Zero Waste is a unique way one looks at resources - one of the most futuristic, current and profound ways that modern societal change is envisaged in the world today. It is based on three fundamental principles – ethics, efficiency and economy. It is a total systems approach that goes beyond just segregate - reuse - reduce - recycle. Hence it is a logical planning approach incorporating principles of effective human and material resource utilization to avoid the conversion of discards into waste in a manner that revitalizes the local economy.
Zero Waste Kovalam
Zero Waste Kovalam is an attempt to implement zero waste concepts at a tourist beach destination in Kerala, India. The project was conceived and launched as a fall out of an anti waste incineration campaign launched by Thanal in 1996. The project was drawn in 2001 focusing on building capacity and relationship among the local community for lobbying for better resource management policies, generating clean and sustainable employment through discards recovery and material substitution.
Zero Waste Centre
Zero Waste Centre, a part of the Zero Waste Kovalam programme was established in April 2003, as a Resource Use Education Centre with the objective of product design and development, imparting training and building awareness about resource use. The Centre evolved from the need to complement the effort of the Zero Waste Kovalam Programme which demands ideas, products and designs that are diverse and eco-friendly. It has been able to share the lessons learnt in economical and ecological way of handling waste with local self governments, Institutions and the local people and has helped build relationships and partnerships among various stakeholders.
Environment Leadership Training
Environment Leadership Training provides opportunity for people to perceive the local environmental as well as development issues and to encourage them in timely interventions to correct the situation. The content of the training varies depending on the nature and role of the people from sensitization to highly technical sessions. This programmes builds capcity in the community which enhances public participation and contribution in local planning, development and conservation activities.
Material Substitution focuses on phasing out materials and products which are unsustainable and toxic like plastics and replacing them with economically viable and ecologically sustainable materials, products and services which have minimum impact on environment and health. Material substitution encourages responsible resource use and mindful consumption. The Material Substitution programme has trained both women and youth to produce Environment friendly products using local materials. The project has created more than 100 new jobs in the first three years. The Centre runs free vocational training on production of eco-friendly products, conducts periodical design development workshops and facilitates network of individuals and enterprises engaged in the business of eco-friendly products and services.
Entrepreneurship Development Programme
Entrepreneurship Development Programme helps local entrepreneurs develop skills in writing proposals, budgeting, pricing, marketing and business management for running and managing small enterprises. The Centre maintains a constant relationship with the small enterprises and extends the support for procuring raw materials, production, quality control, pricing and marketing.
Organic Farming promotes environment stewardship among farmers by giving them technical assistance and training for toxic free agriculture. Local women prepare processed food with organic produce. Inspiringly women’s participation is dominant in both the production and marketing sectors. Marginal activities have now become a mainstream sustainable business which yields them decent profits.