Tata Coffee
Single-Use Plastics
One Event at a Time
Community events and gatherings generate a significant amount of single-use plastic waste in the form of items such as plastic spoons, plates, glasses, cups, etc. In rural areas without proper waste management, this plastic waste pollutes the surroundings.
Extent of the problem
Tata Coffee recognized the alarming accumulation of single-use plastic waste in Toopran in the Medak district of Telangana, India. The Toopran Mandal comprises 35 villages, having nearly 13,760 households. On average, the municipality hosts nearly 18 different community events a day. Their calculations suggest that each community event has the potential to generate an average of approximately 22.5 kg of single-use plastic such as plates, glasses, etc., which adds up to nearly 145 tons of plastic waste in a year. To help address the problem, Tata Coffee came up with a very innovative solution to this problem – The Steel Bank!
The Steel Bank
Tata Coffee helped the Toopran municipality procure 2,000 steel tumblers and 1,500 steel plates to create a Steel Bank. The steel bank acts as a lending point for the utilities, upon payment of a nominal deposit which is refundable upon return. After use, these are to be cleaned and returned in due time. The municipality maintains the steel bank, while the company provides monitoring and auditing support.
The main challenges included maintaining hygiene standards for the utensils in stock. To address this, a dedicated resource was appointed to ensure cleanliness and accountability. Community acceptability was also a challenge due to the prerequisite processes of booking, procurement, and return. To overcome this, the initiative was made free of cost, requiring only a refundable nominal deposit. Another challenge was the difficulty remote villages faced in accessing the steel bank on account of transport-related costs. This was addressed through the municipality's support, which agreed to supply the items at a subsidized cost in the municipal vans.
In the financial year 2021-2022, the steel bank supported approximately 192 functions in the municipality, eliminating a total of 99,840 plastic plates and glasses. This equates to 3,994 kg of singleuse plastic items being eliminated from the community.
Tata Coffee received a certificate of appreciation from the Toopran municipality, as well as recognition from the Green Body of Telangana forum and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation. These accolades highlight the project's positive impact on the community and the environment.
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Last updated on 19th February 2024