New Delhi: From using packed milk to consuming bread, or simply buying items of daily utility – almost everything we use either comes wrapped in plastic packaging or is given in a plastic bag which ends up going down in our country’s already dying landfills. To overcome this waste burden, 66-year-old Rita Maker from Mumbai who got inspired by watching a do it yourself (DIY) video over the internet and started upcycling these daily plastic items into clutches, bags, baskets, tea coasters, to name a few. Moreover, today, Mrs Maker is educating the world on how to upcycle plastic bags into beautiful products of daily utility by putting her videos on YouTube. Not just that, she is also distributing products made by her in her society and to her friends and relatives for free so that people can learn the importance of upcycling, reusing and waste management.
I always wanted to do something for the environment but wasn’t sure about where to start. I also expressed the wish of doing something with my daughter Rachita, and she jokingly said, ‘Mother, no one can do anything for the environment by sitting at home.’ And soon after that, I came across a video on the internet in which women were making mats from plastic shopping bags. That was it, I was immediately inspired to do something like this. That was the start of my upcycling journey, said Rita Maker as she explained her eureka moment.
Now, what Rita does is simple – whatever plastic comes at her home is kept separate and is segregated into different grades of plastic – from hard to soft and delicate – all kind of plastic is gathered at one place. Explaining how she makes different upcycled items, Rita adds,
‘Jo Plastic Ghar Aaye, Kuchh Bankar Baahar Jaayein, this has become my mantra now. As a first step, plastic bags or packaging needs to be cut from both the ends so that you have an open cylindrical shape left with you. Next, you start cutting this into smaller pieces and then start joining them in a chain format. Voila! Now, as per the design of your choice, you can give shape to these waste plastic bags or packaging. For example, I started making a plastic square shape model and once it was completed, I stitched the three ends of the square together and added Velcro (velcro) at the fourth end – this my daughter proudly uses as a tiffin box bag at her office now.
Initially, Rita started off by making mats as they are simple rectangular or square format and once she mastered that, she moved to a much complex format such as sling bags, baskets, tea coasters, dustbins, to name a few. Today, Rita has made about some 45 bags and clutches, each made using 400 to 500 units of plastic, which both she and her daughter proudly flaunt and their home is filled with goodies made with all things plastic bags. Rita says as of now there is no plan of selling these items and said,
I’m not doing any of this for money. This is my initiative to save the environment from the mass burden of plastic bags – which one gets in almost every purchase. I just hope that there are more people like me who can get inspire from my videos and start doing their bit for the environment, signs off Rita Maker.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.