In my ancestral home in Patna, we have a transistor that has been passed down through generations since World War II. This unassuming device, held together by paper clips, rubber bands, and other ordinary objects, serves as a living testament to the resourcefulness and ingenuity of our ancestors.
The transistor's weathered exterior, with its frayed edges and patched-up surface, is also a poignant reminder of the disposable generation we are part of, where broken items are quickly discarded rather than repaired.
Growing up, I saw first-hand how my family valued repairing and reusing items rather than immediately replacing them. But as I entered adulthood, I noticed a stark shift in societal attitudes towards consumption. The culture of disposability has become deeply ingrained in our society, and it's something that has only accelerated with time.
In today's fast-paced world, repairing, restoring, and reusing have become lost arts, replaced by a culture and mentality where the first instinct is to replace rather than fix. The rise of mass production and consumption, fuelled in part by economic reforms in India during the early 1990s, has only accelerated this trend, particularly among millennials and Gen Z, who have grown up with unprecedented levels of abundance. It's easy to fall into the trap of buying things we don't really need or disposing of items that could have been fixed with a little effort.
As someone who has always been passionate about sustainability, I knew I had to do something to change this culture. And I was fortunate enough to have a friend who shared my passion - Ashni. We've known each other since we were 16 and have been actively involved in social and environmental issues in India since then.
In fact, at 17, Ashni and I co-hosted a bake sale to raise funds for the Bihar Flood Relief in 2008. That experience sparked a curiosity that led to many more discussions and actions related to social impact. Over the years, we've volunteered and worked with various NGOs, gaining valuable insights into what it means to work in the social impact sector.
As we became more aware of the impact of climate change on India and its people, we knew that there was a need to change how we consume and dispose of things in our country. And that's how Eco Dhaga was born - out of our shared passion for sustainability and our desire to impact the environment and society positively.
EcoDhaga is India's first closed-loop fashion brand that focuses on giving a new life to fashion waste created by consumers. We thrift, recycle, donate, and upcycle the fabric we receive from individuals with the vision of creating a more circular economy. We aim to create an economy where we keep the materials and resources we use in circulation for as long as possible while minimizing waste.
Unlike your usual thrift stores on Instagram that use a reseller or consignment model, we work on individual donations. We accept and collect donations from consumers looking to declutter and wish to participate in the closed-loop fashion economy. The clothes then undergo rigorous quality checks and hygiene protocols to ensure every detail is noticed and no potential wasted.
As a social enterprise, we are mindful of our community and its impact. So far, we have prevented 4000 kgs of textile waste from ending up in the landfills in Bangalore alone. This has helped save 1,00,000 kgs of CO2 emissions; this is equivalent to the CO2 released and sequestered by 1654 plant seedlings in 10 years.
If you share our passion for sustainability and want to make a positive impact on the environment and society, you can join in too! Start by donating your gently-loved clothes or shopping from our sustainable thrift store. Together, let's make a difference.
Visit our website to learn more and declutter today!