“It’s only one straw,” said eight billion people. When it comes to zero waste, we don’t need a handful of people doing their bit, we need millions. And that’s why we embarked on our zero waste journey with help from our friends at Skrap.
What’s Skrap? Well, it’s a waste management firm that believes in making the world a plastic-free place one office or event at a time. It provides waste management solutions to corporates and large-scale events who in turn work towards reducing their waste footprint.
With Skrap by our side, we managed to reduce our landfill per day to 1 tiny kg. That’s it! All the more reason to believe us when we tell you how we did it.
We’ll get there, but first…
What are Zero Waste Offices?
Usually, waste is tossed into a single bin and it ends up in landfills, open dumping grounds or bellies of marine animals that wash up ashore. Thanks to social media and several NGOs going out of their way to increase awareness, we know that such unsustainable disposal of waste causes severe pollution and leaches harmful toxins into our environment. Ugh!
A ‘zero waste’ office, on the other hand, tries to nip this vicious cycle in the bud and treats waste at the source instead of dumping it away. If waste is segregated correctly and disposed of responsibly, 90% of this could be saved. In fact, this segregated waste is no longer waste, but rather, a resource that can be reused, recycled, composted or converted to biogas. How uber cool is that!
Zero Wasting at Paytm Insider: The Five Step Mantra
Waste segregation is an important precursor step to waste management, and so, we began with an infrastructure to segregate waste effortlessly and intuitively. This comprises a three-bin, colour-coded system at the cafeteria, with clear signages that collect Food waste, Recyclable waste and Reject waste respectively.
Composting helps maintain the circle of life by naturally processing all that’s organic into nutrient-rich fertiliser. By setting up an in-house earthen composter, all food scraps like banana peels and coffee grounds, generated at the office, are converted into soil nutrients. This earthy compost is fed to the office plants or taken back by our employees to be used as a natural fertiliser for their plants at home. Psst…talk about combating climate change? Composting is your best bet to get started :)
It’s hard to imagine an office space without endless piles of paper, containers, loose paper clips and so on. But, if segregated correctly, most of these materials can be recycled and given a new lease of life. All the materials collected in the recyclable waste bin are then sent to an NGO for conversion into new products. In this manner, we’ve managed to save even more resources from entering the dumping grounds.
In an office setting, ordering food online might be inevitable, but with it comes the unavoidable packaging. To circumvent this and encourage reuse, Skrap kick-started a container donation campaign by partnering with an NGO that reuses food take-out containers to distribute meals to children in underprivileged communities. This initiative struck a chord with our folks who now diligently wash their containers with soap and water, so they can be donated.
Now, managing waste is a progressive step, but at its core, being truly trash-free means eliminating as many single-use items as possible. Keeping this in mind, we ensure that only reusable plates and cutleries (including handmade, lead-free, ceramic plates and mugs 💚) are used. Disposable paper cups have exited the scene and everyone here uses reusable water bottles and ceramic mugs.
What other cool stuff are we up to?
Sustainable Furniture: The sustainability culture is not only limited to waste management but can also be experienced through interactions with architecture and design elements of the ofﬁce. All of our furniture was made from upcycled pinewood that was sourced from reused shipping containers. Standing booth structures were created from recycled tetra paks and most of the glass was reused to ensure no new energy was spent on manufacturing afresh.
Water-saving measures: No sustainability project is complete without taking steps to conserve our most precious resource, water. And so to help slow the flow, water-conserving taps, waterless urinals, and smart flush tanks were installed in the kitchen and washroom areas. These hacks help the office save thousands of litres of water every month.
Eco buddies? Yes please! Obsessed with plants and green spaces, we got a bunch of green beings who help purify the air indoors by extracting pollutants while simultaneously add the perfect finishing touch to an eco-friendly office space.
You don’t always need a cape to rescue our planet from the clutches of global warming. All it takes is some effort, careful planning and some motivation to do your bit and inspire change.
Your office space could go zero waste too! Write to Skrap at firstname.lastname@example.org now.
Go ahead, change the way the world moves, taking one step at a time.