The Upcycle Project
Mumbai produces around 6500 Tons of garbage per day. Additionally, it produces almost 2500Tons of construction and demolition waste per day. With approximately 12 million people residing in Mumbai, roughly 762g of garbage per person is produced daily.
With this series of articles our endeavor at Green OK Please is to create awareness on consuming consciously and highlight those Mumbai based businesses that are working creatively with waste material to create usable trendy products.
What does it take to upcycle any waste material into a product that is beautiful, serves a basic function and will prevent that material from ending up in a landfill for a few more years?
Amishi Shah, founder of The Upcycle Project was drawn to the idea of establishing a business based on environmental sustainability – she looked at an item that would otherwise seem quite useless and turned it into a range of coveted gift articles. The Upcycle Project, a social enterprise, uses old vinyls and CDs that would otherwise end up as toxic waste in a landfill. Faithful to their name, TUP upcycles vinyls and cds into quirky home décor items.
This two year old organization is trying to change perceptions around waste, making it fun and acceptable. However the greatest challenge still remains this task – people expect products made from waste to be cheaper. They also take time to accept the concept of upcycling as it has not yet become popular in India.
One of the other challenges faced by them is the sourcing of the raw materials. The raw material lies at the heart of the business and its collection is the foremost process. It is done directly through a network of ‘raddiwallahs’. The production is outsourced as most of it requires machinery given the material. Some of the production does require manual labour which makes the process time consuming but also lends a certain quality to the products. The production is also outsourced to paraplegics but working with individuals is preferred to working with self help groups.
On the pricing front, these products are not very differently priced from products that are made of fresh, new materials. People buy the products they like because the design appeals to them. While products made in China are much cheaper than these, design is what sets them apart and makes people want to buy.
TUP is noticing a change in peoples’ perceptions. Those who like the ideas are even tempted to try to make some products on their own at home. Their revenue model is entirely based on product sales. The entire range is designed and produced by the brand and they sell directly to consumers as well as do bulk orders for businesses. If you like what you see, here’s where you can buy the products – Tappu ki dukkan, Roti kapda makan, state of art, dourje, sanctum, we are also available online on Flipkart, amazon, pepperfry, swechhastore, etc.
Photo Credit: www.theupcycleproject.in