June 5, 2009
School of Engineering, Amritapuri
It all began with an email sent out by Mr. Rajesh, faculty in-charge of Amrita Multimedia team at the Amritapuri Campus. “Dear all,” he began, “I think we print more than 100 flex ads every year. What happens to all these flex prints?”
The email included excerpts from an article he had read. “Flex prints look good, last long but are ecological hazards. They don’t decompose, cannot be recycled and are ultimately dumped at landfill sites. The reason? The actual life of most of the flexes is practically unending. Because they are tough and water-resistant, they make good makeshift roofs for rag-pickers for sometime. But once they begin to tear, the only option is to burn, or dump into a landfill, like all other non-degradable waste.”
“Is this becoming an environmental problem?” asked Mr. Rajesh. “Next time you plan to print an advertisement on flex, please remember this article.” Responses to his email included a link to a company manufacturing a material called bio-flex that would degrade in a landfill. One of the best responses however, was from the ACM Student Chapter that communicated its decision to simply not print on flex in the future. The chapter was then observing its second anniversary celebrations and had a line-up of several events to be conducted over a one-month period.
The month saw the events being successfully conducted with tremendous student participation and support. There were coding and hacking contests, a 2D gaming challenge and distinguished talks. For the entire month, a single flex ad that was printed earlier was displayed prominently in the building quadrangle. No additional flexes were printed. “We, Amrita Multimedia, are the ones who design 80 % of the flexes printed here at Amritapuri.” Mr. Rajesh and his team must have been glad that this particular student organization chose to do without additional flexes.