Plastic waste is growing at an uncontrollable pace in our country. Hopefully, with more projects like these, we can get one step closer to a plastic-free future.
These are the perennial problem of tackling waste – plastic bags. It is all around us. From the trash bin to city’s dumping yards to the waste which is littered on the road, plastic bags have become indispensable in our daily lives. And, today, they are the ‘No.1’ cause of environment pollution on earth. From landfills to oceans, parks, beaches and streets, each passing day, plastic pollution is rising dangerously. About 100,000 animals, such as dolphins, turtles, whales, penguins are killed every year due to these bags. And, if they are burned, they infuse the air with toxic fumes. But now two waste warriors – Amita Deshpande and Nandan Bhat have found a simple technique to fight the growing plastic menace. They are upcycling these culprits, plastic bags and giving them a makeover into fashionable accessories.
Amita and Nandan are both former IT professionals from Pune who met each other due to their common love for trekking.
We used to go for treks together and one common thing which always made us sad was the fact that our tourist places are badly littered. Be it wrappers of different products or simply the poly bags, this was the common sight we used to find while trekking across the country. We often discussed what happens to this waste which is found commonly littered everywhere in our country. But, we hardly came to any conclusions, explains 34-year-old, Amita Deshpande who completed her M.Sc degree from USA and left her well-paying job just so that she can involve herself in socially relevant work.
Nandan Bhat is from Kashmir and he migrated to Pune long back with his family for studies, after completing his engineering he started working in a corporate company but he too was looking to start something of his own.
When I came back from USA, I met Nandan again, we both felt strongly about the growing plastic pollution and wanted to do something about it. In 2013, we decided to collaborate and start our own company Aarohana EcoSocial Developments. However, initially, plastic upcycling didn’t feature on our agenda, added Amita Deshpande.
The duo started with environment conservation, employment generation and overall development of rural areas and in progress to that took projects in association with companies and NGOs.
Our idea was on the lines of recycling plastics and environment conservation, and we surely wanted to do something with the waste products. In 2015, we started thinking in terms of product generation in the market. We wanted to bring out a product made out of waste materials in the market so that people get to know this simple fact that trash can be managed well, added Amita Deshpande who has successfully upcycled more than 200,000 plastic bags.