At homes we discard old sarees and lehengas, torn jeans, used bed linen, old spectacles, old vinyl records, worn-out shoes, plastic scrap and the like. At garment manufacturers and tailoring units waste textile scrap, clothing waste and leftover fabric get discarded. In hotels, partially used soap bars get leftover when guest check-out. Similar is the case with other business establishments where waste of some kind or other always gets generated.
Most of the waste can be upcycled to create useful products of value such as upcycled furniture, clothing, bags, crafts, products, goods and objects. This is an opportunity for all of us to do our bit for planet earth!
Upcycling is defined as the process of transforming waste materials and unwanted products into useful new materials and products.
It is true that not everything can be recycled or upcycled. Yet, before you throw anything away, really think about how you can support upcycling in creative and innovative ways. To do so, you can get in touch with organizations and individuals carrying out upcycling and offer to donate waste which may be of interest to them.
Some of the upcycling success stories are listed in ‘Whom Can You Contact?’ section below. You will note quilts being created from from used bedsheets, cooking fuel from plastic scrap, soap bars from leftover soap and spectacles from old frames. ‘Turn trash into treasure’ need not be an empty slogan. It can provide a new orientation towards sustainable, ecological living!
All major cities in India
‘Green by Goonj’
Donate old or torn jeans, obsolete audio tapes, one side used paper etc. These will be turned into upcycled goods purses, fancy bags, file folder, mats etc.
HO Delhi: 011-2697 2351, 4140 1216 (For other cities access the link below)
Donate your used bed linen and home linen (and not used clothes), which are recycled into quilts by poor urban artisans. While the quilts are provided to those who cannot afford them, the poor artisans are able to better their livelihoods through improved incomes.
'Tetra Pack Recycling' by Saahas
Jointly with Tetra Pak, Saahas has set up collection points for empty Tetra Pack cartons at 9 Reliance Stores across Bangalore. The paper component which makes up about 75% of the carton is recycled back into paper products. The rest which includes polyethylene and aluminum is recycled into different products including upcycled furniture and roofing sheets.
8th cross, Jayanagar 1st Block, Bangalore
MITU Foundation (Multiple Initiatives Towards Upliftment)
They receive donation of cloth waste generated at tailoring shops. This is sorted, ironed and cut. Next the 'chindi' waste is given out as job work to people for stitching into upcycled products like tambola bags, grocery bags, fancy bags, money covers, cushion covers, patchwork items etc.
57/2, 1st Floor, 17th Cross, Behind Bun World, Malleswaram, Bangalore 560055
They upcycle everything from Tetrapak to vinyl records to create jewellery, stationary and home decor. You can even send material that you wish to upcycle and buy finished product from them.
Store # 7, First Floor, Arya Hub Mall, Hopefarm Junction, Whitefield, Bangalore
At their various branches in Chennai, drop boxes have been placed in which old used spectacles can be dropped. After discarding lenses, frames are polished and are given free-of-cost to under-privileged people with new lenses duly fitted in.
No. 18, College Road, Nungambakkam, Chennai 600006
The Purple Sack
They convert your heavy lehengas and fabric into upcycled Bags, Scarves, Box Clutches, Envelope Clutches, Collars, Belts etc.
W-Block, G.K. II, New Delhi 110048
They source left over or discarded textile from large manufacturers as well as fabrics, which are left unused by retailers post-cutting. Creations include upcycled clothing like dresses, shirts, T shirts, tops, bags, stationary, fashion accessories, cushions, rugs & throws etc.
F- 323 (A), 2nd Floor, Kumhaaro Wali Gali, Lado Sarai, New Delhi 110030
Paragon Apparels Pvt Ltd
They upcycle recycled plastic bottles to make T-shirts. Plastic bottles are shredded to bits and then sterilised, after which the molten plastic is converted to filaments which are torn into fluff and processed into polyester thread. The T-shirts made with this thread are lighter.
Hosiery Complex, Block B, B-59, Phase-2, Noida 201305
Worn garments are collected which are then shredded to yarn in a factory at Nagpur. The yarn is used to create a new fashion collection.
011-2652 1070, 98185 81016
Send an old fabric, a saree or a dupatta and Meghna will upcycle it into a trendy outfit. Based on the fabric and body type of the sender, she sends sketches of the proposed outfit.
