Since I arrived from Mumbai as a volunteer, Thamarai has taken me on a lot of trips around Auroville. However, the visit to the recycling units have been the most educational and eye-opening ones.
Vignesh, from our team, very kindly organised the trip for the children and us.
First stop – Terrasoul
As soon as we entered, we were welcomed by a large spaceship-type machine, with 3 ends pointed at the centre like a pyramid. Already in awe, the children and us listened in anticipation as Jorge from Terrasoul, described what they did and that the machine was a 3D printer.
While teaching us about the different types of plastics we use, to recycling and upcycling of the same, Jorge took us through the various objects they had made (plastic melted coasters, mats out of bottle caps, plastic bowls, etc) by experimenting and melting different plastics with one and other.
The Zero Waste Beaches team showed us how the ropes used by boats and fisherman are made from plastic and cause great damage to our oceans and marine life.
The melting process is done in an oven-like chamber, so that the plastic does not burn - therefore not releasing toxic fumes. The best part was, we all got to make our own little coaster, with the help of Jorge and the Zero Waste Team. We cut up plastic milk packets that were melted into something beautiful.
We all learnt to USE LESS of plastic, RESUSE as much as possible and RECYCLE whatever waste we can.
Next stop – Eco Service
At Eco Service we started off by learning about how much waste we generate. We saw how the things that are so casually thrown into a dustbin at home cause so much harm to the environment over the course of thousands of years.
Eco Service collects and segregates waste from different households and enterprises to then send them to recycling plants. Books, electronics, plastic packaging, paper, glass ware, etc are all brought in here to recycle.
We saw how innovative the human brain can be, recycling plastic, thermocol and straw to make walls and structures. “We think about how we can use the waste that cannot be recycled” is what the people at Eco Service said. We shall also be using these bricks at our compound wall in the new after school.
They urged the children to wake up to these issues and be the change, as the next generation has the drive and the capability to drive the conservation of our planet.
At Thamarai’s new centre in Annai Nagar, Eco service and Terrasoul are helping us build the toilet doors with plastic bottle caps – 6 doors with 4800 bottle caps! Along with this we are building Eco San compost toilets, saving 8 litres of fresh water per person/per use – instead of flushing we will be using sawdust to conserve water, which is available for only 45 minutes daily in the village. We aim to build a structure where children can learn and grow, not only for themselves but also for our Mother Earth!