For how long do you use a pair of denims? Two to four years? And what do you do with it once they are worn out or you have got bored of them? Give it to someone or simply toss it? But what if we tell you that your once a beloved pair of jeans is solid enough to be upcycled into a funky bag, clutched and accessories? Meet 27-year-old Soumya Annapurna Kalluri, who is upcycling denims into things of daily utility.
'It takes around 1,000 liters of water to grow cotton that makes a pair of jeans. Add another 50 liters for that faded texture. Now a simple pair of jeans if thrown not only adds to the waste load of our landfills, but also leads water wastage', says 27-year-old Soumya Annapurna Kalluri, a mechanical engineer turned entrepreneur.
Back when Soumya was an engineering student, she used to buy and discard things just like any other individual, unaware of the effect of her waste and carbon footprints. It is only when she moved to Germany for her masters degree, she got introduced to the concept of sustainability and waste.
As and when Soumya got to know about the waste management sector, she decided to dive into it and utilise the unrealised potential of the sector by creating products of daily utility using denims.
In 2018, with an initial investment of Rs. 6 lakh, Soumya established her start-up Dwij which means ?second life' in Sanskrit. At Dwij, Soumya, along with her team members upcycle denims into bags, clutches, pouches and accessories.
The upcycling of denims involves three steps - the first is the collection stage under which old jeans are procured from Mumbai's denim traders at a cost of Rs. 20 per kg, the second step includes the clean-up of the procured materials and the third step includes cutting and tailoring the material as per the designs.
Nothing is waste at Dwij as every piece of denim is utilised. Even the waste generated during the making of upcycled products like bags, is used in making small items like accessories.
Till now, Soumya, the waste crusader has utilised 2,500 pair of jeans and has sold almost 3,000 upcycled products. Having done this, the waste warrior now aims to create other products like school supplies and yoga mats.
Anyone can purchase the upcycled products from Dwij's official website or reach out the waste crusader via social media. All the products are priced between Rs. 220- Rs.1200.
The waste warrior signs off with the message, 'We all need to understand one thumb rule - whatever waste we generate, we all have to manage ourselves.'