Using cardboard recovered from recycling centres and small businesses, Aarambh have created a a portable desk for use by children in classrooms. When it is folded up, the desk converts into a backpack to carry books home. Children without desks in classrooms develop poor posture & eyesight problems.
022-2768 0965, 98206 16940
If you have any cloth or textile waste which gets generated regularly contact them. Chindi collects waste cloth from tailoring units & garment manufacturers, which is turned into upcycled bags, rugs, mats, pouches and hair accessories.
Doctors For You
Hotels in Mumbai donate leftover soap bars which are cleaned, sanitized in concentrated chlorine liquid, crushed and finally cold-pressed to create soap bars. These are distributed to slum-dwellers in Mankhurd, Govandi and Deonar, who are too poor to afford soap.
Flat No.101, Building No.31, Natwar Parikh Compound, Govandi West, Mumbai 400043
022-3225 3913, 75063 63580
Donate used & discarded sports shoes and other shoes to GreenSole, who recycle & refurbish the same into comfortable footwear, which are provided to the neediest poor & underprivileged through corporates, NGOs and schools. A part of the footwear produced is also sold to sustain this social venture.
#135, Marol Co-Operative Industrial Estate, Andheri East, Mumbai 400059
Ramesh Dhami & Shriyans Bhandari
96642 25815, 96199 89195, 98194 51805
I was a Sari
Old and discarded sarees are used to create fashionable new upcycled objects like shopping bags, cloth-wrap yoga mat carrier, beaded necklaces, textile jewellery, wraparound garments, home decor products etc.
Converts old sarees, salwar suits, dupattas and scraps of silk into wind chimes, handbags, cushion covers, clutches, purses, jholas, hair bands etc.
Narendra Kumar, Fashion Designer
Has converted flex hoardings into yarn which in turn is used to make jackets and dresses.
442, Kewal Industrial Estate, S B Marg, Lower Parel, Mumbai 400013
Paaduks are shoes and sandals for men and women. The soles of this footwear is up-cycled from old, discarded rubber products such as vehicle & truck tires, conveyor belts, rubber mats and so on. Upcycling of discarded rubber to make soles does not involve any chemical processes.
10/4 Chandroday Society, Opp Swastik Chambers, Chembur, Mumbai 400071
The Upcycle Co
Waste such as vinyl records, VCR tapes and CDs which are sourced by them through individual donations and waste aggregators, is converted into quirky lifestyle upcycled objects that are available for sale.
201,Corporate Avenue, Goregaon East, Mumbai 400063
Sundara takes leftover soap bars from hotels and recycles them into new, hygienic bars of soap. Local women are hired to do this work and the soap is distributed to underprivileged communities. In a month 400 kgs of soap is collected from hotels and that results in 3,000 bars for each of their 3 centres.
Station Rd, Slum Area, Kharegaon, Kalwa, Thane 400605
Rudra Environmental Solutions (India) Ltd
Plastic scrap is converted into ‘Polyfuel’ (equivalent to Kerosene) which is supplied to villagers for use as fuel as an eco-friendly alternative to firewood. Store plastic scrap like milk bags, oil bags, food bags, plastic containers, carry bags, PET bottles, plastic buckets, bubble wraps etc and the contact person listed below will collect it from you regularly.
Dr Medha Tadpatrikar: 020-2544 8900, 93730 53235
Bright, unusual purses and purses are crafted by her from leftover fabrics. She also creates fire lanterns.
Discarded glass is upcycled into beautiful glass products like planters, vases, mini bottles, lockets, gift sets, bar accessories etc.
The Wonky Studio, H / 11, BIDC, Gorwa, Vadodara 390016
94267 89935, 0265-228 0300
Do you have discarded items which the above organisations are using to make upcycled products? Get in touch with them and donate the needed items.
Wish to replicate above upcycling mini-projects in your city? Obtain requisite information from the concerned parties.
Possess an idea for used goods to be turned into upcycled objects? Post your query here for assistance from others.
Came across any needy person or organisation who will benefit from upcycled goods? Bring it to the attention of the upcycling organisations.
Have queries, assistance requests or feedback on this subject? Your response, sent by email or through 'Submit Feedback' form above, will be posted here.
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