Born of a desire to reduce India’s mountain of waste, improve energy efficiency, and help some of Delhi’s poorest of slums, is an organisation called Conserve India. It achieves this difficult end by turning plastic bags into high fashion.
Conserve started as a fledgling recycling project but quickly adapted to confront the biggest challenge India was facing, the growing mountains of plastic bags that cannot be composted or recycled locally.
After much experimentation, the Conserve team hit upon the idea of not recycling, but upcycling. This they achieved by washing, drying, and pressing the bags into sheets. Handmade Recycled Plastic (HRP) was born and designs for handbags, wallets, shoes and belts quickly came flooding in. The goal was obvious: use high fashion to support the poorest of poor and create a cleaner environment for all.
Today, Conserve India employs and trains hundreds of people from Delhi’s most disadvantaged communities to clear their streets of the plague of plastic bag waste. Once the waste bags are turned into HRP products they are sold for profits which can be spent on those same communities in the way of education and welfare programmes.
By buying a Conserve bag, belt, wallet, shoe, or necklace, you not only get to be a trend setter with a beautiful, funky piece of high fashion but you also help some of India’s poorest people, and of course our environment.