One common problem faced by all the girls is that, we never have enough clothes to wear. Even though our wardrobe may be full of clothes we are never satisfied with what we have. So we go for shopping every single time we get an opportunity.
Now with more get-together’s and occasions to celebrate throughout the year, most of the time everybody is on a shopping frenzy, even boys, yes they are. Although I have never regretted shopping for clothes I do feel bad about throwing the beautiful cardboard packaging, plastic labels and tags which come with them.
When it comes to packaging and clothe tags and labels, the bigger the brand the much bigger the labels, and usually fancier and made using good quality materials. On the other hand, the clothes brought from local shopping market rarely come with labels and the few which they have, are relatively plain and simple, without much use of thick materials or heavy printing like the high-end clothing brands.
After years, countless shopping sprees later, one day I finally began collecting these and asked some of my creative friends to give me some ideas on how to up-cycle clothing labels and tags. I wanted to creatively re-use and re-purpose them into something new and useful.But now even after having collected many of them, I have received zero ideas from any friends. So the quickest use I could make of them was turning them into bookmarks.
I am a book lover and I read all sort of books – Science fiction, fiction, autobiographies, drama, thriller etcetera. I most of the time get free books online, I borrow books from friends and I also buy books from bookstores and online stores. Even if you are not a book reader you can still use these labels as a marker in whatever that you read, maybe your own diary, magazine or your study books and reference books.
If you start observing that there is a lot of material used in these small labels, some are made from plastic, some from clothes and some from cardboard. We don’t have proper waste management and hence when the cardboard and plastic should go for recycling, they end up in landfill. Cardboard in landfills is still okay but plastics that never decompose is a big trouble. Any plastic waste that goes in the landfill stays there for 100 and more years and it breaks down into micro-plastic. This breaking down process releases chemicals over a period of time which seeps into the soil, enters the water bodies and pollute the ecosystem, becoming a major threat to the life on land and in seas and oceans.
Some serious restrictions on use of these labels as they are of no real use and are the first to get thrown in the waste. So all the resources like trees (for cardboard), materials/ingredients required for dyes/inks etc. used in making them are in turn wasted.
If we can’t totally get rid of them, we can at least simplify their design and make it more environmental (plus economical) by limiting the use to just one tag and one category of biodegradable and recycled/recyclable material.
An inventive way to creatively re-use would be to plan from the start, by going for a multi-purpose design. This way the useless tags could be used as bookmarks or folded to make a paper origami or converted into something else after we have removed them from the clothing.
The creative re-use of waste is called up-cycling and its new way of living sustainable life. This was just a small attempt at up-cycling on a personal level. There are so many creative people out there who have been using this since long. I will be writing more on plastic waste and up-cycling in future till then please share your ideas with us.
By taking such small steps we can easily build a greener future together.
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I will see you folks soon with another article on sustainable living.
-Pooja Navale (edited by Omkar Jadhav)