Up­cy­cled lifestyles

At its up­com­ing pop-up, fledg­ling brand Ever­wards of­fers sus­tain­able prod­ucts, from sta­tionery to body scrubs

The Hindu - - CHENNAI - :: Meghna Ma­jum­dar

Be­ing sus­tain­able is also about be­ing af­ford­able, points out city-based en­tre­pre­neur and co­founder of Two’s Com­pany, Veena Balakr­ish­nan. Look­ing back at the ideation and re­search that went into Ever­wards, Two’s Com­pany’s soonto-be-launched life­style brand, Veena says she and her busi­ness part­ner Su­dar­shana Pai kept com­ing back to the same ques­tions. “Is this prod­uct — say, soap — truly sus­tain­able? Can I af­ford it? Can I keep re­peat­ing this (pur­chase) ev­ery month?” The idea was to help po­ten­tial cus­tomers switch to an eco-friendly life­style, and these ques­tions were key.

“A truly sus­tain­able prod­uct is one that will help its user re­duce their car­bon foot­print,” says Veena. Hence, long life­spans, reusabil­ity and en­abling mul­ti­ple us­ages are an im­por­tant point of fo­cus while plan­ning or cu­rat­ing their range of prod­ucts. So is the man­u­fac­tur­ing process, and its em­pha­sis on up­cy­cling and re­pur­pos­ing — us­ing raw ma­te­rial that would oth­er­wise have gone to waste. Some of their tech­niques were sim­ple ones, that have been used by many over the years. “We make draw­string bags that can be used for stor­age, for trav­el­ling, as sep­a­ra­tors and more. To make these, we col­lect strips of cloth that are three-to-five me­tres or shorter, from fac­to­ries and tailor shops. These would oth­er­wise have been thrown away and ended up in land­fills. In­stead, we take them, check the type of fab­ric, and ac­cord­ingly use them to make ei­ther hand­ker­chiefs or bags,” ex­plains Veena.

The smaller bits and rags — par­tic­u­larly cot­ton ones — are pro­cessed into “cot­ton pa­per”, which makes its way into

notepads and note­books. “The cloth is pulped and made into pa­per. The note­book cov­ers also have quirky de­signs, and tips for sus­tain­able lifestyles.” The range also fea­tures bam­boo straws, and cut­lery crafted from the oft­dis­carded hard outer shell of co­conuts. The lat­ter, in­forms Veena, are made by ar­ti­sans in Coimbatore.

An­other ex­am­ple of re­pur­posed sub­stances is their cof­fee scrub, and soap. “In gen­eral, cof­fee scrubs have been widely mar­keted for long, and are pop­u­lar be­cause of the nu­tri­ents in cof­fee, and its im­pact on the skin, par­tic­u­larly stretch marks,” Veena points out. For their scrub, Veena and Su­dar­shana have tied up with lo­cal cof­fee shops to pro­cure their waste pro­duce.

“We re­pur­pose the cof­fee grounds that are left be­hind af­ter the cof­fee has been made, and make scrubs out of them,” says Veena, claim­ing, “By do­ing this, we are giv­ing way to a cir­cu­lar econ­omy. Those grounds would oth­er­wise have been thrown into a bin, and any­one mak­ing cof­fee scrubs would buy cof­fee fresh from the mar­ket. We are in­stead avoid­ing the us­age of a fresh batch of raw ma­te­rial.”

The ‘Ex­pe­ri­ence Zero-Waste Liv­ing’ pop-up will be held at Sait Colony House, Eg­more, from De­cem­ber 15 to 23, from 10 am to 8 pm. It is open to all.

Eco en­trepreneur­s Su­dar­shana Pai and Veena Balakr­ish­nan hope to open a store some day

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