CHENNAI: The waste segregation drive started by the Greater Chennai Corporation earlier this year had many ideas for processing waste like converting coconut shells to charcoal and garden waste into bio-fuel cakes. The Ambattur zone has taken the segregation initiative a notch higher, especially to address dry waste such as shoes and clothes.
Discarded shoes and clothes are being refurbished to donate to the needy. “Every month, we get at least eight to 10 reusable pairs of shoes from each ward that need minor repairs. We have 15 wards and when we experimented with a couple of pairs, the idea worked out. We began the work 15 days back,” said the concerned official in the Ambattur zone.
Often shoes that wear out become unfit for running and are discarded even if the sole is in good condition. The refurbishing is currently being done at the Resource Recovery Centre in Oragadam. “Firstly, we wash all the shoes. If the soles are in a proper condition, we polish the shoes and make minor repairs in the buckles and straps before stacking them for donation. In other cases, the uppers and soles are separated and used as a base for other shoes. We have just begun and will work on the ideas in the months to come,” said the official. The Ambattur corporation is expected to begin its donation drive from the end of August.
Similarly, about 10 reusable t-shirts and shirts are discarded from each ward. “None of them are torn. Some need little stitching and washing to remove the stains. So, we wash and iron them to donate along with the shoes,” the official said.
This is a small step making way for a big change in the current climate of sustainability.
“Running the machinery to grow the fibre and manufacture the cloth, releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. When a t-shirt gets a little frayed or the shoes too worn out, they often end up in a landfill. Rotting underground, they emit harmful gasses into the environment. Every 500 grams of clothing releases about two kilograms of CO2 and other greenhouses gasses into the atmosphere. Moreover, a huge quantity of water is needed to manufacture these products,” said N Radhakrishnan, an environmentalist in the city.