it generates, and the environmental damage it causes, is critical in helping change their waste disposal habits," believes Divya. "Once sensitised, most people welcome waste management initiatives. Millennials and Generation Z especially tend to be more environmentally conscious and are quite excited about being able to reduce their waste."

 

The waste management bandwagon is one that is not just easy, but also important to get onto to ensure the paving of a road to zero waste cities and a sustainable future for the country. With initiatives by companies like Skrap and enterprising people like Divya and her team, we are definitely taking a step in the right direction, provided we do our part to listen, learn, and implement.

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