A startup is tackling plastic pollution in India, one package at a time; Earn Rs 70 Lakh

Pune-based social enterprise reCharkha recycles plastic waste into bags, placemats, home decor items and other products, while rekindling artistic skills. To date, they have recycled 7 lakhs worth of plastic packets and recorded a turnover of Rs 70 lakhs.

Founded by software engineer Amita Deshpande, they employ local waste pickers and tribals from Dadra Nagar Haveli. She claims that 70% of her workforce is made up of women.

Plastic waste is collected from individuals and organisations, which is then cleaned, washed, disinfected and dried. It is then divided according to color and sent to the recycling unit to be woven.

The production process includes the plastic being spun into yarn on a charkha. It is then woven in plastic fiber on a loom. These steps reduce energy consumption in the production process, compared to the use of machines.

“Huge volumes of plastic waste are only generated in urban areas and my vision of uplifting tribes can only be achieved in rural areas. Also, our village was once known for its craftsmanship, but as the economy grew and mass production took over, artisans declined. ReCharkha revives artistic skills and solves the plastic crisis,” says Amita in an interview with The best India.

At first, people didn’t see the value of Amita’s products. To better communicate the journey of its products and its ideas to the public, it made a video showing the whole process, from the separation of waste to the final product, which it disseminated at exhibitions, workshops, exhibitions, etc. Slowly, sales are picking up.

As she focuses on business growth, Amita is an inspiring example of how livelihoods can be generated through environmentally responsible work.

Bryce K. Locke