Best Associate of March 2014

March 2014 was indeed a busy month for Conserve India. Having said that, we had a chance to interact with so many people around the globe. We are honored to felicitate 4 exceptionally talented and lovely folks with  Best Associate of March’ 2014 award.

  1. Ms. Kerry Evans – Designer, SERRV
  2. Ms. Amy Stretmater – Koru Street
  3. Ms. Fiona Wright – The Stitching Project
  4. Mr. David Grant – Strategy Director, Place Associates

Most of you should be aware of the first 3 ladies. Their contribution for Women’s Day 2014 Guest Blogging was exceptional. While Mr. Grant worked on our Branding Strategy and his contribution was also equally exceptional.

Congrats from all of us here at Conserve India!

Also, Thanks to each and every one of you for your valuable contribution to Conserve India. It was such a pleasure to work with you. Look forward to associate with you very soon.

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Founder and Creative Director Anita Ahuja’s thoughts on successful 1150 days of Conserve India’s Bahadurgarh Factory

When I write this post, I am so very elated. Today on March 30’ 2014, we are celebrating 1150 successful days of Conserve India’s Factory at Footwear Park, Bahadurgarh, Haryana.

On this joyous occasion, I like to give you a flavor of the rough roads we traveled to reach wherever we are today. Have a sneak peak of my journal….

Year 2006
The Yamunapushta , the slum where we trained our rag pickers got demolished. All the rag pickers move to new location called “madan pur khadir”. We moved our project to madan pur khadir. We started our schools and training programs began. In simple words, we are very well established here.
There was a feeling that “madan pur khadir” is not permanent. A feeling that said this is just a temporary home. There was a very strong feeling that this slum would also get demolished very soon.
There were commonwealth games around. As time lapsed, we became inherent part of Delhi 2020 committee. All this gave a very strong impression that the rag pickers would be shunted out of the city. And also, in the next few years all slums in Delhi would be demolished.

Year 2009
Unfortunately whatever we expected happened. We tracked our rag pickers who had been picked up in trucks and left outside west Delhi in an area called Bahadurgarh, Haryana.
They settled in cardboard settlement with no electricity, toilets, school etc. There was no garbage to pick because the industries as well as residential houses were yet to emerge. After all, Poor villages hardly generate any waste. Only we urbanites create all of them.
Their life was expecting a light so as their houses without electricity.

What now?

We realized the need for Conserve India there. A potential that can pave way for much needed sunshine, a ray of hope!!
We were adamant that this time it need to something big and concrete.The answer was – A new factory which could be audited and was standards compliant.
So we bought a piece of land in the footwear park being built by Haryana Industrial Development Corporation. The exorbitant land and building cost made us take a loan from a commercial bank.

Year 2009 – 2011

Lots of hard work, sacrifice and courage to give life to our vision!!!!!

Year 2011

Conserve India factory / manufacturing unit was established on 04 February 2011 at footwear park, Bahadurgarh, Haryana

Year 2011 – Year 2014

The footwear park has capacity of 1700 factories. All major shoe brands have their factory in this park .The factories needed labor. Unfortunately, there were lot of problems in Gurgaon and Manesar industrial belts because the slum dwellers and the villagers are not given any jobs in these factories The reason being they are unemployable. The factory owner does not have time to train labor. The owners preferred trained labor so they make bus arrangements and labor is brought from outside. This leads to lot of frustration among the local people because when they saw these high rise factories coming up and they envisioned that they will get good jobs. Unfortunately the jobs were given to outsiders. All this lead to unrest!

Conserve India factory solved the tension to greater extent as our working model emphasized training people before employing them in our factory. Conserve India in collaboration with the local govt aims to train many groups in future. Its large factory makes it quite ideal for the training.
We have also established a much needed school in the slum in the year 2012.

Also on this joyous occasion of  successful 1150 days, I look forward to welcome you to our Factory……………

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It’s been 15 years, but questions remain the same…………….

15 years passed by the blink of the eye. So many things have changed during this journey. But one thing that remained the same are these Q. It’s question time. Or Better I say, Answer time !!!!

Conserve India bags are made of which material?

The material is recycled polythene bags that are picked up from Delhi’s street every day. We call this recycled material by the name – “Handmade Recycled Plastic”
We have developed environmentally benign process that converts waste polythene bags into thicker sheets. These sheets have properties that are significantly different from the original thin film poly-bags. These can be stitched, embroidered upon and woven to create a variety of marketable products out of trash.

How do Conserve India bags get their colors ? Are they dyed or printed ?

No, we do not use any colors or dyes. The colors are result of our creative talent. The different colors of plastic waste are combined creatively to achieved a new color palette.

Is this process environmental friendly?

Yes, compared to conventional recycling process, our patented process uses much less energy and also causes no pollution. As a value addition, it also helps reducing the environmental problems caused by plastic waste.

