This old 90's handwoven rug in the picture is made of old, woollen sweaters worn by my brother, sister and myself. Sorry - it’s not for sale!
When I asked my mum about where this idea came from, she said in those times throwing a clothing item into landfill was not something they ever thought of. It was like a crime for an average Indian family to throw anything away if it could be repurposed or recycled in some way.
This made me think of my childhood years. All clothing items that we wore or outgrew were always passed on to either younger siblings, cousins or to people who needed them. The real run-down items of clothing used to become rags for cleaning purposes.
The system that I loved the most was that you were able to trade off your old clothes to traders for new kitchen utensils. The clothes in return were sold on to a wide demographic of people (similar to an Op-Shop setup here in Australia).
Mum would often collect plastic, glass bottles, cardboard, notebooks, old furniture, and any sort of scrap that could be recycled. She would collect all this stuff in a little storage room upstairs. We often asked her why she kept collecting “junk” just to make 4 or 5 dollars. She would explain to us how these things could all be reused or repurposed and the $4 or $5 extra she got was an easy way of saving so that she could make some extra money, as full time housewives didn’t have many means of income.
I made some phone calls and tried to find out why recycling products used to be so important to all the women, and for the older generation, thankfully still is. There were two major reasons first money, second wastage.
Now, we have another very important reason and that is the environment - we believe now is the time to bring back some of these old practices and ALL live more sustainably so we can continue to enjoy life and the beautiful planet we are lucky to call home.
Share with us your stories of sustainability as a child and send it to us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s bring them all back if they are no longer still happening!