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Updated: Oct 19, 2020

SUSTAINABILITY Interiors and Sustainability?

By Shreya and Yogish Every home built, every design project completed generates trash amounting to 10% of materials consumed in the project. Can you think of the times you have driven past a landfill or have seen plastic in the sea? The trash collected from projects usually end up being dumped and they find their way into vacant lots, unauthorized places, drains and accessible water bodies. That brings us to the question why should companies that work in the architecture and interior space think about sustainability? When we procure materials to execute interiors like plywood, false roofing cement boards, hardware items, paints, light and fixtures, each of these generate waste once they are removed from their packaging. A hardware item like a handle for a door comes packed in a plastic cover for damage control and then packed in a carton box etc. A fan for instance comes packed in a carton box, inside which there will be thermocol for cushioning.   At the end of the project the amount of wastage generated is quite substantial. What happens to this waste?                                         In the current scenario, mostly in apartment complexes, the Admin team designates an area where the waste can be dumped for a fee and this dump is cleared everyday by private contractors whose only job is to find places where they can dump the waste. Why is it a bad practice?

  • Most the plastics that come with packaging like bubble wrap, thermocol, plastic wrap, covers take 400 years to decompose

  • The cement boards and fine particles that gets generated create dust in the air hence causing air pollution

  • All the print materials like guarantee cards, prints on carton boxes, paper wraps are all hazardous since they are printed using chemical ink. When it rains the water mixes with these chemicals and contaminates ground water

  • Small metal pieces, like false roofing frames, nails etc. just lie in the landfills instead of being recycled

Let’s do the math. Every house approximately generates 40-50 kilos of waste and at the rate of 500 houses per day, we are talking about 25 tonnes of waste being dumped and guess what, we were being conservative with our numbers. And this, is only interior design project waste, this does not address the material waste from a construction site. As interior designing and construction companies we have to own the responsibility of disposing the waste in a scientific way or try and reuse most of it. Tips to minimize waste All aluminum and steel waste can be recycled Plastic bubble wraps and other plastic sheets can be reused or recycled Carton boxes can be used to repackage or can be recycled Wood bits can go into making art or be compressed to make sheets and blocks for reuse Anything biodegradable can be composted And last but not least these can generate an income as well, heard of wealth from waste?

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