Treasure Chest In The Trash Can

Waste management is justifiably everyone’s favourite topic. When we talk of waste management, we instantly think of segregation of waste into wet and dry waste. Most apartment community take the segregation a step further by composting their wet waste in premises. It saves a tonne on investing in fertilisers for landscaping and beautification.

However, a new generation of forward thinking apartment communities and housing societies have reinvented the meaning of waste management.

Just generating waste and managing them is not a long term sustainable solution to manage our trash. The three Rs – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle guide the philosophy of sustainable waste management. Whispering Palms Xxclusive CHS has done just that.

Starting Project Avatar, WPXX took the game of managing their wastes to a whole new level. With a waste management programme already in place since 2017, this was a natural evolution of their initiative. Project Avatar, as the name suggests, reinvents discarded items into brand new functional articles for daily use.

How Did It All Start? 

Located in Kandivali East, Mumbai with 322 units and approximately 1200 residents, their waste segregation began in October 2017 in an organised manner.

Apart from Wet, Dry and Reject waste, the society has provided collection bins for different things that people want to give away / discard, including those aged / broken / spoiled.

The range of articles collected is extensive – vases, paintings, photo frames, lamps, artefact, holiday souvenirs, crockery, storage containers, umbrellas, toys, clothes, jewellery, linen, pet care articles, books, stationery, etc.

Articles that are in good condition are often taken by those who work in the premises, but what happens to the ones that no one wants?

With a bit of attention, they are transformed, ready for a new owner.

How Do They Do It?

Detailed planning, good training of residents and staff and educated awareness among all community members are the basics of pulling off a project like this successfully.

Housekeeping staff and volunteers are quick to identify articles that can be reused either directly, or after “processing”, and keep them aside.

The items are cleaned / repaired / varnished / painted / repurposed by volunteers, as and when they find the time,and at minimal cost.

The Result

Hundreds of supposedly useless articles have been made useful again – retaining their original purpose or repurposed.

Hours of craftsmanship and production line output have been saved from rubbish dumps.

Over the last 18 months, the articles have been stored as and when they were readied.

On August 3 & 4, 2019, an exhibition and sale was held within the society premises.

The sale received an overwhelming response from residents of the society, helpers and also people from neighbouring societies. About 75% of the articles were sold. In the first installment, everything was priced in the range of INR 10-300. People got things they might have been looking for, at a price they would never find anywhere else. Several articles were bought back by their original owners. People are now more aware of how they themselves can fix their articles instead of throwing them away. The sales proceeds (over INR 7000/-) was significant, given the low selling price of the items. It has been deposited into the society’s waste management fund that is partly distributed to housekeeping staff as incentives, and partly used for waste-related activities.

The residents of Whispering Palms Xxclusive are confident that Project Avatar will continue on an on-going basis, with efforts to involve more volunteers who have shown interest. They foresee more exhibitions with a wider range of articles, and live restoration demos. Articles of porcelain/ glass that cannot be restored have been saved for a giant wall mural, which will be implemented after the Mumbai monsoons.

Whispering Palms Xxclusive – Rise High Awards 2019 Nominee

Category : Waste Management

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About the Author: Karnika Roy