How 2 Women are creating "Green Footprint" around us
May 12th , 2018 | Devishree M.
What does it takes to manage our waste ?
This is the story of two busy professional women with a common passion for the environment. It was in 2010 when my friend, Veena Krishnan, a lawyer and I, Devishree M., a food technologist connected with a common cause – what does it take to manage our waste? It started with a simple question and years later after several implementations and innumerable experiences, Green Footprint, a culmination of our passion and dream, was born.
Veena and I first attempted to understand the mechanics of waste segregation and recycling by implementing and setting up systems at our apartment complex at Bangalore, Shriram Spandhana, a thriving community consisting 500 flats spread across 32 blocks. We identified the various waste streams generated, made brochures with pictures depicting them and did a pilot waste segregation project in the blocks we live. The next challenge was to communicate to the residents and request them to stop dumping all their waste in one plastic bag and dispose waste into three different colour coded bins - dry waste (yellow); wet waste (green) and medical waste (red). We implemented this process by collecting only the dry waste from 2 blocks (32 flats) and collected close to 900 kgs of waste in 6 months’ time. The dry waste was further sorted into 12 different streams such as high value plastic, low value plastic, glass bottles, paper, foil, etc. which were sent for recycling.
Lets hand over a clean and green world to the children
The success of this pilot gave us the confidence to expand the process, and we launched the waste management process across the entire apartment complex in October 2012. Segregation of waste was not mandated by the State of Karnataka then and it was a purely voluntary initiative. We systematically implemented this process in our apartment with the help of various block volunteers. The block volunteers were the key to ensuring that the process was communicated to all residents and maintained over a period of time. The process was refreshed and implemented 4 times over a period of 8 years, with an in-house composter during the 3rd implementation.
Equipped with this experience, Veena and I founded our organization, Green Footprint (GFP) in 2016. The main objective was to hand over a clean and green world to the children. We commenced working with apartments, offices and other institutions, customising the solutions to manage their waste in an eco-friendly manner. GFP works on the premise that there is no one solution that fits all and each organization/home/entity would have to arrive at different processes for managing its waste.
Working with various government schools gave us the wings to fly
Our key project started when we got a golden chance to create and nurture Eco Sensitive citizens by executing complete waste management solutions in Government Schools. In April 2018, GFP signed an Memorandum of Understanding with the Block Education Officer (BEO), Bangalore South, which has 218 government schools in its jurisdiction. In December 2018, GFP designed and implemented a complete waste management system at Kodihalli Government School. It involved creating posters on how to segregate waste, the constituents of different types of waste, train the teachers and children and install necessary dust bins in various class rooms and within the School premises and the installation of a solar composter to generate compost. We also ensured that the dry waste and medical waste were picked up by reliable vendors who would further sort the dry waste and only send the medical waste to the land fill. Following this simple and well thought through process reduced the waste to landfill by the School in a year from 5500 kgs to a mere 250 kgs.
To ensure zero waste to landfill, and tackle medical waste, we are working with "Green the Red" and educating girl children to adopt sustainable menstrual options like cloth pads etc. These are not only good for the environment, but good for the health of the children in the long run. GFP also created a small kitchen garden for the children to use the compost and grow their own plants. The teachers and students of the school and hostel are happy, as this process helped them manage their waste better and keep their school clean. This waste management set up was inaugurated by the local corporator in December 2018.
Our motto "Clean, Green and Nourish"
Both Veena and I have now quit our full-time jobs and are freelancing to help us find time for our passion while being in touch with our respective professions. We are now scaling up this effort to many other government schools to implement Project Eco-Guardian in its entirety and realise its motto of "Clean, Green and Nourish".
The author of the story is Devishree M. , Founder of ‘Green FootPrint’ and you can reach out to them at http://greenfootprint.in
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