Would you carry a bag made from Lays wrappers or pouches made from biscuit wrappers? Marathakam, the brand under which products made from upcycled plastic are sold, come from households in Paravur, parts of Angamaly and Aluva. “Close to 70 women are employed to collect waste from homes in these areas and sort them into 52 categories of waste including paper waste, FMCG packaging like biscuit and chips packets, plastic bottles etc., explains Sooraj Abraham, a part-time lecturer at Union Christian College Aluva and one of the founders of Plan@Earth.
Founded in 2009 by four like-minded people, Plan@Earth is registered as a non-profit organization. They began by creating awareness in schools, colleges and residential areas about climate change and waste management. “What began as creating awareness about the environment in 2009, eventually became a waste management organization by 2010-11,” Sooraj says.
The organization aims to increase the lifespan of plastic and other waste by turning them into products like bags and pouches. “All the waste is carefully sorted cleaned and either given for recycling or upcycling. Old clothes and fabric waste is often turned into table runners, coasters, wall hangings and more,” he says.