Recycling waste books for a social cause

Recycling waste books for a social cause
Municipal students receive new sets of notebooks after recycling of old collection by Aikya, a youth initiative of Akshaya Patra, in Visakhapatnam

If you have old books, newspapers, used diaries and notebooks piling up at home, here is a chance to contribute to a cause.

Visakhapatnam: If you have old books, newspapers, used diaries and notebooks piling up at home, here is a chance to contribute to a cause. A group of students will collect them from schools, colleges, corporate firms and neighbourhoods, recycle them and distribute them free of cost to the children studying in government schools across Visakhapatnam.

'Project R3' (reduce, recycle and reuse) initiative of Aikya (united to serve), a youth wing of Akshaya Patra Foundation, sets a target of collecting 50 tonnes of old books for this academic year. A journey that began with a group of 30 volunteers in 2016 now unites 150 plus students studying in various educational institutions, including Andhra University, GITAM, Gayatri Vidya Parishad Engineering College and NSRIT.

Aikya's mission largely focuses on collecting books, newspapers, used textbooks, old calendars, diaries among other material and then handing them over to partnering vendor for recycling. After the completion of recycling process, the paper pulp will be converted into new notebooks by the manufacturers. "It takes 15-20 days for us to complete the process and reach out to needy students as each would get a set of five notebooks," says Bonam Naveen, project coordinator of Aikya.

From making 4,500 new notebooks in 2016 out of the collected material to 6,000 in 2017 and 6,500 in 2018, this year the team aims to give away 8,000 to 9,000 notebooks to needy students. "So far, we have collected about four tonnes of old books and newspapers for recycling purpose. The collection will go on till July-end before handing the material over to paper mills for recycling and then to manufacturers for converting them into new books," says Naveen.

Support comes from various educational institutions and volunteers to conduct door-to-door drive to accelerate the collection process. Volunteers can also join as ambassadors to contribute to bulk collection of old books where they would be provided with transport facility by Akshaya Patra. Those who like to contribute to the endeavour can contact the team dialing 9515116990 or 9550911486.

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