Some say that the damage we have caused to our 4.5 billion years old planet is irreparable and beyond saving. But I am not one of those people. Even if it were true, does that mean we fold our hands and do nothing as the doomsday clock keeps ticking away to armageddon? We are feeling the adverse effects of climate change every second of our lives and even the smallest of eco-conscious individual choices and actions on our part can come a long way in making a more significant impact on the future of our planet.
However, a vision of a more sustainable Earth is not a dream for a select few but ought to be a cause that resonates with all humankind. Individual eco-friendly choices are important but there’s always more that can be accomplished if individual intent is channelized into collective action. No great revolution was successful without the collective consciousness of the masses working together and the green revolution is no different.
Speaking of collective effort striving toward a greener planet, the Mumbai-born initiative Go Green with Tetra Pak, also called Cartons to Classroom, deserves special mention. The initiative is a collaborative effort between Tetra Pak, a Swedish–Swiss multinational company collaborating across the globe for sustainable development of the food and beverage industry and RUR GreenLife, a Mumbai-based socio-environmental organization founded in 2009, that passionately works towards urban solid waste management by providing sustainable and decentralized ‘waste-to-resource’ solutions.
The inspiring initiative started in 2010 and now spans cities across India. The idea was to launch a program aimed at boosting the recycling of used beverage cartons. However, the impact of this effort extends far beyond recycling alone. As part of the ongoing enterprise, the collected cartons are taken and transformed into classroom furniture for underprivileged students nationwide. This approach offers multiple benefits; educating stuidents about the value of recycling, breathing new life into cartons that would otherwise be discarded, and providing much-needed resources for schools. For every 8,00,000 cartons that they collect, they create 200 classroom desks and chairs, ensuring that disadvantaged schools receive the necessary equipment. Moreover, they have also converted recycled cartons into school books and exam pads, resulting in the distribution of over 20,000 notebooks thus far.
The initiative Cartons Le Aao, Classroom Banao (Cartons to Classrooms), is an integral part of the larger Go Green with Tetra Pak program, which strives to raise awareness about recycling throughout India. The goal is to bring about a behavioral shift by encouraging people to deposit their used paper-based Tetra Pak cartons for recycling. To achieve this, they have collaborated with renowned retail chains such as Reliance Fresh and Sahakari Bhandar. Together, Tetra Pak and RUR GreenLife have established recycling infrastructure at these stores, providing convenient and accessible avenues for recycling. There will be a vibrant and immersive display that will tour Mumbai for an entire week with a goal to engage people and encourage them to sign up for the Go Green with Tetra Pak program.
As we celebrate World Environment Day today, concerted efforts such as the Cartons to Classrooms initiative inspires us to foster a greener mindset and promote eco-conscious behaviour among individuals and communities across India. Watch this wonderful advertisement below that captures the ethos of the initiative.