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Fabindia’s journey of transforming trash to treasure

With over 100,000 metric tonnes of waste generated every day in India, waste management remains one of the biggest issues that the country is facing. Landfills are being stretched to the limit, and the continuously mounting garbage is contaminating natural resources like soil and groundwater. While reforms at the industry and policy level are being introduced, businesses have also taken up the awareness baton.
Retail brand, Fabindia’s ‘Shunya’ collection of rugs and outdoor chairs is made from recycled PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) yarn that has been upcycled from discarded single-use plastic bottles. The collection, launched in 2020, is titled ‘SHUNYA,’ which means ‘zero,’ to signify ‘zero waste’. Approximately 260 to 300 plastic bottles go into making one environmentally sustainable, GRS (Global Recycled Standard)-certified rug measuring 120*180 cm. Also, for every rug sold, Rs 100 is donated to a Delhi-based NGO called Chintan, which works towards upliftment of waste-pickers. So far, Rs 55000 has been donated to the foundation.

The company has also launched the ‘Niyama’ range of incense sticks by repurposing floral waste from temples in Uttar Pradesh. With tons of floral waste being discarded daily, Fabindia has partnered with Phool India, a biomaterial startup, to collect nearly 8.4 tons of flowers daily from the temples. ‘Flowercycling’ technology is used to handcraft this waste into charcoal-free, organic incense in a variety of fragrances. These recycled incense floral incense sticks are available across Fabindia’s retail stores and online platforms.

Gudri is yet another technique that patches fabric scraps from tailors and textile factories. Rejected, leftover, and unused pieces are stitched and embellished with a running stitch. This fabric is mainly sourced from Rajasthan and Gujarat.

In addition to being a value-added waste management effort, such initiatives have also generated employment opportunities for several communities.

Fabindia Group has a network of close to 50,000 artisans, 12,000 farmers and 900 vendors across India. The company’s business model is focused on sustainability by design and it has sought to create a differentiated supply-side community through a model of engaging various communities, who further demonstrate how a common purpose and aligned values can bring about equitable and inclusive growth and impact.

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