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Komal Panwar

Blogger & Singer

Have A Stack Of Old CDs? Amishi Shah Will ‘Upcycle’ It Into An Environmental Startup

  • IWB Post
  •  April 8, 2017


Do you remember the times when CDs were properly protected in CD covers and had so much of izzat. Clearly, none of that exists anymore, because, PEN DRIVES!

Woohoo, since the time Pen Drives entered our lives, things have been rather breezy and easy. But, what do you plan to do with those 100 CDs that sit in a dusty corner of your home, that too, in pretty CD covers?

Simple. Give them to The Upcycle Co.

The brand turns non-recyclable waste into beautiful lifestyle products. Yes, sir, I’m talking pretty tea coasters, key chains, sign boards and more. All of this is the brainchild of Amishi Shah. Amishi’s journey has been rather fun, challenging, and more than anything, creative.

I got in touch with her to see if she’d give me any free stuff.

IWB: How did The Upcycle Co. happen to you?

Amishi: I was doing my masters in UK where I got introduced to the concept of a social enterprise. In that time, I also learned about upcycling. Really, it was exciting because, as a kid, I was always bothered about trash management. People used to spread trash in India, but when they visited a foreign land, they never did it. Though many people in India have also taken up the initiative to promote upcycling, I wanted to create something quirky!

IWB: What challenges do women face in a startup?

Amishi: I think it’s all very industry-specific. There are certain industries where women are treated more seriously. For example, fashion. People listen to women when they talk. The same might not be the case with men.

In a similar way, waste management is a predominantly man-zone. A vendor even confessed that when I went in to speak to him about the raw material for the first time, he quoted me a higher price because he was convinced that being a woman would make me haggle.

IWB: What stuff do you recycle?

Amishi: When I started off, I laid my hands on anything and everything I could find. Gradually, I realized that I needed to have a catalog. That’s how my focus shifted to Vinyl records. They are quirky, people don’t use them anymore, and fashionable, too.img_5

We recently introduced CD recycling, as well!

IWB: What was the first product you created?

Amishi: Newspaper woven coasters.

Ah, the odor of Fevicol might’ve been amazing while making it. Ugh, no, I’m not drifting off-topic. I was fast to get a quick DIY tip for Y’all! *Wink*

IWB: One DIY that we can do with old CDs?

Amishi: You can make beautiful diyas for Diwali out of them!

Diyas?! Diwali, here I come!

IWB: How?

Amishi: Put tea lights in the CD holes, and decorate the sides with paper flowers, quilt, anything.

Wow, that sounds fairly easy and beautiful, too. After this, I also got some tips that would make us responsible.

IWB: How can each of us play a role in contributing towards the environment?

Amishi: If we start segregating our waste, our lives will be much easier. You could do composting at home. Plus, if you’re giving away newspapers to the Scrap dealer (raddiwala), why not just do a little extra effort and preserve the empty plastic bottles, too? You don’t know how much you’ll help the environment just by doing that.

IWB: Do you have any expansion plans on mind?

Amishi: For the last couple of months, we’ve been working with a lot of companies, trying to figure out how to dispose of their waste. In this way, we are not only expanding but doing something for the betterment of the environment.

IWB: Okay, let’s have some fun questions, now. One CD that you’ll never crush?

Amishi: I think I’ll get the contents out of that CD, put them on a pen drive and use them up, anyway!

IWB: One key to success for the environmental entrepreneur?

Amishi: That: don’t think about success. Just work towards the goal of the betterment. Fortunately, people are respecting upcycling now, thanks to the Swachhata Abhiyaan.

IWB: We saw a lot of dog accessories & related products in your online shop! Do you have any pets?

Amishi: Unfortunately, I don’t! I have a lot of customers who advised me on having some quirky “Beware of Dogs” sign. And so, this happened.img_2

IWB: One sign that hangs outside your door?

Amishi: Well, there’s actually an interesting sign inside our guest washroom. Haha!img_4

IWB: Express your life in the showpieces you create.

Amishi: I really think I’d have to create something new for myself. So, I have this strange fascination with geometric patterns. I love clean, complete figures, so yeah. Something around that!

IWB: Who is your inspiration?

Amishi: I think Happily Unmarried and Good Earth, but I feel that my ideas are slightly different.

IWB: Do you have a team now?

Amishi: Yes! I was initially working alone. But, yay! We are a team of four-five people now. img_1

IWB: You mentioned that you’ve often shopped junk from the Chor Bazaar. Tell us an interesting Chor Bazaar story.

Amishi: So, the Chor Bazaar is closed on Fridays, and, there’s a market that opens at 4 am outside it. It’s called the Juma Market. I was surprised to see that there were much more people than you’d spot at the Chor Bazaar, oh and the Biriyani joints in every corner are worth dying for. Slurrrp.

IWB: We saw lots of Harry Potter Products on your website, too. If you drank Felix Felicis, one task that you would move forward with?

Amishi: Okay, I have a boring answer, but I’m still going to say it. I just want to change the mindset of the people towards trash, and want them to be more responsible.img_3

IWB: One person in your family who slays your idea.

Amishi: Dad! He’s very supportive but always encourages me to come up with more competitive stuff.

Well, Amishi, honestly, a lot of my ideas get slain, a lot.

Do you think you want to buy Amishi’s cool products? Well, you can find them on her website!

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