“It started like a small idea and grew into something bigger”

For the #PlasticFreeWeek challenge, the alumni network in Pune, India engaged the local community – from committed citizens and businesses to the Swedish Embassy and local government – and arranged a plastic collection drive. Now the plan is to make this a recurring event.
Pink plasticfreeweek logo

Pranati Shroff is a practicing architect that works with green building certification and is co-founder of a company with sustainability focus. As chair of the Maharashtra and Goa Chapter of the Sweden Alumni Network India, she has a long experience of working with SI challenges – from clothes swapping to sustainable lifestyles.

For the Plastic-free Week, the group pulled out all the stops. In addition to information campaigns and staying clear of single-use plastics, they went door to door and collected a total of 4.7 tonnes of plastics from residents and local businesses.

Sweden India Alumni network group picture with plastic bags
Photo: Sweden Alumni Network

Impressive as that is, they did not stop there. The alumni group also ensured that the collected plastic would go either to recycling stations or to up-cycling initiatives. All in all, about 800 people participated in the Plastic-free Week and the collection drive, which also resulted in some media coverage.

“Because most people do not separate their waste at home in Pune, it was also an education aspect to the initiative of collecting their plastics. We hope to continue the plastic collection. Now we are looking for funding and collaborators to continue on a monthly basis. We are also talking to the local government to see whether they could help us.” Pranati says.

Pink plasticfreeweek logo
Photo: Sohail Noorain
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Read more about the global challenge - interview with alumni Maksim Dybok, Christy Wong and Micheal Simba.
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