Sunday, July 21, 2024

recycle upcycle exchange for sustainble living

A heavy, matriarchal uruli in bell metal, dulled with the patina of age, preens next to slender, shining wine glasses while an old-world valve radio in working condition outshines several brass knick-knacks, all for sale at The Show Showp. A small outlet tucked away in a lane on the bustling Kesavadasapuram-Ulloor Road, it was begun in 2017 by techie Sujith Babu and entrepreneur Bijulal Chacko. ‘The Show Showp is a one of its kind shop where we host garage sales all year round’, says its Facebook page.

Aswathy Babu

Aswathy Babu
| Photo Credit:
SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Meanwhile, Aswathy Sujith’s Facebook page Preloved Stuffs Trivandrum was started in 2018 to help residents declutter. She wanted to find a way to help people upcycle household articles, artefacts, clothes, books etc. “When my children grew out of the toddler stage, a lot of their clothes were in good condition. Since I work in the IT field, many of my colleagues told me about garage sales that are popular abroad. I decided to do the same. When I put up the clothes and toys on our page, it was snapped up in no time. That convinced me that we were on the right path,” says Aswathy.

Online garage sales

Like Aswathy and Sujith, Indie TG had always been concerned by the stuff collected in homes over the years and the trash generated in households. It was brought home forcefully when she and her husband moved to their own flat. Indie discovered heaps of clothes they had accumulated right from their college days. “The tendency is to give them to our domestic help. But once, I found some of the stuff I had given away in a hawker’s stall. That’s when I thought of an online version of garage sales to upcycle household stuff,” says Indie.

Indie TG

Indie TG
| Photo Credit:
SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Her Facebook page, Rehome Reuse Trivandrum, has 2,600 followers and features a wide range of products, from saris and readymades to furniture, crockery, books and plants.

While Indie and Aswathy make it a point to sell many of the products at a nominal price, Nayana Premnath’s Facebook page Freecycle Trivandrum features pre-loved products that are donated by members of the closed Facebook group. Recently, a member posted pictures of a chest of drawers that she no longer needed; it was taken on the very day it was featured on the page. Nayana, a vlogger and ardent supporter of sustainable practices, says the page is an attempt to help people declutter and donate instead of accumulating and hoarding things they no longer needed.

Exchange mela

The success of flea markets and online garage sales, motivated VK Prasanth, MLA of Vattiyoorkavu constituency in Thiruvananthapuram, to organise three such sales for upcycling all kinds of products. Called ‘Kaimmaatta chanda’ (exchange market), the sales featured electronic equipment, pre-loved furniture, toys, books, clothes, household appliances etc.

Glimpses of the exchange mela held in Jawahar Bal Bhavan 

Glimpses of the exchange mela held in Jawahar Bal Bhavan 
| Photo Credit:
SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

Prasanth says the sales exceeded all their expectations. While the first two editions were one-day affairs, the third edition was conducted for a week on the premises of Jawahar Bal Bhavan. “For the third edition, we charged a commission of 10 per cent of a sale from the buyers. That was to pay the rent and arrange food for volunteers. Otherwise, it is completely free of cost for those who put up products for sale. We facilitate the recycling and buyers pay directly to the sellers,” says Prasanth.

He says the the fourth edition of the ‘Kaimmaatta chanda’ has been tentativly planned for April.

Nayana says the trend to freecycle is yet to catch on in Thiruvananthapuram. “In Bengaluru, there are hundreds of people who do this. My page Freecycle Bangalore has more than 15,000 followers and 50 to 60 posts every day,” adds Nayana.

Many residents in the city hesitate to buy pre-loved clothes even when they look as good as new, says Indie. “When we post pictures of clothes and saris, people inbox me and ask me the details. Many are picked up almost immediately. Yet, they are reluctant to appear to be buying pre-loved clothes. It might take time for people to accept that it is fine to buy pre-loved clothes,” believes Indie.

Visitors at an exchange mela held in Jawahar Bal Bhavan  try out pre-loved bangles.

Visitors at an exchange mela held in Jawahar Bal Bhavan  try out pre-loved bangles.
| Photo Credit:
SPECIAL ARRANGEMENT

While they make up their mind about buying or accepting pre-loved products, many have already begun scouting around for bargains.

Sujith remembers a three-seater set with two chairs going for ₹1,200 and a brass uruli for a nominal amount. “It depends on the sellers or donors. Many of our donors are senior citizens shifting overseas or youngsters shifting homes. Only a few put up their possessions for sale to make money,” says Sujith. Although the pandemic forced them to down shutters for a few months, Show Showp has managed to weather the storm. “We provide commercial space to connect buyers and sellers of pre-loved goods. Anyone can hand over used stuff to the Showp for sale and anyone can walk in and buy it as well,” says Sujith.

Bijulal Chacko and Sujith Babu
for Show Showp

Bijulal Chacko and Sujith Babu
for Show Showp
| Photo Credit:
SREEJITH R KUMAR

Aswathy, Indie and Nayana assert that if only people would take time to declutter, they would see how much stuff they have that have not been used for years. “After a marriage in the family, invariably, there are gifts that lie unopened for months. Give them away. It is the same with clothes that have not been used for a long time, books used for coaching and so on,” says Indie.

Aswathy’s advice is to start with one shelf in a cupboard or a room and then continue to declutter. “I am a great admirer of decluttering guru Marie Kondo but each person could adopt their own way to declutter,” says Aswathy.

All of them assert that it is never too late to begin decluttering and donating or selling pre-loved goods to those who need them.

#recycle #upcycle #exchange #sustainble #living

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