Waste Management Solutions in India

These Areca leaf products are sustainably sourced (from fallen palm fronds). We will be using them as a replacement for single-use plastics and polystyrene at vendors across the beaches of Kovalam!

These Areca leaf products are sustainably sourced (from fallen palm fronds). We will be using them as a replacement for single-use plastics and polystyrene at vendors across the beaches of Kovalam!

Street food vendors serving incredible food…

Street food vendors serving incredible food…

but there’s a downside that’s affecting local marine life…

but there’s a downside that’s affecting local marine life…

Single-use plastic and polystyrene packaging!

Single-use plastic and polystyrene packaging!

The team in India is incredibly excited to begin the new year with a number of projects beginning to reflect the positive impact that a reduction of plastic can have on community and marine health. We believe that the best way to stop plastics getting into the oceans is to stop using them in the first place, that’s why we developed our Don’t Be A Sucker project in India! Don’t Be A Sucker, India is simple. We research, develop and introduce sustainable single-use products and packaging to replace the proliferation of single-use plastics at local vendors and restaurants across Kovalam and Vizhinjam. Whilst simple in concept, it has taken the team many months of meetings, community engagement and research to get it to its current stage, where we are finally ready to launch after securing the support of all of the local beach vendors across our target region! Don’t Be A Sucker, India will make an enormous difference to the cleanliness of the local coastal environment, ensuring the eradication of tens-of-thousands of pieces of single-use plastics from the ocean every month!

The team cleaning up the local beaches. We sort and categorise our findings to assist with our long-term research, which will help to address the waste issue at its source.

The team cleaning up the local beaches. We sort and categorise our findings to assist with our long-term research, which will help to address the waste issue at its source.

Our plates, bowls and spoons are all made from Areca palm leaf. The Areca palm naturally sheds its leaves, which are then harvested once fallen to make into each product. They can be moulded into many shapes and completely biodegrade in the environment, with no need for industrial composting or recycling facilities (like many other supposed “environmentally friendly” single-use items). The straws we are implementing are made from recycled paper and have no added chemicals (which could potentially leach into the environment). All of the products we are offering have been well researched, including ensuring we understand where they are harvested, how they are produced and the impacts (if any) that they will have post-use. They are made from completely sustainable and renewable materials and don’t need large scale waste treatment or processing at the end of their life, instead being composted or incinerated by the local community with negligible impact.

Behavioural change and education programs…

Behavioural change and education programs…

Are key to turning the tide on plastic pollution!

Are key to turning the tide on plastic pollution!

Such an incredibly ecologically diverse region deserves the tools and resources to be able to protect their natural areas.

Such an incredibly ecologically diverse region deserves the tools and resources to be able to protect their natural areas.

We have been consulting local shop owners and vendors about how to ensure the smoothest possible transition from plastics to these new products and after many discussions, we’ve now found an agreeable way to move forward.  Now that the new products have been introduced we are focusing on installing waste collection stations along the beach so that we can further reduce the amount of plastic left in the environment and begin the transition towards a  plastic incineration-free future in the region. All of our work to date takes includes ongoing engagement with a wide array of government departments, community groups and locals. The effort is well worth it though: by adding just 3 pairs of bins to a beach that currently has none we can significantly increase the amount of waste that is properly disposed of, help the workers whose job it is to clean the beaches every morning and shift behaviour towards understanding the importance of proper waste disposal and the positive impacts that it will have on community health, environmental health and the local economy. The biodegradable products that we are implementing, in combination with waste collection facilities, should also boost the local tourism industry in the region, which has seen a decline in tourist numbers over the last decade, which can be partly attributed  to the increasing waste, burning and pollution issues.

Waste and brand audits - key to understanding the issue, engaging the community and moving towards a long-term waste and recycling solution!

Waste and brand audits - key to understanding the issue, engaging the community and moving towards a long-term waste and recycling solution!

Recycling bins! We hope to implement the first multi-stream waste management system in the region, paving the way to positive change and healthier oceans!

Recycling bins! We hope to implement the first multi-stream waste management system in the region, paving the way to positive change and healthier oceans!

We are excited to bring you more from India and look forward to being joined by our CEO and 6 Global Ambassadors this April! For more on our work in India, you can get in touch with the team via indiateam@pcfml.org.au