Talking responsible CSR with Anjana Ghosh, Director Marketing and OSR- Bisleri

Bisleri's 'Bottles for Change' campaign is taking corporate responsibility to a new high.

Anjana Ghosh_Director Marketing & OSR, Bisleri International

Being the leader in the mineral water category in the country, Bisleri  makes a conscious effort towards correct disposal and recycling of plastic bottles. In fact, they have gone beyond the realms of their brand and have accepted plastic from all brands in the market. 

In an interview with Everything Experiential, Anjana Ghosh, Director Marketing and OSR- Bisleri International shared about the initiative and the recently launched Bisleri's mobile app.


Tell us something about the initiative ‘Bottles for Change’.

People are unaware about the benefits of plastic and easily believe that plastic should be banned. To spread the awareness about the recycling of plastic, we started the whole effort in late 90s and later evolved the initiative and approached about 200 schools in Mumbai. We introduced this concept making citizens aware that plastic is valuable and can be recycled. We entered the Guinness Book of World Records for collecting maximum plastic in the shortest time. Last year, we coined this concept and we gave it a name ‘Bottles for Change’.

For over a year, we’ve been trying to inculcate this thought process in everyone. We made an effort to personally go to them and educate them to treat plastic not as a waste. Once the plastic is mixed with wet waste it becomes very difficult to segregate.

The concept talk about cleaning the plastic at user’s end segregating it and sending it for recycling through bottles for change plastic agents. This Initiative has helped to create a positive thought towards plastic.

Whom are you targeting and how many members you have involved in this initiative?

Bottles for Change process starts with a brief awareness session about the initiative with the stakeholders (housing society/colleges/schools/corporates). ‘Bottles for Change’ programme has conducted over 200 plastic recycling awareness and collection drives and workshops in corporate offices, housing societies, schools, colleges and other institutions, malls, festive & social gatherings, events, etc. With over, 4,800 Tonnes of Plastic recycled, It has reached out and successfully engaged 15, 00,000 Citizens, 600 Housing Societies, 150 Corporate, 400 Hotels and Restaurants, 200 Schools: 3,00,000 Number of Students who have actively supported and joined the initiative.

Could you elaborate on the recycling process and the products made out of plastic, especially the recycled bench which you are planning to install across Mumbai?

This program has created a complete value chain. Plastic is picked up right from the doorstep of a citizen and sent to the Recycler without involving any Waste Bins or Dump Yards. Every member of the society is asked to clean plastic after use and keep it separately. The housekeeping staff is explained to collect plastic from every household separately. Bottles for Change plastic agents collect the clean plastic from societies on a weekly basis and directly send it for recycling. THE KEY MESSAGE IS TO CLEAN PLASTIC BEFORE DISPOSING AS CLEAN PLASTIC CAN DIRECTLY GO FOR RECYCLING. Bottles for Change has been receiving a tremendous response from the citizens and as a gesture of contributing to the society, the team will be placing 25 BENCHES MADE FROM RECYCLED PLASTIC at prominent areas of Mumbai. Every bench requires around 50 kgs of used plastic to make it.

You recently launched Bottles for Change Mobile App, could you elaborate on its function and the members who have actively supported the initiative through the app?

Bottles for Change recently introduced a Mobile App for the citizens of Mumbai which aims to bring the citizens and the Plastic Collecting Agents (Kabadiwallahs/NGOs) under one roof. The app provides a hassle-free option to the citizens to search & approach a nearby plastic agent to handover the clean plastic. The plastic agents will in turn sell the used clean plastic to the recyclers who will make recycled products from the same. More than 2000 stakeholders have already joined

The major role of App in brief is:

· App will be used to map all the Kabadiwalas in K east ward with their details (location, name, contact no)

· All the present stakeholders (schools/societies/colleges/corporates) will be mapped too in the app with their location, name and contact details.

· App will be used by stakeholders and Kabadiwalas to communicate about the pickup details and other necessary changes.

