- ‘Rimagined’ have tied up scarp dealers across India to get waste materials
- The company will give details about wastes upcycled to make the product
- The products are manufactured by women from underprivileged families
New Delhi: Want to contribute to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and unburden country’s landfills? Switch to upcycled products. Products which are reused without breaking down the waste material and the finished product produced is of a higher quality are called upcycled products. While the concept of recycling is gaining a momentum, the concept of upcycling is rather an alien concept in India. To integrate this practice into the mainstream and among the likes of waste management conscious people, a Bengaluru based social enterprise named ‘Rimagined’ is taking efforts to make upcycle an alternative lifestyle.
When 40-year old Shailaja Rangarajan, Co-Founder at Rimagined started exploring the waste management space in 2014 as a volunteer in an NGO, she came across various issues like plastic waste which had no viable solutions, “The problem with India’s waste management crisis is not only lack of responsible handling of waste but also the conscious consumption choices we, as citizens make in our daily lives,” says an environment conscious Shailaja.
After two years of comprehensive and in-depth research, she came to a conclusion that upcycle can be an alternative lifestyle which can help in reducing overall garbage generation. When she started to educate her fellow colleagues, friends, families and neighbours everyone came up with a common and a valid question, ‘How can we do it at individual levels?’ Shailaja realised that people want to follow an upcycled lifestyle but there were hardly any means available and hence she decided to turn this question into a practical solution. Shailaja started Rimagined in 2016 and sold upcycle products online. Devika Krishan, a champion in designing upcycle products and marketing head Gujarat based Jeenal Bhagdev joined her to expand the company’s reach.
From glass, plastic, wood, electronic, rubber, textiles to ceramic wastes, name it and this enterprise will upcycle it. The company has tied up with local scrap dealers, solid waste management vendors, tailors across the country to procure all kinds of waste. These waste warriors also conduct collection drives across the city where people can donate their scrap items. Rimagined will give a wide range of products ranging from jewellry, furniture, home décor and stationery to choose from.
To spread the movement, the company recently opened a retail store in the city where an individual can just walk in and decide to help India in reducing its garbage crisis! What makes the enterprise special is that along with bill of your purchased item, it will also give you details about the waste materials upcycled to make your product. Based on the decomposition rate of the content material and its contribution to the overall waste, the enterprise will give you a score for the product.
The aim is to make consumers realise their noble deed and that they have made an informed choice. It is to thank them for opting to not create further havoc on landfills, says Shailaja.
Apart from the upcycle efforts, the enterprise is also empowering women belonging to poor families by providing them employment opportunities. After giving 10 women from a Self Help Group (SHG), ‘Joy At Work’ the necessary training in stitching and designing products, the company hired them, “These women earn anything from Rs 5,000-14,000 per month. 60 per cent of what the company earns will be given to these SHG women We plan to scale this up by hiring more such underprivileged women,” adds Shailaja.
The journey towards upcycled products wasn’t a smooth one says Shailaja, “Since the renewed waste products are sold online, people have apprehensions about its quality.” Hence the team decided to come out with a retail store. In coming few months, Rimagined will open such outlets across India says Shailaja.
With the new Good and Services (GST) tax in place, the kind of products that Rimagined manufactures are likely to become costlier, anticipates Shailaja, “On one side the government is promoting reusing or recycling of waste products and on the other hand taxes are being levied on such products. A clear thoughts needs to shared by the government towards this challenge that every recycler is likely to face.” The Swachh warrior hopes that the government will come out with alternative tax policies so that the Clean India mission doesn’t get affected.
Also Read: Yes, It Is Possible To Lead A Zero Waste Lifestyle. Take A Cue From This 26-Year Old Bengaluru Woman
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