Innovation That Matters

| Photo source EcoKaari

Artisanal gifts and accessories from upcycled plastic

Fashion & Beauty

An Indian social enterprise is creating unique fabrics by combining plastic waste and traditional handicraft techniques

Spotted: The world has a huge issue with plastic waste, and India is no exception. The country produces around 3.4 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, only 30 per cent of which is recycled. Social enterprise EcoKaari (’Eco Artisan’) has developed a unique solution for this scourge.

EcoKaari upcycles waste plastic into handcrafted fabrics. The fabrics are created by women and young people from poor backgrounds – providing much-needed employment and upskilling at the same time. The company highlights that it is focused on “women’s empowerment by employing women and youth to enable craft-based livelihood opportunities.”

Waste such as plastic carrier bags, food wrappers, and old cassette tapes is gathered, washed, and treated with a biodegradable cleaner. The material is then processed into fabric and handwoven using traditional craft methods that do not require electricity. Cotton fabric waste is used as lining and packaging.

EcoKaari is working with a number of partner organisations and fashion designers to promote its products and expand its social enterprise into new products and new regions. The company points out that contributing to EcoKaari is a way for organisations to meet their corporate social responsibility (CSR) obligations.

Plastic is not the only material being recycled into new fabrics. Springwise has also spotted innovations such as carbon-negative textiles and fabric made from banana fibres in the archive.

Written By: Lisa Magloff



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