I believe that India is a pioneer in providing the world solutions for all types of waste. What with its age-old tradition of reuse, repair, repurpose, restore and recycle. What better example than textile to illustrate this in a country where any piece of cloth used to be repurposed endlessly.
I have been holding on to different types of waste for years, especially tailor waste that I could not resist picking up from my local tailors, conscious that it will end up in a landfill. Even my torn clothes were waiting in a cupboard for some kind of solution.
When I heard about Rimagined, a brand that would take it all away, I heaved a sigh of relief knowing my waste would not be wasted. Rimagined is run by Shailaja Rangarajan who collaborates with designers such as Devika Krishnan to give new life to any kind of usable waste and bring it back into the consumption cycle as beautiful products.
So, your torn kurta, that used shirt, stained T-shirt or a broken chair, will all be upcycled into something valuable, fashionable and completely personalised and unique.
Gifting an upcycled product sends a great message to people who are not waste sensitive. In a country where the gifting culture is very strong, the message is subtle and says waste is not wasted as long as it can still be turned into something useful, something beautiful. With this in mind, Rimagined can be the end to your search for interesting upcycled gifts, mementos and decor.
Rimagined also has a marketplace which curates a selection of sustainable and ethically-manufactured upcycled products made by environmentally-conscious designers and companies. Product categories include decor, personal accessories, clothing and furniture. Every product is given a Rimagined score based on how much material will be kept out of landfills by purchasing that product as well as on the decomposition rate of its contents and their contribution to overall waste generation. The higher the score, the more eco-friendly the product.
The strength of the Rimagined model though it is for profit, is to have a positive social and environmental impact. Self help groups from different part of the country are trained to transform tailor waste and other used discarded items such as torn/used clothes, cardboard boxes, wood waste, TetraPak and used tyres into beautiful and useful products.
Shailaja has been working in the space of waste management with Whitefield Rising (a citizens' movement for civic issues) for many years and knows the challenges of segregation and recycling. She conducts regular waste collection drives in different parts of Bangalore to recover discarded material.
In 2016, Rimagined kept about 240 kilograms of waste out of landfills and created new products using 11 different materials including textile, ceramic, glass, plastic and metallic waste. While she believes upcycling is the way forward, Shailaja confesses that the Indian market for upcycled goods is still growing whereas European costumers are appreciating the concept. "They love our products that have a pinch of creativity and a positive impact on the environment," she says.
Solutions exist locally. So let's buy less and buy responsibly!
You can get in touch with Rimagined here.
Claire Rao, made Bangalore her home in 2006, and has never looked back. A familiar face at most composting workshops, Claire is part of We care Malleswaram ‐ a neighbourhood group that religiously advocates segregation of waste at source, home composting and zero waste events. An acknowledged eco‐warrior, cycling in and around Malleswaram, Claire runs Nakshatra Trust an NGO that works with underpriviledged children and their families. Her motto is “living within our ecological limits and creating less impact on the environment in all our daily activities.”