Anita Ahuja , Ashoka Fellow and Shalabh Ahuja , Unreasonable Institute Fellow
A localized initiative to recycle the waste in the couple’s neighborhood, which was not managed by the local authorities!
Birth of NGO
In the year 1999, the planted seed gave birth to Conserve India, NGO with the following vision
- Combat pollution or waste management
- Empower the most vulnerable community – Rag-pickers
- Suppliers – Rag-pickers
- Employees – Rag-pickers
Yes, you heard it right. Rag-pickers are both suppliers and employees. They supply the raw material (aka) plastic waste, trash etc and once again they are employed in the production line.
Plastic bags are washed, dried, mixed with fabric and pressed into handmade recycled plastic (HRP) in a 4 step process
- Step 1- Plastic bags are collected, washed, dried, and separated by color
- Step 2 –A machine presses the plastic bags into thick and durable sheets,
- Step 3 -The sheets are cut, lined with cloth, and stitched or molded.
- Step 4 –The finished products go through quality control and packaging
The product line includes upscale fashion and home decor accessories that are aesthetically designed, and appeal to the conscience of buyers. They ultimately find their way into the wardrobes of discerning customers across the world
Rag-pickers were paid three times more than what they would earn elsewhere
Conserve HRP, business arm of the NGO was established in 2004 to enhance the profit and reinvest the same for the welfare of this vulnerable community – Rag-pickers
Business profits are reinvested in education, capacity building and health-care facilities for the most disadvantaged community (aka) Rag-pickers. At the end of the day, they also become the beneficiaries of Conserve India’s development initiatives in the community.
The Handmade recycled plastic (HRP) process was patented in the year 2006.
A proven viable model in which waste is not only managed, but up-cycled into appealing high-end fashion accessories along with enhancing the quality of life of the waste managers.