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Home > Discover Mumbai > City LifeStyle > Cycling and Recycling

 Cycling and Recycling 

 V R Iyer on his collection rounds Cyclists might be passť. But how about a sixty year old cyclist, retired mechanical engineer, industrial fastener specialist, professional tennis coach and recycler, all rolled into one, who has replaced cycle tyres with those from a wheel chair? A man who has singly taken on the cause to reduce the city's garbage to zero? Meet Mumbai's V R Iyer. Mostly attired in sports garb, a white English cap and sun glasses, he peddles the suburbs, collecting recyclable items like cycle tyres, pet plastic bottles, car tyres and cement bags from rag-pickers only to recycle them into attractive household products like glasses, decorative items, award trophies, washable pillows and cushions, to name a few.

 Iyer's on his innovative cycleHis penchant for innovations could be traced to the days he spent in Nairobi, where he worked as a mechanical engineer. Iyer developed an industrial cutter using scrap material, saving his company Rs 12 lakhs a year. Today, he is a dedicated tennis coach attached to the Willingdon Catholic Gymkhana in Santacruz, qualified at the National Institute of Sports.It all started when he noticed Pet bottles swamping the market and found them littered everywhere on street corners. He then hit upon a novel idea of how to utilise them, converting them into trophies for students of his tennis coaching classes. The idea clicked and then he began to see the possibility of reuse in every waste item. After that there was no stopping him. He converted empty tennis ball containers into tennis ball pickers, vegetable waste into manure, used cement bags into dustbins for the BMC and basketball baskets for children and plastic bags (less than 20 microns) into fibre cotton pillows or cushions. He even experimented with the conversion of Bisleri bottles into shuttle cocks, made table tennis boards out of scrap wood and converted old bottles into coffee containers.

Iyer spreads the no garbage message How does he benefit from all this? "I want to educate people better about the use of garbage, how it can be recycled to make Mumbai, a cleaner and healthier place to live in. Citizens should take protection and cleanliness into their own hands and stop depending entirely on the BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation)," says Iyer. He continues, "I am also in touch with the chief engineer, Solid Waste Management, BMC, to allot a small area in a dumping ground where I can utilise the scrap gainfully and generate some revenue for the municipality. Soon I should be setting up a recycle shop and a moving exhibition to introduce people to the beauty of recycled items." He has also promoted this concept in schools through free lectures and demonstrations to create awareness among youngsters.

Mumbai may need many more Iyers and good samartians to clean up the city and its precincts, but at least one citizen has made a difference.

Address:
D'46, Anu, 3rd Floor,
Milan Subway, Santacruz West,
Mumbai - 400 054,

Phone:
613 0281

By: Anupama Vinayak



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