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Verka in Chandigarh to serve sweetened milk to students under PM Poshan

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The UT school education department is all set to serve sweetened milk once a week to the students.

The sweetened milk (130 ML with 3% fat content in tetra pak cartons) will be served to students of 111 government schools and seven government-aided schools in midday meal as part of PM Poshan from next week.

“The essential nutrients of milk, including calcium, proteins and vitamins, are crucial for the growth and development of children.

Introducing milk into school meals will help address common nutritional deficiencies among children. Malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies can lead to stunted growth, weakened immunity, and cognitive impairments, all of which can be mitigated by regular consumption of milk along with aiding in better concentration, memory, and learning capabilities,” said Director (School Education) H P S Brar.

He added, “By including milk in school meals, Department of Sschool Education has attempted to contribute to improving students’ cognitive development and academic outcomes. Well-nourished children perform better in school, have higher attendance rates, and are more engaged in their studies. Regular consumption will also help reduce absenteeism and dropout rates, fostering a more conducive learning environment.”

This milk to the schools will be supplied by Milkfed Punjab under their brand Verka, the UT administration said.

For this, Milkfed Punjab’s Verka brand and Tetra Pak have partnered and through this collaboration, students in Chandigarh will receive nutritious milk in tetra pack cartons.

Desks to be made from used cartons

After consumption, these used cartons will be collected by local NGOs and collection agencies and recycled into various useful items such as notebooks, planters, school desks and more. The cartons are primarily paper-based (on average 70% paperboard) and made of six layers, including paperboard, polymer, and aluminum foil, which protect the contents from light, air, and bacteria, making them safe for consumption and extending the shelf life of the milk. To encourage milk consumption among school kids, Verka will make milk available in cardamom (elaichi) flavour to begin with, making it more appealing to children.

Recycling of tetra pack cartons will be a key aspect of this initiative. The used cartons will be collected and recycled through two key processes. Through pulping, the paper-board will be separated from the Polymer-aluminum (PolyAl) compound, and used for different end products like stationery on one hand and roofing sheets on the other. The second recycling process will convert the entire carton into a composite sheet, like wooden boards, through a combination of heat and pressure. These composite sheets can be used to make furniture, items such as pen stands, coasters, and even seats & backrest of autos. In addition to providing much-needed nutrition to children, this school milk initiative will serve as an educational opportunity for children, teaching them the importance of responsible consumption and planet-friendly practices like recycling. By engaging students in the recycling process, the programme aims to instill a sense of environmental responsibility and the value of sustainable living from a young age,” Brar said.

 

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Cassio Simoes, managing director of Tetra Pak, said, “This programme provides essential nutrition to children while also teaching them the importance of responsible consumption and recycling. By transforming used cartons into valuable resources, we highlight the significance of sustainability. Our collaboration with Verka underscores our promise to protect what’s good – food, people & the planet.
We are proud to partner with Verka in this meaningful endeavor.”

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