Published: 13th October 2020
Calculate your plastic footprint with this Delhi start-up's calculator and to do your bit to keep Earth plastic-free
The Plastic Footprint Calculator will scare you first, but it will slowly make you realise that you can reduce your plastic consumption by tweaking things here and there. Are you ready to calculate?
Weighed down by all the plastic she had sold by working in the FMCG sector for corporate clients, Richa Malik quit it all in 2016 and became a certified scuba diving instructor in Indonesia. During one of her underwater adventures, she spotted a turtle who was heading towards a plastic bag, assuming it was jellyfish (a preferred snack), and was going to swallow it. This is a common mistake many marine animals make, particularly turtles. Somehow, Richa drove him away from the plastic bag but that got her thinking, 'What happens when the next time it makes the same mistake? For that matter, if any other marine species does?'. Hence, she came back to Delhi and started The Happy Turtle, her humble attempt to make all turtles, and other animals, happy.
"Having worked in the FMCG sector, I knew consumption patterns are not easy to alter. It wasn't just about offering people alternate products to use. It was about showing them the size of the plastic problem and the size of the mountain they had to scale," reasoned the 35-year-old. Thus, was born the Plastic Footprint Calculator. "This exhaustive questionnaire helps people in realising all the plastic they use, because some people don't even realise what is plastic and what isn't," she says. The questionnaire has simple tick boxes and a scale which you can mark yourself on on various factors such as how many milk packets you use in a month, how many sachets and so on.
Their stall | (Pic: The Happy Turtle)
The result of completing the questionnaire is that it tells you the top five plastic products you use and how you could possibly replace them, thereby, reducing 40-60 per cent of your plastic consumption. "We don't track or moral police participants. We just show them the real picture and alternatives," explains the Delhite. Most importantly, it drives home the point that we are part of the problem and yet, we can do our bit. The common plastic products that all people use, and can reduce, are garbage bags and takeaway boxes, she shares adding that they offer this solution to corporates as well. Currently, they are working with dessert cafés and patisseries in Mumbai and Delhi and a few other hotels and lodges too.
Coming to the questionnaire itself, expect questions like how often do you use products like tea bags, sugar sachets, chips and so on. Yes, it's that detailed and yet, care was taken to not keep it too long. It takes about two to three minutes to fill the current one, because otherwise, it gets time-consuming and stressful. They also ask about what plastic products you have at home and if you recycle. No wonder since the launch of the calculator two and a half years ago, about 5,000 people have undertaken the test. The Happy Turtle also has a range of products that they offer as an alternative to their plastic counterparts, like water bottles, coasters, bags, cutlery and so much more.
Their products | (Pic: The Happy Turtle)
Richa, who pursued her MBA from XLRI, says that they are working on more tools that will help people recycle products or connect them to start-ups or companies who can do it for them.
For more on them, check out thehappyturtle.in/plastic-footprint-calculator-individual