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Civic collaborations crucial: Experts

For DH Madhuri Rao story: BBMP dry and wet waste converter plant, in 3rd block, Jayanagar Bengaluru on Tuesday. Photo by S K Dinesh

Converting waste into trendy items or even manure is passe. Did you know that strewn PET bottles are recycled into T-shirts now? No? Think again!

Many startups are putting the waste thrown into landfills to use. Experts point out that this hardly makes up. A lot needs to be done. They stress that the state government and the civic authorities must play a crucial role.

Meenakshi Bharath, Founder Member, Solid Waste Management Round Table, said the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) is presently taking a neutral stance, which is not right.

Although many young entrepreneurs are working around waste, there are volumes to deal with. Their work is quite minuscule. It is good that so many people and organisations are working. This only increases awareness that there is value to garbage. But nothing can happen without proper segregation.

Since startups work with select materials, the rest of the waste is strewn in dump sites and at times burnt. Hence, there is a need for a collective approach where the corporation, experts, elected representatives, citizens and companies come together.

Experts say it is a profitable venture for many startups as raw materials are abundant while they caution that companies working on these projects should ensure labour laws are followed and there is organised segregation and collection.

With strict extended producer responsibility (EPR) rules and the recent decision of the Central Pollution Control Board to take stern action against producers, many large firms have partnered with startups, which is a good direction.

Wilma Rodrigues, Founding Member and CEO, Saahas Zero Waste, said that it is fine to tie-up with companies as materials are required, but regulations should be followed.

Unlike China, in India, there is still informal recycling and much needs to be done in this regard. It has also been noticed that while bottles are being picked up, little attention is paid to paper cups, colour paper products and packaging materials like toothpaste cartons, now turning into a bigger problem to handle. 

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