an Upcycling Project
Did you know that the fashion and textile industry is one of the major contributors to water and land pollution worldwide? The fashion industry produces 10% of all humanity’s carbon emission, international flights and maritime shipping combined! It is also the second-largest consumer of water worldwide*. To add to this, every second, the equivalent of one garbage truckload of textiles is landfilled or burned. If nothing changes, by 2050 the fashion industry will use up a quarter of the world’s carbon budget. This data is startling and brings forth the urgency with which we need to tackle the problem with immediate effect. Addressing this issue in our first initiative, Alternative R&U Foundation began working with discarded cloth/fabric, creating the first batch of products since its inception in July 2020. These products are now available for sale at our online store generating funds for the cause, and we aim to create more products as we grow.
While discarded cloth/fabric is one aspect, there are other materials that are discarded as scrap frequently around us, that too severely damage the environment. These discarded materials can however be used as a base for creating products of higher utility. As per statistics, discarded plastic (of all types), foil wrappers, milk packets, rice bags, cement bags and tyre tubes are also amongst major pollutants. India is struggling to manage its waste streams due to the influx of unsegregated scrap of all kinds. Another startling fact is Maharashtra, the state with India’s biggest economy, having the highest number of polluted river stretches in the country. At 161, it also has the largest number of cities and towns along polluted stretches, according to a 2015 report of the Central Pollution Control Board. ** This is mainly due to wrongful ways of discarding waste/scrap into rivers, besides landfills and open dump yards. This can never be corrected until each one of us is determined and willing to incorporate best practices, while also learning the concept of upcycling. Recycling we believe most often creates more harm than we think! A classic example is the recycling of tyres and tubes. Recycling old tyres through a thermochemical treatment under high-temperature causes severe air pollution, adversely affecting the health of workers involved in the process and extensive air pollution. The CPCB has ordered the shutdown of the 270 such recycling units in India. Cement bags and rice bags that are made from polypropylene once discarded by the end consumer, stays in the environment for a very long time. It takes a thousand years for this substance to decompose, so it is not considered to be biodegradable. *** Milk packets are made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE), which is a subclass of plastics, very hard to recycle. A lot can be created out of them if they were to be upcycled. These upcycled products should have a life span that is significantly higher than the waste material used to make it – for e.g. a mat made out of a plastic bag, a concrete slab that has floppy disks in it – ensure that the original waste product does not find its way back to the landfill in short periods.
Alternative R&U Foundation intends to research and develop 6 types of discarded scrap listed above, to make 12 base materials that can be stitched and integrated into creating products of value and utility, using various techniques, creating 6 product prototypes under this initiative. Less privileged adults will be trained with the skill and involved in the production process, providing them with an opportunity to earn a livelihood.
*UNEP, UNECE, **Scroll.in, ***Sewport.com
Economics for 01 year (Funding required for Phase 1 only):
The impact we wish to create as we go along:
To research and develop product prototypes out of 6 types of discarded scrap in phase 1. (Phase 2 will be integrated gradually and does not require funding at this point.)
To train less privileged adults in our production process, creating livelihood opportunities for them.
To introduce various techniques and product prototypes that are easily replicable by individuals and brands that want to adapt to sustainability as a practice, aiming the bring down the surge of scrap into our environment.
As we grow, the quantum of scrap being reused and diverted into making products of utility will only increase, thereby reducing the surge of discarded scrap to landfills or from being burnt or thrown away into our oceans!
Here’s how you can help:
Contribute monetarily to our crowdfunding efforts online. The amount could be anything you wish. Like we believe, every rupee you contribute will only add to the entire figure we hope to raise eventually!
Spread the word about our crowdfunding initiative via personal messages to friends/family/colleagues. Let people know!
Tag us and follow us on social media @alternativefoundation.in.
Simply share the link with everyone you know would like to contribute. This will go a long way in raising funds for the initiative.