Eco Bags Project
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To recover and reuse fabric waste locally.
To phase out single-use carry bags.
To generate livelihood for locals by turning waste to value.
The Problem: Single-use carry bags and burning of fabric waste
In Ladakh, plastic carry bags were banned many years ago by the efforts of local civil society organisations and the local government, to reduce waste production and plastic pollution in this pristine, mountainous region. But, in place of plastic carry bags, Polypropylene (PP) and paper carry bags came into use, which are also designed for disposing after a few uses. Most people mistake PP bags as cloth bags. PP is actually a class of plastic, and although recyclable, is not recycled in Ladakh. On the other hand, paper is biodegradable but since paper is produced from wood, manufacturing of paper takes a high toll on the environment. Parallel to the waste generated from single-use carry bags is the generation of large quantities of fabric waste from local tailors, all of which is dumped, landfilled, burnt in the open or incinerated.
Our Solution: Reusable bags from local fabric waste
The Eco Bags Project aims at eliminating the waste produced from single-use, throwaway PP and paper carry bags by firstly, informing and persuading residents to refuse carry bags, instead bring their own bags and secondly, recovering the leftover fabrics from local tailors to make reusable shopping bags as a sustainable alternative to single-use carry bags.
Intervention by Zero Waste Ladakh in the fabric waste disposal situation.
The Project has a four-pronged strategy for accomplishing its goals:
“Refuse carry bag, Bring your own bag” campaign
Run a long-term campaign called “Bring your own bag” to persuade the public to “Refuse” single-use carry bags, instead bring their own bags.
Provide skill training to local individuals and self-help groups (SHGs) in upcycling fabric waste.
Upcycle fabric waste
Recover fabric waste from local tailors and engage the trained individuals and SHGs in upcycling the waste into sustainable products.
Promotion and marketing
Adopt various ways of promoting and marketing the sustainable upcycled products.
The 6R principle of the Zero Waste approach, namely RETHINK, REFUSE, REDUCE, REPAIR & REUSE, RECOVER, RECYCLE, offers almost every tool, which if implemented persistently, can help us reduce waste as well as utilise resources to the maximum.
In Ladakh, the practice of taking carry bags from shops is a newly formed culture. In olden days, locals used to carry baskets from home for buying things. Nowadays, most customers take carry bags from shops because it is easier than bringing their own bags from home and because the carry bags come free so they do not mind taking them. The large amount of waste generated on a daily basis from throwaway carry bags can be prevented completely and relatively easily by continuously educating residents to follow the Zero Waste principle of “Refuse.”
“Recover” and “Reuse”
The leftover fabrics from local tailors constitutes a large amount of waste. In the current Municipal Solid Waste Management system, fabric waste has no value, as a result of which, it is disposed by dumping, landfilling, burning or incinerating. Fabrics can be prevented from being wasted by applying the Zero Waste principles of “recover" and "reuse". Fabric waste can be collected directly from tailors, that is before it hits the waste stream, and stitched into bags and a variety of other utility products.
Waste recovery and reuse
Fabrics get a second life instead of being dumped, burnt, landfilled or incinerated.
By promoting reusable shopping bags, waste generation from single-use carry bags is prevented.
Waste to value
By upcycling fabric waste, social and economic value is created out of waste.
Livelihood is generated for locals by upcycling fabric waste locally.