MDI Gurugram students lead by example: Initiated a first-in-India campaign to track PET bottles from Rack to Recycle

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Gurugram: MDI Gurugram in collaboration with Volunteer4India have initiated a 45 days pilot project #WhereIsMyPETGoing to strengthen the PET waste management and recycling ecosystem in the city. The campaign is aimed towards seeking the truth about the current journey of PET bottles from rack to recycle. It is a way to raise awareness and encourage the Gurugram based corporations and local bodies to ensure proper collection, segregation, disposal and recycling of plastic waste especially PET bottles, which is 100%recyclable.

“The current rate of PET recycling in our country is 80% and other 10% get reused. Considering PET is the most recycled plastic in the world, we wanted to evaluate the existing practices of plastic waste management and recycling in the Millennium city. The journey of PET containers/bottles from the place-of-consumption to the last mile disposal/ recycle/ reuse will be tracked and evaluated. Our aim is to investigate and secure substantial data so the involved stakeholders could make informed decisions about PET bottles waste management and recycling. It will help in generating additional revenue for the city management and additional jobs,” said Aman Mishra, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Volunteer4India.

The pilot project is initiated on the 14th February, where more than 150 students from MDI Gurugram are mobilized ground across key residential condominiums, corporate, offices, colleges, malls and shopping complexes, food courts and other high probability PET consumption areas. The students will interview the key stakeholders (Facility Managers, Housekeeping Staff, Administrative staff, Sustainability and Waste Management functions) across each of these key locations to understand their current level of awareness & practices across the collection and segregation process, waste management and the recent innovations in the field of recycling. For last mile coverage, the research will also cover the ragpickers, kabadiwalas and land-fill contractors.

Commenting on the initiative, Dr. S.K Rai, Prof. at MDI Gurugram said, “In order to address the problem of plastic pollution, we, as a country, along with industry need to equip the next generation of entrepreneurs and innovators with abilities and innovative instincts. Recycling is about creating a clean and sustainable environment for us and for future generations. These PET water bottles are multi-use and easily recyclable, hence it is an ideal plastic type to raise awareness about plastic recycling. It is made from the same polyester which is used in making athletic clothes/textiles. Post usage, it can be upcycled multiple times to create various everyday use products like T-shirts, bags, pillows, mattresses etc.”

There are several excellent initiatives and NGOs trying to help municipal and civic bodies to work more closely with rag pickers to understand their needs and to make the process from disposal to collection and recycling as effective as possible. Skills4Change is also an initiative partner for this campaign. The need of the hour is to drive awareness, in association with communities, NGOs, students and other stakeholders, to ensure better implementation of waste management and PET recycling mechanism.