· Both will be able to input the amount of plastic donated and collected in the app under their Login after every pick up.

· New member/stakeholder can sign up and get details of their nearest Kabadiwalas to join the initiative.

· Since through app we will be getting the details of our stakeholders and plastic collected quantity, this will be used for updating our monthly reports and analyzing the efforts of the initiative.

Do you have any case studies to share on the success that you have achieved since the inception of Bottles for Change?

There are some case studies that I can share:


Riya Rajesh Chourasiya from Xavier’s high school Borivali, a student of class 7th is one of the Bisleri champ of bottle for change. While the plastic collection drive was running in her school, she use to motivate all other students to collect plastic from their own classes and homes. One day while she was leaving for home from school, she saw a marriage function running in front of her school. She noticed plenty of bottles and plastic being thrown on the ground. She left her bus went in the function with bag and collected plastics and even asked other people to not throw it elsewhere. Watching her few more students from the school joined her. She says her motivation and zeal to work towards environment has been gained by the chairman of Ryan group of school Dr. A.F pinto.


Success Story of Mr.Godwin Pinto, Vile Parle

Like all concerned citizens even I wanted to do something. Though I was involved in various volunteering activities, I was still searching for something. That’s when I saw the Bisleri's BottlesforChange poster on one of the delivery trucks.

I looked up the net and called the contact and there I was putting in place for pickup of plastic from my area. I connected with various groups / contacts and everyone gave me a thumps up little did I know that it also meant "Thenga"

I had to work out something else if I had to gain support for this cause of Plastic Recycling.

My son and me were already involved in collection of tetra packs since past 3 yrs and depositing them every week at the Reliance Mall Acme Plaza outlet.

I asked my son now 7yrs if he would join me in the plastic collection from my society member’s door to door collection. Which son will say no to his father? He jumped to this idea. We both wrote a letter addressing each society member and we signed the letter asking the members to help us in this cause. Two of my son’s young friends too joined in.

Now the enthusiasm is so much that every Monday sharp at 8.30pm the kids are already at my door waiting for me to hand over an empty collection sack bag. We started with 3 kids now we are 14 including 2 parents.

We then approached the Parish Priest of St Francis Xaviers Church, he was very excited and together with BCS we started collection of plastic every Sunday to 11.30pm in the Church premises where Parishioners coming for Mass got along with them their weekly plastic which now does go to the landfills but comes to the collection point at the Church. To involve the kids further we organised Drawing & an Essay competition for the children the theme being save our Environment and 3 prizes for every class

Currently we are running another competition "Green Warriors" for the kids who regularly bring plastic to church.

There was a great satisfaction when one day I was checking my son’s school bag and I found empty wrappers of biscuits, chocolates, on inquiring with my wife she told me that he has been doing this since past 2 weeks. It seems his class friends have been handing over Plastic wrappers and my son Glenn gets it home so that he can hand it to the collection team every Tuesday.

Are you planning to expand to other cities as well and how are you planning to spread the awareness among those citizens?

Within a span of a year we are planning to expand to 4 more cities. We will plan an awareness sessions with those citizens in order to spread the awareness of Bottles for Change. We will reach them through our website and various videos and Whataspp forwards etc. We are also planning to place recycled benches in public places so that people are aware about plastic recycling.

Bottles for Change focuses on the collection of cleaned plastic, could you please elaborate on the steps for disposing plastic in the bins that you will be placing at different offices in Mumbai?

The core process remains the same. People have to dispose clean plastic in the bins. Once in a week or in 15 days, the office management can place a request through bottles for change app. Bottles for change vehicle with the plastic agent will visit within 24 hrs. The plastic collected will be directly sent for recycling.

What are your future plans?

We want to create value chain for all kind of plastic to be sent for recycling. And as mentioned above, we are definitely expanding to additional cities of India.

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Bisleri Group csr BottlesforChange

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