Turning plastic waste into beautiful handcrafted products, this organisation is giving sustainable alternatives

Plastic waste is an enormous threat, as according to the United Nations, around 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans every year. Additionally, plastic waste takes hundreds of years to decompose, pollutes the air when burned, and releases harmful chemicals into the soil and water.

Therefore, urgent action is needed to reduce plastic waste and find sustainable alternatives to plastics to prevent further damage to the environment and human health.

There is an organisation working on three domains – fighting plastic waste, creating livelihoods for the rural population, and raising awareness towards a sustainable environment – and that particular organisation is ReCharkha EcoSocial.

Pune-based Amita Deshpande, a software engineer, was concerned by mountains of trashed wrappers and plastic covers and was determined to devise a creative way to reuse the mountains of plastic waste.

She was aware from experience that more needed to be done than just glamping or trash collection to have a long-lasting impact on the environment. Hence, she decided to “UPCYCLE” waste plastic into beautiful handcrafted products using charkha (spindle) and handloom.

Thus, she started……………

Giving new life to discarded plastics

The organisation’s current focus is on finding a solution to the problem of waste management, particularly that of non-biodegradable and challenging-to-recycle waste plastic. In order to provide tribal women and youth with opportunities for craft-based livelihoods, our project also hires them.

The attempt to upcycle discarded plastic uses India’s age-old CHARKHA and HANDLOOM weaving techniques, keeping everything artisanal. The fabric is used to create consumer goods like handbags, accessories for fashion, workplace goods, and home décor items.

Moreover, as per the organisation, it upcycles (reuse) plastic/polyethene bags, multilayered wrappers of Gifts, multilayered wrappers of biscuits, cookies, old audio and video cassette tapes, and a lot of other household packagings material like cereal, flour and detergent packets.

Additionally, the organisation creates livelihood opportunities for tribal Women and Youth, as they manually weave fabric from waste plastic using a traditional charkha (Spindle) and handloom.

ReCharkha wants to improve the world by protecting nature, society, culture, and heritage. They are a Social Enterprise, which means they believe sustainable development can only happen if it starts from the bottom and involves understanding and caring for all living and non-living communities.

ReCharkha EcoSocial focuses on three things to make this happen:

·       preserving the environment and heritage,

·       helping people in rural areas make a living, and

·       encouraging people to be more aware of their impact on the environment.

But how do such initiatives help

In addition to the environmental benefits, upcycling discarded plastic waste can also have social and economic benefits. Upcycling can generate new job opportunities and support local businesses by creating new products and materials out of waste. It can also promote creative thinking and innovation as individuals and communities look for ways to turn waste into something valuable.

Upcycling can take many forms, from turning plastic bottles into clothing or building materials to using plastic bags to create art or accessories. The possibilities are endless, and by encouraging upcycling, we can help shift our mindset from waste to creativity and sustainability. Doing so can help create a more circular and sustainable economy that values our resources and reduces the amount of waste we generate.

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