Bizarre ways to go green

Freeganism and diaper fuel may be ways to stay eco-friendly but it’s no wonder they are uncommon

By Author  |  Bhavya Burra  |  Published: 13th May 2018  6:40 pmUpdated: 14th May 2018  3:59 pm
go green

As the threat of global warming and climate change become real, many wish to go green and adopt eco-friendly methods. Among the various ways to leave the least possible carbon-footprint, here are some of the unconventional ones.


The world’s few dedicated freegans believe that one of the best ways to save the world is to use things from garbage dumps. In an ongoing battle against capitalism, consumerism and resource wastage, they actively avoid making and using money.

However, most follow a milder approach and have a stable job. The two main goals are to buy the least amount possible and to use only what is needed. Their motivation comes from the belief that they are recycling resources, thereby preventing wastage.

They organise ‘freecycling’ events where they barter for desired goods. With a rooted belief in sharing, they often go the extra mile to donate food. Though they get their name from the words ‘free’ and ‘vegan’, they occasionally eat meat or eggs to prevent their wastage.

Arun Daniel, the founder of the prominent Hyderabad NGO, Youngistaan, speaking of food wastage, says, “India is the no 1 country in food wastage.

In Telangana itself, around Rs 300 crore worth of food is wasted every year.”

One of Youngistaan’s projects is the Food and Nutrition Programme, where they fight wastage by collecting extra food from weddings, hotels, etc. They also organise cooking and feeding programmes. Arun urges people to adopt moderately minimalist lifestyles by preparing and eating only what is required and by not splurging on food and weddings.

When asked about freeganism, he tells, “It’s up to people and is a question of individuality and choices. But, it is good to live with as little as possible when they are so many struggling for basic resources like food, water and clothes.”

Diaper fuel

Companies in Japan and Canada, in an attempt to create alternate fuels from waste products, have come up with ideas to turn dirty diapers into fuel. The same programme is unlikely to come to India anytime soon and it is not only because diapers are not highly used in the country.

Nanda Kishore, director of SmartCity EcoSys Pvt Ltd, a Hyderabad-based waste management service, points out, “Recycling diapers is a great idea but many municipalities have just started segregating dry and wet waste. To recycle diapers, we have to implement a 3-bit system where sanitary waste is segregated to be used for generating fuel by pyrolysis.”

In Canada, Quebec is converting baby and adult diapers into fuel that could be used in industrial plants by a process called pyrolysis. While in Japan, Superfaith is converting adult diapers into sanitised pellets to be used as biomass. The type of fuel generated in the countries differ as the diapers also differ. Japan makes paper-dominant diapers whereas petroleum-based diapers are prominent in Canada.

Kishore mentions that governments only support successful methods and do not take any risks. Similar grievances are seen even in private firms, coupled with funding issues. “Overall, recycling of diapers is a sensitive matter in countries like India. So, it will take some time”, he explains.