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Buzzwords like ‘sustainable’ and ‘conscious’ are often followed by quick opinions and a general herd mentality. In recent times social media has been an eye-opener, occasionally enabling change while most times igniting a passing interest. It is said that great ideas start with a spark, an aha moment powerful enough to solidify a belief. We followed the Refash community founders to talk all things plastic, tracing their personal and brand journeys– from Eureka moments to the inception of their ventures in upcycling. 

The Big Why

Before the ‘how’ comes the ‘why’. Esha of Chambray & Co. takes a trip down memory lane owing her way of life to a devotion to animals since girlhood. “We’ve all seen the destruction- A turtle struggling to breathe with a plastic straw stuck up its nose. A whale starving to death with a belly tangled by plastic shopping bags. Such images horrified me. Growing up I realised that it’s a social problem. Everything we bought came packaged in shiny new single use plastic- I realised that I had little choice to refuse plastic. That is when I became conscious of the fact that I did not want to be a part of the mindless consumption patterns followed by society and although it might seem difficult to do at first, it was doable.”

Esha Agarwal, Chambray and co

Don’t Hate the Player, Hate the Game

Diti of Théla highlights the common notion of vilifying plastic in its entirety instead of reflecting on our problematic routines. “In the world of sustainability, when we think of plastic, we think of something that is toxic and harmful. Plastic is actually a very useful and versatile material– light and strong, it can take any shape and lasts forever. It has helped us tremendously in the health sector and with clean energy in the form of solar panels and wind turbines. The problem is not the material itself.

A Happy Byproduct

Leading a life by design comes with its complexities and rewards. Aside from an eventual goal, the conviction and steps towards it can cause a surprisingly positive ripple effect in our lives. Sonal of Aion Homes shares, “Subconsciously, I always feel good and empowered that I can contribute in my own personal way to reduce the mess that mankind is creating. I have managed to get my neighbours to reduce their plastic consumption. Every time I sell an item from my collection, I know one more step towards better living has been taken.”

Every Drop Counts 

With environment advocacy at the core of her practice, Aneesha Reddy believes one must lead by example. “If there’s something I want to see changed in the world, I start at home. Every material and process I use to create art is carefully researched to make sure it treads as lightly as possible on the environment."

The founders of KiRu insist that only education will aid the process beyond individual choices. “Educate ourselves, our friends and build the thought at a community level. It’s a journey and we believe each one of us will adopt our own practices to contribute to their unique and creative capability. We just need to help them see that through our work.” 

“Nothing in life that’s worth anything is easy.”

The famous quote by Barack Obama sums up the challenging nature of compromise for greater good. On the hardest thing to give up, Diti of Théla says, “The menstrual cup because of my inhibitions, but I was determined and now I find it so liberating.” Esha of Chambray & Co. confesses to an addiction to chewing gum. “Most chewing gum in the market contains plastic. Finding natural and organic chewing gums back in the day was almost next to impossible. So I kicked the habit.”  

Stranger Danger

When asked about a lesser known fact about plastic, Kamna of Noupelle says, Microplastics! I feel like this is something not a lot of people are aware of. It was only recently that I read more about it, only to realise that it's a much bigger problem. Recent studies show how microplastics were found in placentas of unborn babies. This clearly shows how our choices right now are already impacting generations to come.” 

Kamna Tripathy, Noupelle

Knowledge is power, and with great power comes great responsibility. What will you do with yours? Read our manual to plastic-free living, or fashionable ways to swap out plastic bags for significant strides in the right direction. 

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Feature Credit - Simran Khera

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