By Aishwarya R. Iyer
Tetra Pak has now collaborated with Mumbai's iconic dabbawallas for its initiative - 'Carton Le Aao, Classroom Banao' to drive collection of cartons for recycling. Here, the organisation will recycle the cartons and convert them into school desks and benches. The project is not only eco-friendly but will also provide various stationery items made out of recycled products to underprivileged students. Along with this, the organisation is also making consumers adopt green practices by encouraging them to bring back used paper-based Tetra Pak cartons for recycling. Jaideep Gokhale, the communication director of South Asia markets of Tetra Pak sheds light on this initiative
Why did you collaborate with dabbawallas for this recycling initiative?
Everybody knows about the wide customer base these dabbawallas have in Maharashtra. Since they have the largest network in the city and through them majority areas are covered, it was the most sustainable model for this initiative. The dabbawallas will help us educate the society at large. More than 5,000 dabbawallas will be participating and with just two visits we will be able to convey our message.
Why Tetra Pak cartons and what will the procedure to follow?
These (Tetra Pak) cartons are made primarily out of paper and are recyclable. When these cartons are disposed of, we urge rag pickers to collect them because recyclers see a good value in recycling used cartons and are willing to pay a price to the collection partners. Also, rag pickers can earn an additional livelihood from collecting used cartons. All this means, that used cartons are not waste, they are a valuable resource.
What role does this play when education is concerned?
Used cartons are being recycled into various useful products – paper products such as stationery, visiting cards, notepads as well as into products like an ‘eco-board’ that can replace wood. These eco-boards can then be used to make school desks and benches. The message to consumers is clear - after you finish consuming from your cartons, deposit it responsibly and we’ll ensure it is recycled into something useful that 'gives back' to society.
Do you have any plans to collaborate with the government for wider support?
When we organised an event a few weeks ago to talk about our initiative and announce our partnership with the dabbawallas, Manisha Mhaiskar, Principal Secretary Ministry of Urban Development Government of Maharashtra had graced our event as the chief guest. She highly appreciated and lauded our efforts as this was something very closely linked to the Government’s Swachch Bharat initiative – which she in her official capacity is the custodian of in the state. She assured us of full support for the campaign.
How do you plan to spread this awareness among the common public?
The ‘Cartons Le Aao, Classroom Banao’ campaign is being taken to the public through a 360-degree campaign. Shoppers are being contacted via text messages. We have a digital campaign currently on Facebook and we have made a lovable video that’s currently being promoted there. It is also promoted in selected movies. We also have a solid in-store presence across 40 Sahakari Bhandars, Reliance Smart and Reliance Fresh stores across Mumbai. Then there is the dabbawallas' tie up that has given us a fantastic response.