THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: How many of you know that the plastic waste we discard can easily be segregated into 52 categories? And, the fact that not all plastic waste can be recycled?
Well, not many, but Plan@Earth, an NGO that works in the domain of solid waste management, knows better. That is enough reason for these green advocates to adopt upcycling (a technique that extends the life span of something that has served its purpose).
The NGO has come out with a slew of upcycled products, under the brand name, ‘Marathakam’, made from plastic waste that cannot be recycled.
Plan@Earth secretary Sooraj Abraham Urumbath says, “We have been collecting solid waste and recycling them for the past eight years.
We segregate it, but some cannot be recycled. That is when the idea of upcycling was mooted by one of our founding members Gomathy Shridhar. After many sessions of brainstorming, the team came up with ideas which resulted in the ‘Marathakam’ products,” says Sooraj.
He adds that the name was chosen deliberately. “Marathakam means green. Then we also wanted a name with a Malayalam flavour,” he adds.
A few workers were taught to identify the products that include plastic waste, like milk covers, silver-coated biscuits and chips packets. These products, along with used fabrics, are cleaned and then upcycled.
Brand ‘Marathakam’ is already finding a good clientele. As of now, their products range from hand bags and carry bags to home décor.
There are planters, made from glass bottles, wardrobe organisers, made from scrap plastic, ottomans, made from old tyres, fabric scraps, hand-made paper, paper products, wall organisers, car seat organisers, coasters, table mats, place mats, runners, cushions, welcome mats, throw pillows and the list is still growing.
“We aim to make upcycling a part of the lifestyle. For instance, furniture pieces like ottomans won’t be used and thrown overnight. That way we can ensure that carbon emissions are less,” says Sooraj.
He adds that Plan@Earth aims to stack as much products as possible so as to have many options, before they throw ‘Marathakam’ products open to sale. However, demand is already growing.
Like the time when IT giant UST Global asked for their products to be displayed in its office. “It was sold in no time. Some of our products have been put up in e-commerce website Amazon, as well,” he said.
Plan@Earth plans to build up the ‘Marathakam’ brand. “Every college-goer or official should carry Marathakam products with pride, thereby spreading the message of eco-friendliness,” says Sooraj.