English | Dzongkha Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Chips doing its bit towards waste management

Samten Dolkar, Thimphu
Sep 20, 2017

Bhutan imports hundreds of varieties of chips. And it is popular among the people from all walks of life. But people are least bothered about the waste that it generates. The chips are packaged in plastics which take years to decompose. However, Happy Chips, alocal chip manufacturing firm does something to take care of their waste. 

Happy Chips produce their product in Changzamtog in Thimphu. Every day, 1000 packets of chips are being produced and with it, comes 1000 plastic packets, which contributes to never ending waste. Though profit driven, the unit takes equal responsibility in preventing waste generation.

“One bag, one ngultrum” on its packet says it all. If people return an empty packet to the  shops selling happy chips, they will get one ngultrum. And Happy Chips pays two ngultrum for every empty packet that shopkeepers collect.

“If you see an empty food wrap or any waste, for that matter, people would put the blame on consumers and rightfully so, but I feel like the liabilities shouldn’t stop there because you know as a producer, we are equally at fault,” said Operations Manager of Happy Chips, Thinley Namgay. “I feel as a responsible manufacturer, we have even greater responsibility to reduce, reuse and recycle the waste we produce.”

Happy Chips has been doing this since the day its production became available in the market.

“By end of 2018, there will be an increase in the number of people who are coming to return back the bags and that may be due to adequate awareness on waste management,” said one of the shopkeepers in Thimphu, Chimmi.

The collected plastic chip wrappers are then given to Green Road Project, who uses it to blacktop the roads.

“Our goal is to support Bhutanese farmers and strengthen local economy through reduction of imports while producing a product free from chemicals and additives and along the way, be as environment friendly as possible,” added Thinley Namgay.

Their message is mainly to say eat chips, but also manage the trash it generates.

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