This Mumbai based waste management startup, named Skrap, is making Events, Offices and Film Sets more sustainable. It also conducts corporate workshops to enable everyone to adopt sustainability easily.

In the heart of a scenic landscape, far away from your busy life, you’re one of the 20,000 people attending a huge music concert. Your favourite artists perform while thousands of fans like you cheer them on. You are enjoying the magical night until you step on a pizza slice swimming in a puddle of beverage. 

You grimace for a few seconds but then get back to jumping and cheering.  The next morning, you return to your sweet home with many unforgettable memories, having forgotten about stepping in food. However, the venue looks like it was hit by a storm. Heaps of leftover food, cutlery, packaging, confetti, banners, etc. are scattered everywhere. Due to a lack of proper facilities for segregation and disposal, most of this waste is destined for the nearby landfill.

A large scale event generates around 5,000-10,000 Kg of waste over 2-3 days.

Divya Ravichandran - Skrap – Going Zero Waste
Divya Ravichandran

Skrap, a Mumbai-based sustainability startup was founded by Divya Ravichandran in 2016 to address the waste management needs of specific sectors. It helps businesses and brands adopt sustainable practices and zero waste solutions. Skrap works with events and offices to adopt sustainable waste management practices to ensure that minimal waste goes to landfills. The team also works with multiple stakeholders to ensure that up to 90% of the waste is composted, recycled and refurbished.

The Journey of Going Zero Waste

An MBA graduate, Divya was working at a multinational firm. She was a passionate eco-warrior doing multiple things in her personal capacity like segregating waste, reducing plastic, etc. However, she was looking for opportunities to reach out to more people and make a bigger impact. Thus, she decided to quit her corporate job and start her own social venture. 

The initial phase of Skrap involved a lot of experimentation and learning. The journey began by helping friends and family adopt proper waste management practices. Divya reached out to like-minded people and thus Skrap’s core team of 6 members took shape. 

They went on to work with offices, devising zero-waste solutions for them. The clients did adopt the new changes such as waste segregation that were introduced. But the process remained slow and the impact took few months to manifest. The team realized the importance of behavioural change and that it’s a long-drawn-out process that requires perseverance and adaptation. This understanding helped them shape the way they approached projects. 

Around the same time, the team came across an opportunity to work with an event and manage its waste. In the initial 6 months of working with events, they faced several failures but always learned something new. 

Skrap undertook waste management at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender music festival in 2016 which proved to be the turning point. The team was able to divert about 80% of the 7,000 Kg of waste generated from being sent to the landfills. 

Skrap NH7 zero waste
Skrap undertook waste management at the Bacardi NH7 Weekender music festival in 2016

This boosted awareness among fans and event organizers. With the growing awareness, the success rate of office projects grew as well. Thus, it led to a positive domino effect that connected the team with more new projects. 

Skrap has worked with Mahindra & Mahindra, Bookmyshow, Paytm Insider, OML Entertainment, and in festivals such as  NH7 Weekender, Magnetic Fields, GrubFest and SBI Green Marathon. It takes up projects in metro cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chandigarh, and serene places like Meghalaya.

The Skrap Way of Managing Waste

The team strongly stands against trashing excess food as they believe that food belongs in the belly and not the bin. It teams up with volunteers, NGOs, and waste workers to prioritize reusing and sharing materials. Skrap helps people find easy to adopt, sustainable habits by building awareness. The team provides the waste collector community with an opportunity for upliftment and better employment. They aim to make their services more structured and professional.

Skrap’s team works closely with the event organizers from the assessment stage to the post-event waste audit. It recommends reusables or compostables to replace disposables and non-biodegradables in the assessment stage. It takes up the task of training the vendors on the ground and creating an easy-to-use, customized infrastructure to make segregating easier for the people who are not familiar with it.

Skrap Waste Sorting
Skrap Waste Sorting

At the end of the event, all the waste is categorized and segregated on the venue by the waste workers. The excess food is distributed with the help of partner NGOs. The Biodegradable waste is sent to local composting facilities while the recyclable waste is sent to recycling centres or dry waste collection centres. 

Materials such as decor elements, banners, etc. which are in good condition and can be reused are distributed to schools that might find them useful with the help of NGOs. At the end of the event, an audit report is prepared that contains data related to waste generated and managed.

While working with offices, the Skrap team conducts an assessment of the materials and equipment used in the space. Based on this, recyclable and reusable alternatives to the current office supplies are recommended. Water-saving and other similar services are also recommended. 

They again create a waste audit report explaining what type of waste was generated where and how and how it was managed. Thus data plays a critical role in driving impact and change. 

Skrap Waste Segregation
Skrap Waste Segregation

Since the 2020 lockdown, Skrap has been conducting online sustainability workshops to spread awareness. They have been offering corporate workshops around the idea of adopting a zero-waste approach. 

They have recently ventured into the field of film shoots by successfully conducting a zero-waste film shoot in Chandigarh. By the end of the shoot, they were able to collect and distribute over 1,200 meals. The team is working on more innovations and planning to take up newer projects.

Learnings in the Waste Management Journey

Adequate infrastructure has been a major challenge in the teams’ path. Outside of Metro cities like Bengaluru and Mumbai, there is a significant waste collection and disposal infrastructure shortage. To overcome this lack of facility they sometimes even had to build their composting pits.

Behavioural change and lack of awareness is also a significant aspect. Many people with whom the team has interacted want to adopt a sustainable lifestyle. However, they don’t have concrete action points and an outcome-driven approach to take up the same. Thus Skrap team undertakes awareness generation via workshops, social media and campaigns. They keep the messaging simple and interactive so that the audience easily take up better alternatives.

Skrap Food Salvage
Skrap Food Salvage

Seeing the clients’ earnest interest in adopting sustainable practices after every successful project motivates them to keep going. Receiving immensely positive feedback from the participants of these events and how they have been inspired by Skraps’ work drives the team to scale newer heights.

Divya sincerely believes that each one of us can create a significant change. She believes that the power we have, as conscious consumers, will play an enormous part in tackling the problem of plastic waste and climate change. She also reminds everyone to keep segregating and composting.

Read about this Hyderabad based, waste management startup that is on a mission to tackle office and household waste while supporting waste pickers.

Article by Disha Shinde, Team ulaunch.

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