Eco Warrior: Divya

“Start with small, simple steps towards zero waste that are easy to incorporate” - Divya

Meet Divya, she is a zero waste warrior striving to build sustainable ways of managing day to day waste in the busy city of Mumbai and beyond. Divya Ravichandran set up Skrap to help change the current approach of discarding garbage which is hazardous, unsustainable and environmentally detrimental. Skrap focuses on reducing waste and diverting as much as possible for recycling or composting, so that a minimal amount of garbage is discarded in dumping grounds. Her work with Bacardi NH7 Weekender Pune helped the festival repurpose and recycle a whopping 81% of the waste generated! How cool is that?

We wanted to find out how her journey into zero waste living.

Her journey zero waste started with a massive fire that broke out in Mumbai’s Deonar dumping ground. The fire raged on for days, spewed toxic chemicals in the air, and engulfed the city in black smoke. That was the first time she learnt about the dumping ground and the dangers of our unsustainable waste disposal.  

This incident forced her to take a closer look at her trash bin. She started taking more responsibility for the waste she generated each day, so she could avoid contributing to the dumping grounds. She learnt to segregate her waste, brought home a composter, and sent her recyclable waste to local NGOs. Within a few weeks, She was sending less than 10% of her waste to the dumping grounds. She wanted to reduce this further and so gradually began to avoid products and packaging that were non-recyclable.

One day, as she was packing her monthly recyclable waste to hand it over to local NGOs/ recyclers, she realised she had accumulated a lot of in four short weeks. She opened up all the waste and categorised it to understand from where she was generating this. Turns out most of it was from grocery packaging, online product orders and takeaway containers.

She slowly started making changes in her shopping habits to reduce this waste. She reduced online shopping for products, groceries and dinners. She preferred to buy from local kirana stores and farmers markets where she could buy unpackaged products.

Around this time she also discovered the zero waste movement online and found thousands of like minded people living zero waste lifestyles. “This was really encouraging, and pushed me to make a more concerted effort to avoid using disposable items.” says Divya.

A product she always has?  Cloth Bags

We asked her if any misconceptions about this lifestyle that she would like to dispel?

That a zero waste lifestyle can be more expensive. Buying fewer items, investing in more durable products and making my own products at home has probably been more economical in the long run.

We had asked her What’s the hardest thing about being zero waste?

Explaining to and convincing close family members about the zero waste lifestyle she chose to live wasn’t the easiest thing to being with. Requests for no gifts, no packaged food items, no new clothes, etc haven’t been easy to get through.

Her easiest switch ? Reusable water bottles

When asked about her tips, recommendations and advice to zero waste beginners she says,

“It’s a good idea to start with small, simple steps towards zero waste that are easy to incorporate in your daily routine. Such as giving up plastic bottles, carrying cloth bags, etc. Adopting too many changes at once can get overwhelming and frustrating.”