Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Raise your non-plastic cup

Most organisations provide refreshments for their employees in plastic/Styrofoam cups. On an individual level using 1 or 2 cups a day seems insignificant, but let’s do some simple math here and see how it adds up:

  • Say you work for 5 days a week, using on an average 2 cups a day (I'm positive the usage is way more than that)
  • That would mean using 10 cups a week and 40 a month.
  • So a single person uses 480 cups a year.

Still think that’s a small amount?

  • Consider a midsize company with 1000 employees... that's 480,000 cups a year.
  • A city like Mumbai has at least 1000 such companies... that's 480,000,000 cups a year
  • Say a cup weighs a meager 5gm... that’s 2,400,000,000 gm or 2,400,000 kg of plastic a year — all of it going to some landfill!

All because of a measly cup! What a criminal waste!

It does not make economical sense for the company either. A cup costs Rs. 0.40 per piece, which would mean Rs.1,920,000 a year just “thrown” in the trash.

So we decided to educate the people in our respective companies regarding the issue and try to get people to change.

I started small, with my project team of around 100 people. The department heads and managers supported me all along. Information emails were sent, polls conducted, colleagues were educated and in a couple of weeks we saw a huge change in peoples mindsets. They willingly bought their own bottles and ceramic/earthen/ steel mugs to have their refreshments.

We had this featured in the company
monthly newsletter. At a 'Green' day that was organized, the center heads were impressed with what we had achieved in our department. This paved the path to take the drive to the entire company. Emails and posters informed people about the harmful effects of plastic. Soon a policy will be in place and plastic cups will slowly make their way out of our corporate lives!

The same argument can be extended to plastic bags that we use without batting an eyelid. It is very easy to carry your own bag while going shopping. Infact it’s even better if that bag is cotton or jute. Small steps like these lead to big changes. Join the revolution…be a part of the solution!!

- Primus, edited by Averil

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