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Eco ways: Handmade paper- Cut your Preferences, not Trees

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Santosh Kumar:

My article elucidates one of many ways to safeguard our ecosystem. This is on the pretext that, a lot of discussion, thought and debate is being put into finding ways to reduce damage of any sort done to our natural habitats.

“We are in danger! And, we are digging traps for ourselves through our ignorant deeds!!”

We might not plant some trees to feed the environment crying for its survival, but we are no-one to cut, harm and endanger the natural aestheticism.

But, now it’s high time that we react. React sensibly and act accordingly.

We may go for shopping without a friend, but not without a plastic carry bag, which is not supposed to do anything good other than being economic. (In 1980, many supermarkets switched from paper bags to plastic (polyethylene) bags as they are less expensive.) Trend reversal to paper bags doesn’t seem to be a remedy. Some shoppers choose paper assuming it as an environmentally better alternative.

But is this the case?

  • In a comparison of the two types of grocery bags, Franklin Associates* concluded that the manufacture of plastic bags produced considerably less air pollution, water borne wastes, and industrial solid-wastes. Because plastic bags are lighter, they also produce less post-consumer solid waste, taking up less space in landfills.
  • Energy-wise, it is a tie. Plastic bags required slightly less energy to manufacture at a use rate of 1.5 to 1 compared with paper and more energy at a use rate of 2 to 1. Paper bags are better because they are made from wood, a renewable resource, while plastic bags are made from petroleum. Also paper grocery bags are recycled at a higher rate and are reused more frequently, since many home kitchen trash containers are designed with paper grocery bags in mind.

The main reason most people choose paper bags over plastic is due to recycling. Here are some others:

  • Are made from a renewable natural resource
  • Can be reused again and again
  • Can be shipped to paper mills to be made into new paper
  • Require less energy than plastic to be recycled
  • Are biodegradable
  • Are safe for small children to play with
  • Pose less of a threat to wildlife

In the end, it is a toss-up whether paper or plastic grocery bags are better for the environment. The important thing is to reuse paper and plastic bags over and over. Best still is to bring your own cloth bags or ask store clerks to hand you easily transportable items without bags.

So, neither is a better option.

We don’t have to do something with extra effort, what we are supposed to do is to go to another shop, which has handmade products.

With the aim to minimize the amount of paper waste produce by office, Eco India had created the Handmade Paper. With this project , offices particularly in India will now be able to minimize the need of paper, the possibility of cutting more trees and help save the forest.

With the fact that making a single tonne of paper from virgin pulp does require 17 large trees, that large number simply means that deforestation is not impossible that will eventually destroy natural habitats.

With the presence of the Handmade Paper, these unwanted acts towards our forests will be minimized dramatically. Other global benefits that the handmade paper provides include the reduced use of energy by at least fifty percent, up to ninety percent of wastewater, and air pollution reduction by seventy percent. These benefits may not be noticed immediately but in the end people will know how these green deeds affect the environment and the world.

You might wonder why this handmade paper is eco-friendly. Firstly, since it is handmade, it does use less energy in manufacturing. Next is that, these papers use non-wood raw materials, which obviously does not require the manufacturers to cut some trees, and thus, saves many trees we have in our beautiful forests. Another feature why this handmade paper is eco-friendly is the manufacturer’s extensive use of solar energy, which is obviously a pollution-free method.

Aside from the green features these handmade paper has, it also boasts off its quality. Compared to a mill made paper, these papers are more tensile and is not easy to tear because of its double-fold strength.

Finally, apart from those interesting green features that the Handmade Paper has, it also has a fine and elegant quality that will surely satisfy everyone’s need when it comes to paper. It is whether the users are corporate groups or students, the handmade paper will surely provide the right quality that the users may want and need. Even manufacturers can use this wonderful paper, which is also ideal in creating numerous paper products.

The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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