New Delhi: Have you ever spared a thought to what happens when you chuck a used glass bottle of ketchup or a drink? Probably no. Once discarded as waste, glass bottles lie at the landfills for a very long time, waiting for someone to pick it up and recycle which again is a cumbersome process, and has very little chances. But to reduce some burden on the already dying landfills, Ekta from Vadodara is giving a new lease of life to the good old glass bottles by upcycling them into things of daily use – planter, book holder, furniture, jewellery and other things.
Recounting the start of her journey while speaking to NDTV, 36-year-old Ekta says,
I was working in Mumbai in advertising. I wasn’t really happy with it so I decided to go and learn glass blowing which is a technique of working with glass. For the same, I went to the UK for a year. I came back and moved to my hometown Vadodara in Gujarat and decided to setup my studio there. In the year 2010, I launched Wonky Works – Awesomely Upcycled, under which I started melting glass and making stuff. Few years into that and I saw there was a lot of waste glass just lying around us. People were just throwing it away and it was ending up in the landfills. It is then I decided to use the waste glass and upcycle it. In the year 2014, we sold our first upcycled product and since 2017 we are selling only upcycled products.
How Is Upcycling Different From Recycling?
In upcycling you take a waste product as it is and create a new product out of it. Whereas in recycling waste products are sent back to the factory where they get converted to raw material so that new products can be made. So, glass bottles that we throw away, go to the factory where they are melted into glass and then made into a new product which could be plate, bottle, glass, and other things. By taking the upcycling route, one can reduce around 40-50 per cent of resources and energy that would be required to create a new product.
Wonky Works: Making 200 Kinds Of Products By Upcycling Glass Bottles
As of now, Wonky Works has some 200 products, all aimed at reducing an individual’s use of plastic and upcycle glass bottles. Ranging from planters, appetizer plate, glass vases, book stand, to door knob and SuperBatli – which works as both planter and holder, Wonky Works has a wide range of products. Not only is this, the organisation has a complete range of upcycled jewellery which includes locket, and earrings made using scrap wrist watch glass and medical waste bottles.
During raksha bandhan, the waste warrior from Vadodara launched a special rakhi made from scrap wrist watch glass. It is fused together with enamels and other materials. The rakhi gift set costs Rs. 900 and comes with a message in the glass bottle.
Full range of products is available only on Wonky Works’s official website. One can find some of the products on some of the e-commerce websites and in market places. The upcycled glass products range from Rs. 200 to Rs. 2,000 and are shipped across India. Ekta soon plans to widen her range and ship some of the products abroad as well.
Transforming An Old Glass Bottle: From Waste To Things Of Daily Use
Talking about the source of waste bottles, Ekta says,
We encourage people to give us their waste glass bottles rather than throwing them in the landfills. 70 per cent of bottles are donated to us by people who understand the fact that as an individual we need to take charge of the waste we generate. 30 per cent of the bottles we use are from the local glass scrap dealers. We purchase waste bottles from scrap dealers only when we need a bottle of a particular colour or type.
Though glass is fragile, but upcycled jewellery is not something which will break if someone drops it. The jewellery and other products are fragile, but sturdy enough. The waste glass bottle goes through a process called annealing where a glass is cooled down in a controlled temperature which ensures it is free from stresses and toughened. Also, the team tests all the products before selling them on their website.
Answering a query if annealing or any other process releases any kind of toxins, Ekta says,
Glass is one of the most stable materials. The only drawback is that is a breakable material, but other than that it can be used ‘n’ number of times without it emitting any kind of toxins or causing any kind of pollution. The only thing is we need to ensure safe disposal which is it should go back to recycling units and not to the landfills.
Apart from all this, the team organises workshops on bottle melting, glass fusing and slumping, glass enamel painting, and other sectors.
The waste warrior signs off with a simple message,
Be green not mean.
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.