CHENNAI: From toiletries to bio-enzymes — in an attempt to promote a zero-waste lifestyle, city-based entrepreneurs have been working on sustainable alternatives that can be used in our day-to-day life. Vaishali Vijaykumar explores the possibility of replacing everyday essentials with green alternatives
Health and hygiene
Biodegradable and disposable diapers are the way forward to address new parents’ concern about protecting their baby’s sensitive skin. Charanya Rangaprasad started Eco Green Baby in 2017 at Tambaram. The brand focuses exclusively on diapers. “Parents were apprehensive about washing and reusing diapers in the early stages. Once they have a touch-and-feel experience they’re open to experimenting,” said Charanya who retails seven organic diaper brands at her store.
There are two sizes — one for newborns and the other one is for toddlers. The diapers come with detachable inserts that are designed to be stuffed into pocket diapers. The absorbent materials are made of bamboo, hemp and cherry making them allergy or rash-free.
A diaper is priced at `350 and an insert at `1,000. For details, visit: ecoclothdiapers.com
Recycling old glass bottles and making aesthetic decoupage bottles out of them has become a popular trend among artists. Bodhai, an Instagram-based brand is one such. It was founded a year-and-a-half back by Lavanya Shankar. The brand offers art and curio pieces, flower vases and bottle lamps. “We’ve upcycled entire bottles by cutting them. We’re working on a line of party sets that will include shot glasses and snack holders. Our light fixtures are popular,” said Lavanya who also offers corporate gifting options.
Planters, the latest addition in their long list of products have become hot-sellers.
“We have three varieties — the regular one where the entire bottle is cut into two and either one is used as the base; the flat planter where the bottle is cut horizontally to give a square shape, and the third is based on a self-watering mechanism. You just need to change the water in the lower half of the planter. Designs can be made specific to customer requests as well,” she shared, adding that artists have also started using plastic bottles as a medium of artwork which is a great step forward.
Products are priced from `450. For details, Instagram page: @Bodhai
Toiletries and cleaners
After working in the research and development department of a pharmaceutical company, Harika Balam knew what exposure to chemicals can do to one’s life. She decided to quit her job and lead a chemical-free life. Among the many age-old practices, she followed the concept of bio-enzyme instead of using multiple cleaning solutions available in the commercial market.
“Take 100 grams of jaggery, 300 grams of citrus peel (orange and lemon), and a litre of water. Since it produces gas and expands, store it in a metal or plastic container for 90 days. The pulpy waste can be used to clean toilets, chimney and kitchen surface. Apply it for 10-15 minutes and scrub it. It’s a natural disinfectant,” said Harika, a resident of Anna Nagar. Soapnut can be added to the bio-enzyme and left for seven to 10 days. This can be used as a laundry agent, dishwasher and heavy-duty cleaning material. Likewise, wood and ash can be added to bio-enzyme to clean utensils. She prepares these solutions at home and retails on a small-scale under the name 3ree - Nature Consumer Product since February.
Priced at `80 onwards.
For details, call:9538601927
Garments, pillow covers and bags
Two years back, Niranjani R along with her friends established Fray — a customised clothing brand. The sole purpose of the label was to create something out of strips of fabrics and waste cotton. “One of the fast-selling products is our pillow cover. Veshti is usually used as a template base for the outer case of the cushion. The patch works are stitched on top of it. Scraps of different fabrics are used for the stuffing inside, instead of cotton,” said Niranjani, who has also tied up with a self-help group called Sura from Cuddalore.
The women from fishing communities in and around Cuddalore stitch bags, vanity pouches and slings. Further, coin and earphone pouches are also made. “We have a concept called Idea Shop where customers can drop in their stained, torn and unused clothes lying in their wardrobe. We re-purpose and give it back to them based on demand. It can be made into upholstery or anything for that matter,” she said.
Priced from `100 onwards.
For details, visit Instagram page: @Fray
Accessories & home decor
Srinidhi Rajan’s products are quirky, creative and thoughtfully crafted. Be it her safety pin earrings, decoupage bottles or trays made out of magazine covers. “Bottle caps, beads, buttons and extra bits of fabrics. Give me anything and I’d love to turn it into something usable. These earrings are a big hit among our clients. We’ve taken colourful beads and inserted them into pins to give it an Indian touch. The pins are oxidised and do not leave marks or allergies on your skin,” said Srinidhi who sells these products on her Instagram page Madraskarri.
The brand was started in 2017 with the concept to make best out of waste. One of her latest creations is scrunchies and hair ties made out of waste cloth.
Priced at `50 onwards. For details, visit Instagram page: @Madraskarri