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Apeksha Bagchi

IWB Blogger

66 Y.O. Rita Maker Shows How To Make A Difference For The Environment While Sitting At Home

  • IWB Post
  •  February 16, 2019

 

“There will come a time when plastic is all we will see on Earth, suffocating the very human beings who created it,” my granma exclaims everytime she passes a pile of plastic waste by the road. And it always scares me how true her words can turn out to be if there aren’t more people like 66-year-old Rita Maker who upcycles plastic bags at home to turn them into useful day-to-day objects!

“I’d always nurtured this wish of doing something for the environment but didn’t know where to start. Being a senior citizen, it wasn’t quite feasible for me to step out and engage with conservation initiatives. What I wanted to do was contribute in some way from my home,” said Rita, who lives in Mumbai.

Rita Maker

A clutch made from bread wrap.

When she told about it to her daughter, Rachita, she laughed off her idea of doing something for the environment from her home.

“She laughingly told me, ‘You can’t do something for the environment by sitting at home. That’s not how it works.’ But I didn’t lose heart and kept looking out for ways as to what I could do to make this happen,” she shared

So, when she saw a video of women making mats from Walmart shopping bags, she decided to follow their example.  

“I had the skill and time, and raw material was no problem as plastic bags walked in with every purchase we made. So without giving a second thought to this, I got started,” Rita said. “All kinds of plastic bags that I came across, went into upcycling; thereby preventing them from reaching the roads, drains or the oceans and wreaking havoc. ‘Jo Plastic Ghar Aaye, Kuchh Bankar Baahar Jaate’ became my mantra.”

 

Rita Maker

Dustbin made from milk packets.

“I started with making mats which were distributed to the service staff in our residential complex, and ideas started pouring in. From mats, I then went about to making clutches, bags, baskets, tea coasters, etc. that I would gift to my family members and friends. But given the time and effort it took, I understood that having another pair of hands will speed up the process. So I employed an assistant—my former house help—who makes time to help me in my endeavors and in return, I pay her for her work,” added Rita.

While her talent is being appreciated, Rita has no plans of selling her creations as she is not doing all this with a monetary gain in mind.

“I’m not doing any of this for money. Even the money I received from the stall and the people who personally purchased the bags and other products from me on request, has been routed to charities,” she shared. What she believes in is inspiring others to follow her footsteps. She has organized sessions for kids and even became the source of inspiration for two women from her apartment complex who are now upcycling plastic bags into trendy products.

“There is only so much one can do, and at my age, it isn’t quite possible for me to take all these plastic bags home. I hope just the way that one video inspired me to take up this task, more people would be stirred to do their bit for the environment,” Rita said.

“A handbag made from milk covers easily repurposes 400 to 500 units that would otherwise go down the drain. There is so much we can do and in such creative ways. This is perhaps the best way we can individually work towards eradicating the menace of plastic—one that doesn’t need you to go out there but still make a difference,” she added.

H/T: The Better India 

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