Educational Visit to the Recycling Operations of GOONJ

event-photos A visit to the garment collection and fabric recycling facility operated by the NGO "GOONJ" was organised on October 8, 2014 by the Fabric and Apparel Science wing of the Department of Home Science. The main objective of the visit was to sensitise the students about the opportunities available for making effective use of the garments usually discarded by the well to do urban population.

The variety of recycling operations carried out by GOONJ was an eye opener for the students. What the students saw was that recycling operations at GOONJ start with the sorting and segregation of the garments and other items received in to three different categories. The first category is of items, which are perfectly fine and can be reused without any difficulty. The second category included items which needed a bit of repairing before these can be reused. The third category is of items, which would require considerable time and effort to improve them and make these fit for use.

Among the garments falling in to the first and second category also, there could be dresses, which would not find ready users among the rural population like oversized jeans. In the case of garments, which cannot be reused or do not have ready users, recycling is done by recovering the fabrics. Fabrics reclaimed from tough clothing like jeans are used for making bags. Other fabrics are converted in to hygeinic sanitory napkins and sold to the rural women and girls at easily afforadble prices. This project is known by an apt tagline "Not just a piece of cloth"

The students were also impressed by the manner in which GOONJ was able to collect clothes from urban centres and make these useful for the poor people in the rural areas through proper recycling. GOONJ was also very successful in its collection drives thanks to its sensitisation campaigns, wide network of collection centres and their effective recycling methods. Apart from clothes, GOONJ also received donations of  many other items like footwear, medicine, jewellery, crockery , machines, books, etc.

The students were also able to appreciate the vaious ways in which GOONJ had adopted recycling in all its activities. They saw for themselves how the NGO was able to arrange for recycling of paper and also use recycled paper or reuse waste paper. GOONJ was saving even small items like stapler pins and selling it to scrap dealers. Students were also given information about the “school to school" programme of GOONJ, which aimed at creating an awareness among the children about the need for using paper properly and to instill a sense of responsibility towards helping the poor and needy persons.

They were also apprised about the strategy of GOONJ to earn revenues by selling recycled items like bags, file folders, I-pad covers, wedding kits, hats, pen stand, balls, etc. made out of waste clothes, cassette tapes, jeans fabric, etc.  for creating revenues, which will strengthen their activities further. The students were also motivated by the variety of community engagement and outreach activities performed by GOONJ to help people affected by natural disasters, to provide books and stationery to needy school children and to positively transform the lives of poor people living in rural areas through well managed collective action programmes.

The visit provided numerous learning opportunities for the students about the need for adopting recycling as a way of life  for the purpose of not only saving the environment but also for helping the poor and the needy. It also motivated the participants to become socially responsible citizens