“If you tell people what they need to do with a touch of creativity they listen! Waste Management is not a new concept, but, still, many are clueless. My aim was to simply change this reality,” says Amishi Shah, a 26 year old who started a social enterprise Upcycle Co in Mumbai seven years ago, when she was all of 19. The aim of the venture is to solve the problem of disposing of non-recyclable e-waste. The amount of e-waste we produce is increasing rapidly with gadgets and technology invading every aspect of our lives. With more than 1.8 million tonnes a year, India is now the fifth largest e-waste producing country in the world.
To make a small difference given the large problem, the startup (Upcycle Co) started out by upcycling vinyl records, VCR tapes and CDs that are now a thing of the past into quirky and useful lifestyle products. Upcycling is kind of a recycling process, the only difference is that it is doesn’t require any technical support. It is commonly termed as creative reuse of old products. In this process, waste materials, useless, or unwanted products are transformed into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value.
People love to keep old newspapers and give it to ragpickers or waste men but nobody actually cares to save their old CD or a cassette collection which is of no use to them now. Why? Simply, because reutilizing newspaper is an easy task and people are aware of the fact that it can be used for the purpose of recycling. With Upcycle Co, my aim was simply to bridge this communication gap and make people aware about the fact that there is a need for managing the waste we create but through the process of Upcycling – A concept that can be easily adopted by many, says Amishi, who is now a finance graduate and who did her Masters in International Business and Entrepreneurship in London.
Taking The Creative Route
A creative person herself, Amishi knew people are always attracted towards creative and cool stuff. That’s when the idea came to her about starting a social enterprise in India that tackles the country’s waste woes.
In India, it’s either a non-profit or a private company, people don’t understand the concept of social enterprise. Studying in London, I used to see how beautifully and creatively people there are managing their waste. I got excited about the concept and wanted to take this concept back to my country where the phenomena is little known. That’s when the idea of starting my own social enterprise struck me and I started upcycling as a concept that is not as technical as recycling but gives the same benefit – reduce the burden from landfills, added Amishi Shah.
The startup is upcycling just one kind of waste for now as they first want to master upcycling for certain products and then grow into a full-fledged waste management company. Waste warrior, Amishi has so far successfully upcycled over 1,000 kilograms of waste and has sold around 4-5000 products while saving around 1100 kgs of carbon emission. The company is growing slowly and steadily and is also getting a lot of projects from corporate firms and individual clients.
We get donation calls from people for their CD or VCR wastes so that we can turn it into something useful. That’s what I always wanted to do, it feels great that in some way I am benefiting our environment, added Amishi Shah.
The Biggest Challenge In India: No Waste Segregation At Source
One of the biggest issues when it comes to tackling India’s waste problems is that there is no waste segregation happening by the people at source.
When you tell people to segregate waste into dry and wet waste daily nobody actually cares or bothers to understand the necessity of the concept. In fact, in India, waste segregation is not happening at all. So, instead of telling them they should segregate the waste, I am trying to inculcate the idea on how they can segregate the waste by reusing the old products in a quirky way. That’s my creative way to deal with waste crisis, said Amishi, as she wants to introduce ‘Do It Yourself’ concept in waste management.
Talking about the other challenge, Amishi added, “people should be more open towards upcycled product, obviously the quality and finish will not be same as the new products but if the product gets the acceptance in the market, waste worries of India can be solved.”
A Path Of Learning
When I started this challenging task, I didn’t know that it will be a success in our country knowing the fact that this phenomena is relatively new. But, I have come so far, one thing I have realised is that, our country is ready for this. There is lot of awareness among people about wastage, now they have understood the fact that it is important for everyone to reduce, reuse and recycle, added Amishi.
Waste Management, today has become one of the major issues every Indian city is grappling with. Hopefully, with more projects like Amishi’s, the country will get one step closer to a waste-free future.
The need of the hour is to manage the waste we create, upcycling, as a concept has huge potential and if implemented properly it can change the waste game completely within the country, concludes the young and creative waste entrepreneur.
Got A Similar Story? Share The Swachh Story With Us
Leaving No One Behind
Delhi’s Northwest District Launches 4-Day COVID Vaccination Drive For Transgender People
Activists say misinformation, lack of proper documents and digital divide are to be blamed for the low vaccination coverage in...
5.22 Per Cent Transgender Persons Vaccinated Till Now; Activists Say Misinformation, Lack Of Digital Knowledge Adding To Their Problems
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has also requested states to organise separate mobile COVID-19 vaccination centres or booths...
Discrimination And Barriers Make Access To Quality Healthcare A Challenge For Many Transgenders
Transgender individuals have specific healthcare needs; however, they face multiple obstacles to accessing quality health care ranging from social stigma...
Uttar Pradesh’s First Transgender-Only Toilet Built In Varanasi
According to an official at the municipal corporation of Varanasi, the operation and maintenance of the toilet complex has been...
Mental Health Explained: What Is Post-traumatic Stress Disorder?
PTSD is an intense physical and emotional response to thoughts and reminders of the event: CDC, United States
How Can Parents Support Children Dealing With Mental Health Issues Like Anxiety And Depression
Remember, a change in a child’s behaviour like mood swings and angry outbursts is an indication of inner turmoil, said...
Upward Trend In Suicide Cases: How Can You Identify Red Signals In Time?
Studies show that suicide is the leading cause of death among 15-29 year old in India. What compels young adults...
Each COVID-19 Surge Poses A Risk For Healthcare Workers: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
The surging Delta variant is heaping on fresh trauma as the United States and other nations begin to study Post-Traumatic...
Depression Can Be Classified As Serious Illness In Context Of COVID-19 Pandemic: Gujarat High Court
The Gujarat High Court set aside the cancellation of registration and admission of an engineering student by a government college...
U.N. Says World Likely To Miss Climate Targets Despite COVID Pause In Emissions
There is now a 40 per cent chance that the average global temperature in one of the next five years...
Make The Choices That Help Make A Difference, John Kerry, Special US Envoy On Climate Change Crisis
In an exclusive interview with NDTV, US climate envoy John Kerry talks about climate change emergency
Climate Change Biggest Global Challenge, India Committed To Combat It: Union Environment Minister
Speaking at the launch of Climate Action and Finance Mobilisation Dialogue (CAFMD) under India-US Climate Clean Energy Agenda 2030, Union...
Rajasthani Artisan Creates Ganesh Idols From Environment-Friendly Materials
Unlike idols made out of synthetic materials which cause harm to water bodies after their immersion, eco-friendly idols that artist...