THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Picture that ubiquitous Milma plastic cover, which you discard off every morning, fashioned into an eclectic set of utilitarian items. So, you have footwear, bags, purses and baskets, all made from the classic blue-hued Milma cover. At Leelamma’s home, every Milma cover gets an afterlife. The 67-year-old who lives in Vellakulangara in Adoor says it was the thought of making something useful from the plastic cover that made her attempt this innovation. Two years ago, she tried making a purse out of the Milma cover and was successful. But it is only recently during the pandemic that she started crafting more articles out of the Milma cover. That purse still holds good, and remains as good as new, dispelling criticisms that the article could deteriorate over time.
A homemaker, Leelamma was always into art and craft. “I have heard that burning the plastic cover is really bad for health. And so for long, we were just giving the covers away. And then one day, I was cleaning the cover and it struck me. Why not make something out of this,” recalls Leelamma. So she carefully cut the side of the cover, cleaned it and spread it out.
That was the start. Soon, she started hoarding covers. And voila, a blue-and-white patterned purse was born. Now, she makes handbags, slippers, baskets, and so on with these used covers. It is often the dearth of enough Milma covers that delays her work.
For instance, making a single basket would require more than 100 Milma covers. And so she started sourcing used Milma covers from her neighbours.“Although a few people said they could sell this, I can work only at my own pace. If we could set up some society or groups and start working with a few women, then I could carry this forward on a larger scale,” she says.
MILMA SAYS KUDOS
“The initiative is welcome and very encouraging. We have been trying to address the plastic cover issue and have successfully made some headway on the matter. For instance, Milma is available in tetra packs, yet it isn’t that popular with people. We are planning to set up bulk vending machines, shredding machines and have inked agreement with a company to collect Milma covers from the consumer. Although we use food grade plastic, the fact that they end up as refuse and isn’t biodegradable is an issue. In this light, when individuals come up with such efforts, it is inspiring and encouraging,” Suresh Kumar R, Milma Managing Director, Trivandrum region, said on hearing of Leelamma’s efforts.