Video: Sharjah grade 11 student aims to recycle 100kg of waste by year-end

Teenager kick-started a personal recycling programme within her household, targeting plastic, paper, and batteries

By Aanya Mitra

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Published: Mon 11 Sep 2023, 4:08 PM

Last updated: Tue 12 Sep 2023, 7:02 PM

Simran Banga, a 16-year-old Grade 11 student at DPS Sharjah, has been leaving an indelible mark through her commitment to recycling and environmental activism. Simran embarked on her remarkable recycling journey about a year and a half ago. She kick-started a personal recycling programme within her household, targeting plastic, paper, and batteries. While it began with just her family of three generating waste, this modest beginning served as the spark that ignited a much larger movement.

For eight months, Simran tirelessly collected recyclables not only from her own home but also from her neighbours as she made it her mission to educate those around her about the importance of recycling. Eager to support her dedication, her father's involvement in event management, particularly at Expo Sharjah, opened up new opportunities. Together, Simran and her dad, Sandeep Banga, began collecting waste from these events, ensuring it was disposed of properly in blue bins and delivered to Excyclex, a recycling company that values ethical and responsible recycling.


She has already recycled approximately 45kg of waste and aims to reach 100kg by year-end. Simran attributes her journey to the support of two innovative apps, ReLoop and ZeLoop, which provide incentives for recycling by offering redeemable points leading to cashback rewards. Now, with a determination to take her efforts to the next level, Simran is exploring strategies to collect and recycle cigarette butts regularly.

The teenager said environmental activist Greta Thurnberg ignited her commitment to reducing carbon footprints. Simran recounts her school's World Environment Day, and, upon learning about the young activist, thinking that if Greta Thurnberg at 17 could achieve so much, "Why can't I?". Simran firmly believes that even one person can make a substantial impact, "even if it's a small difference, it's still a difference."


The Sharjah student believes the present generation has the responsibility to undo what the previous generations did for climate, keenly aware that fate is in our hands. However, taking this rather grim reality in her stride, the need for education is at the heart of her mission. She emphasises that people must understand what can be recycled and how to do it correctly, especially when disposing of hazardous materials like batteries. "People don't grasp the severity of climate change and how fast it is accelerating towards us," she said.

As she looks ahead to COP28, taking place in Dubai from November 30 to December 12, Simran hopes that agreements on carbon emission caps for multinational corporations are reached as she recognises their significant contributions to carbon emissions worldwide. However, Simran is optimistic when she takes a look at UAE's environmental consciousness as she credits the country's advanced eco-friendly initiatives, like waste collection apps, and, in particular, the sustainable practices demonstrated during Expo 2020.

Simran's journey has not only been an environmental one but a personal one, as it has allowed her to hone her time management and interpersonal skills, balancing her activism with her studies. Her journey, she says, has been a humbling experience, reminding her that she is part of something much bigger than herself, a journey she can't simply turn away from now that she's treaded its rewarding path.

Simran credits her success to her parents, Sandeep and Prity Banga, whose physical and emotional encouragement propelled her towards her goal. She also acknowledges the proactive stance of her school and the environmentally conscious community she is a part of, stating, "I was fortunate to have been given the right opportunities and to have the right people by my side at the right time."

As she continues her determined march toward the goal of a more sustainable world, Simran's message remains crystal clear: "If you are genuinely passionate about something, the effort you invest in it is always worthwhile."

She credits her success to the support of her parents, Sandeep and Prity Banga, whose continual physical and emotional support carried her forward. She also acknowledges the proactive stance of her school and the environmentally conscious community she is a part of, stating, "I was fortunate to have been given the right opportunities and to have the right people by my side at the right time."

Simran's message is clear as she continues her activism toward a more sustainable world: "If you are really passionate about something, the work you have to do for it is always worth it."

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