If you have more Q, give a buzz using the contact form in the blog, we will leave no stone unturned to answer your question

Journey of Conserve India through the eyes of Founder and Creative Director – Anita Ahuja

Conserve India, a seed of change sown on 27 March 1998 has literally withstood so many test of time and has grown into an inspiring Tree of life providing shade to 300 people. At this juncture, I like to thank everyone who was part of this exemplifying journey.

It was tremendous success after all we had 15 Milestones in 15 Years

As we celebrate 15 successful years, folks have so many Questions on where we started, how we got here etc.

Join me as I walk down the memory lane……..

Year 1997

A bunch of Environmental conscious group got to together over a cup of coffee. And, we closed off with a decision to empower the community through training in energy efficiency and waste management practices

To give life to the ideas, the very same environmental conscious group met the Deputy Commissioner to obtain a small park in Madhuban (area where I stay) to build a composting pit.

1st milestone – We constructed a pit from the segregates waste of 200 houses

The deputy commissioner was so very pleased and asked all of us to meet the Chief minister of Delhi. Well, we did that. The chief minister asked us to use this as a model project which she is launching by the name of “Bhagyadari”.

Year 1998

2nd Milestone – Conserve India got registered in the year 1998.

While working on all these, we equally devoted time for networking to achieve bigger and better things. During one of those networking sessions with USAID, we got acquainted to Joe loper from an NGO called “Alliance to Save Energy”.

3rd Milestone – We received our first project – Formation of council of energy efficiency companies in 1998

As a stroke of luck, around the same time one of our patrons, Late Mr. P.R. Kumarmanagalam became power minister. We got him aboard to support our energy efficiency projects.

Year 2000

4th Milestone – We worked with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and conducted a study on waste management practices in a low income area

Year 2000 – 2004

We worked with several groups on environmental issues

Year 2004

5th Milestone – We gave life to the idea of working with plastic waste

Year 2005

In spite of so many difficulties associated in entering a trade show, Conserve achieved the target of participation in trade show.

6th Milestone – Participation in India International Leather Fair –IILF from January 30 to February 4’ 2005 at Chennai, India

We were successful in getting our largest ever single order from Spain in this fair and that too from a very prominent Design label

7th Milestone – Participation in Export Promotion Council’s International Trade Fair from February 25 to March 01’ 2005 at Delhi, India

The stall received enthusiastic response and generated more than 1500 footfalls over a 4 day period.

Year 2006

8th Milestone – Received Patent for the process of Handmade Recycled Plastic

Around the same time,unfortunately the slum where we trained our rag pickers got demolished. All the rag pickers move to new location called “madan pur khadir”

Year 2007

9th Milestone – We established our first factory in patparganj, Delhi.

We also created infrastructure that can be used for training as well as creating jobs. As a first step, we started training programs for producing handbags and footwear.

We initiated micro credit programs for employees to buy machines and tools to set up independent units

Year 2009

10th Milestone – We initiated Health camps and mobile health clinic

Beneficiaries – 2586 rag-pickers (Numbers are accurate as of March 2014)

At the same time, the rag pickers locality of madan pur khadir slum gets demolished. The rag pickers are pushed out of Delhi, towards an area called Bahadurgarh in Haryana

Year 2011

11th Milestone – we established our own factory on 04 February 2011 in a recognized industrial area – Bahadurgarh in Haryana

Year 2012

12th Milestone – Established a school for rag picker children

Beneficiaries – 100, sons and daughters of rag-pickers (Numbers are accurate as of March 2014)

13th Milestone – Established Center for Adult Literacy

Beneficiaries – 30 Women (Numbers are accurate as of March 2014)

Year 2013

14th Milestone – Handbags & Footwear training center trained 1200 people in total

15th Milestone – 50 people were given micro credit to buy machines and tools to set up independent units

Year 2014

With generous support and contribution of so many employees, consultants, buyers, interns and well-wishers we are celebrating 15 successful years of “Conserve India”

Icing on the cake is that we will be celebrating successful completion of 1150 days of Bahadurgarh Factory on March 30’ 2014.

Catch you soon once again during that celebration

Management Problem and Innovative Solution Series – Washing Plastic Bags

Management Problem – Washing Plastic Bags

Problem in Detail – Handmade Recycled Plastic (HRP) is the base for almost all our products. But, to create handmade recycled plastic sheets, plastic bags need to be spotlessly clean. It is obvious that plastic bags picked by rag-pickers will be immensely dirty. So, they need to be thoroughly washed. Washing plastic bags may sound simple. But the magnitude of our orders was so huge. This translates into exorbitant amount of plastic bags that needs to be washed. Since we did not have a washing unit the plastic bags were initially washed on the roadside.

Innovative Solution – To solve this management problem, we encouraged residents to share their roof tops. Many residents generously did oblige.
On lighter side, a cartoon was published in The Times of India on May 8, 2003 by Mr. Lakshman. Have a look at the cartoon.

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