I waited eagerly for the “madam, dry waste!” call this Wednesday morning. Before I carry-on with the rest of my daily routine, I liked to personally go and give our weekly collection of dry waste to my recycling manager. It makes me feel good and boosts my self-worth knowing that I made a difference, in my own small way today. My waste has great value to someone who makes a living off of it. Besides, it makes my day to be greeted by their smiling faces.
Initially, when the volunteers of my area knocked on my door asking me to ‘donate’ my dry waste on a weekly basis, I was a bit hesitant. Hesitant over the word ‘donation’. Hesitant because I thought this is just another fad that will die down after a few days. But no harm done, it was a matter of a simple ‘yes’. And if it helped a waste-picker become a recycling manager, then why not! And so it began.

Today, it is nearly 3 months since the Donate Dry Waste campaign was launched in my locality. From being a hesitant resident, I went on to volunteer. Along with other volunteers, I went around convincing and converting hesitant people like me to donate their waste for good. To some people we preached about the good this did to the environment. Having watched and read about the landfills and their hazardous effects on health, they signed up. To others, we explained how their donations helped the waste-picker gain access to clean waste, and improve their livelihoods along with the rate of recycling.
Recycling helps mitigate the issue of landfill AND restores dignity to the waste-picker’s role in the economy. For this, segregation at source is a necessity. Moreover, it is absolutely effortless. So, by donating your dry waste, you can ensure that it is being recycled and not sent to a landfill, only to come back and haunt our health. After all, isn’t everything in life a cycle?

Once, I also accompanied my recycling manager and personally followed my dry waste to the nearest DWCC (dry waste collection center). This is where the sorting happens. From there, we headed to jolly mohalla where the sorted waste is sold to the recyclers. I saw the waste-picker-turned-recycling-manager at work. In their smart uniforms, their confidence was visibly boosted and they bustled about productively. By donating my dry waste, I know that my action would make a difference, and I want every other citizen to join me in this movement, and be a part of change as well!

Today the familiar call pushes me to get up and walk to the street. A lively sight welcomes me as women, men and children from the neighboring houses come to donate their weekly collection of dry waste. Now, when I hear the word ‘donate’, I experience a positive feeling. It has inspired a feeling of community and commitment in our neighborhood, as everybody tosses their dry waste into Mastan – our locality’s recycling manager – ‘s truck. It has made our streets look cleaner and our hearts are warmer. I hope the rest of Bangalore joins hands with us and experiences this too. Cheers!