Indian Students Mail 20,000 Plastic Food Wrappers Back to Manufacturers

With no good option for disposing of non-recyclable plastic food wrappers, Indian students have decided to send it back and let the manufacturers figure it out.

At a loss for what to do with the plastic waste piling up in their streets, city councilors in India are encouraging school children to round it up and mail it back to the manufacturers.

Students from one middle school in the port city of Thoothukudi collected more than 20,000 packaged food wrappers in less than two weeks, sorted them out and mailed them back to the companies who manufactured them.

More than 10,ooo of the wrappers came from a company called Britannia (owned primarily by Nabisco) which makes biscuits, bread and cakes.

Along with the wrappers, the students sent a letter:

“We are happy with the taste and quality of your products, but unhappy with the plastic packaging. We want to ensure a safe environment for our future generations and minimize our plastic footprint. We have decided to collect used plastic wrappers of your products and send them to you for safe disposal. Please help us savor your products without guilt, by introducing eco-friendly packaging.”

Cities have been “fighting hard to cut down on plastic usage and the indiscreet disposal of waste,” reports The Times of India.

The companies also received a letter from Thoothukudi commissioner Alby John Varghese reminding them that according to a 2016 law, producers, importers and brand owners — not municipalities — are responsible for collecting plastic waste left by their products.

He says the mass-wrapper mailing was a “grand success” in generating publicity and that there are plans to extend the program to other schools and cities.

While the students had fun with the clean-up this time around, the commissioner has asked the companies to come up with an action plan to clean up their own mess within the next two months.

RELATED: Plastic Piles Up Around the World After China Refuses to Recycle It





29 responses to “Indian Students Mail 20,000 Plastic Food Wrappers Back to Manufacturers”

  1. Maggie Avatar

    Brilliant. Hopes this goes viral. Thanks for the story.

    1. Michael Avatar

      See 3 paragraphs before the end, about a 2016 law … that should exist in every country!!!

      1. Swarna Avatar

        Exists, along with 5 other set of waste management rules, but implementation is less than half-hearted. Plastic lobbies continue to call the shots. 🙁

    2. Lykri Avatar

      It reached me and I’m sending it on. Central PA.

    3. Linda Avatar

      This is a great idea but,an even better one would be to require ALL manufactured plastics dis-allowed unless or until sufficient facilities are available locally that can actually process that plastic to be re-used, the needed ultimate step in recycling.That way we wouldn’t have a build-up or anything going to the landfill or oceans. Plastics manufacturers would be heavily fined with a three strikes policy if they make plastic products that can’t be melted down and used again. The whole industry needs stricter regulations.

  2. Yannick Phillips Avatar
    Yannick Phillips

    I’d like to do this in our farm to table class in our Sonoma middle school. Thank you!

  3. Mike Avatar

    I love this and would love to see this spread to other industries like energy etc… Capture Green house emissions and send them back in giant bricks of cryogenicly frozen blocks…

  4. Laqshika Patiyal Avatar
    Laqshika Patiyal

    Great initiative…will totally support n contribute as well.

  5. MTeresa La Valle Avatar
    MTeresa La Valle

    Truly brilliant. Hope manufacturers the world over take good notice.

  6. Ann Caudle Avatar
    Ann Caudle

    Great idea! My husband and I are part of a recycling effort in Maine and it is overwhelming…..our thoughts at the end of touring a recycling plant was……get it stopped at the SOURCE and stop passing the buck, so to speak. Kudos to these kids and their efforts!

  7. Bill Avatar

    Please go the extra mile and post the dresses of the companies that the bags were sent to, and quote, if possible, the 2016 that holds the companies responsible for disposing of the bags. This could catch on in this country as well, with a little help.

  8. Ashwin Avatar

    This is perfect way to remind company that what other they give with food.

  9. Syam Sundar Avatar

    Thanks to the ice breakers. Now we all should follow them by sending back to the creator. Definitely it will bring a change.
    We will also try at our area

  10. Hiren Avatar

    Brilliant idea, we should also try this?

  11. Namrata Suri Avatar
    Namrata Suri

    Brilliant idea really need this to work in Majkhali and Ranikhet

  12. Ļeisa Dunĉker Avatar
    Ļeisa Dunĉker

    great idea. this should go viral.

  13. Billy Avatar

    Why not put the waste in landfall like every other first world country? Why blame nabisco for India’s clearly lacking infrastructure.

    Having visited India multiple times, nabisco isn’t a problem, it’s indians cavalier attitude with throwing trash anywhere on the ground.

    Visit Delhi, their capital for christ sake, they pile trash into piles on street corners and then once the trash gets high enough they simply burn it, yes they burn plastic trash in public areas for everyone to simply inhale toxic fumes!

    The majority of Indians don’t use the restroom in a toilet that is connected to a sewage system, the majority of Indian sewage simply flows into a near by river completely untreated.

    To have Indians turn around and try to blame nabisco as the source of their problems when India itself is comically deficient in their own infrastructure is simply laughable, and does more harm than good attempting to push off their problems onto corporations instead of looking within and realizing their own infrastructure problems and attitudes are their own issues!

    Indians bought the product, now they have to deal with the wrappers, maybe attitudes need to change so Indians stop littering all over their beautiful country. Maybe Indian officials need to stop being so corrupt and stealing public funds that should go to infrastructure. Maybe blaming corporations for all their problems is possibly the dumbest thing I’ve read all day.

    I’m guessing this comment will be deleted because I don’t buy the feel-good kool-aid and am suggesting people take of their own problems instead of blaming others.

    1. Alex Avatar

      Billy, you are trying to vilanize these students for blaming with blaming…why not come up with a constructive comment instead?

      If you have all of the answers, pass them on so that everyone can be perfect like you!

    2. Howie Avatar

      Perfect analogy, people are oh so quick to criticize when they don’t take into account it’s infrastructure that’s behind the scenes.

    3. Srinath Avatar

      Hi Billy…Littering does not obsolve the corporations from their responsibility on packaging, irrespective of the country. Is it that correct they can continue to use irresponsible packing and make profits while govt struggles with infra and recycling ? Obviously you have not seen the scale of recycling in India. Landfill is the dumbest idea promoted to the world by the west. India was clean and happy till the British came. Srinath.

    4. Vinoy thomas Avatar
      Vinoy thomas

      While most of them things that you said about india and indians attitude is right. However it is important to figure out solutions and not increase trash

    5. Gigi Avatar

      My new born daughter’s name is Billie, I hope she grows up like you 🙂

  14. Slym Avatar

    Best response of them all.

  15. Vicki Bartlett Avatar
    Vicki Bartlett

    We could all share this on our social media sites; I commit to doing just that!

  16. Rammohan Potturi Avatar
    Rammohan Potturi

    It’s time the manufacturers of consumer products world over switch over to bio degradable materials like maize gluten for packing their products in the larger interests of safe gaurding the planet earth. Plastics has to be totally taken off the process of packing the materials.

  17. Momof3 Avatar

    I love that these kids care so much and are trying to make a difference! However, the parents are the ones who are buying them. They have the purchasing power.

  18. Your the problem Avatar
    Your the problem

    If they do not like the packaging don’t buy the product. No one is forcing them to eat candy and snack food. Give me a break if they want to force change then they need to change them self.