Scrapshala, a venture based in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, for making up-cycled products using waste materials, is creating a massive impact on everyone’s mind. Started in 2016, Scrapshala by Shikha Shah creates products such as home-décor, garden décor, fashion accessories with up-cycled and recycled materials.

“The Scrapshala started in January 2016. I believe household and personal level initiatives are essential to managing waste. We can’t wait for the government or public sector official to solve all problems. So, we have to do this task ourselves, and that’s where I have seen that up cycling is a household phenomenon. Everyone can practise it. If we reuse or up-cycle, then it’ll leave a significant impact on daily waste management,” said Shikha Shah, founder of the Scrapshala .

Speaking about this idea of waste management, Shikha said, “We all are into creating waste. During my education and travel, I realised the importance of up cycling and decided to do something in this field. My mother taught me up cycling, who always made us throw less and reuse more.” Shikha also shared the method they follow to reach the final product. She said, “For up cycling, we take up to 50-70% of junk and 50-30% of fresh material to make up-cycled material. We clean it, mend it, and do whatever needs to be done with it. It goes to different departments like the carpentry team, painting team, polishing team, and finally to the packaging team and then to the ultimate users.”

She further said, “Since we sell up-cycled and sustainable products, many people use it to see value in everything we throw in dustbins. It’s like a magical thing for people. That’s where we inspire and make people aware. Now, we’re getting junks from all over India. People also call us to confirm if what they are throwing in the dustbins is useful. That proved to be the primary motivation for us and inspiration for people, as when you see value in something, you immediately get inspired.”

Shikha also shared that in order to create awareness among masses about the concept of recycling and up cycling, The Scrapshala creates awareness by organising workshops and conferences for everyone to understand the beauty of up cycling and reusing.

Talking about the difficulties, Shikha mentioned that product pricing of such sustainable product is a challenge. She also said, “First, to standardise the final product is quite tricky because each junk, each product, is uniquely handcrafted. Since it’s not a factory production, setting a standardised product price is quite challenging. Also, it’s difficult for customers to develop a mindset to buy reused and up-cycled products. In a venture like this, you need to educate people about your work and aspirations. Since we’re involved with local artisans, in and around Varanasi, the team members also need regular motivation. You need to show them that the work you’re doing is bringing value to the people.”

“It’s rightly said ‘ Hold your breath while counting your money. ‘One should never underestimate the power of nature and should always respect nature. People think that a sustainable life is expensive, and one can’t afford it. It’s just a myth. When you reuse what you already own you are already managing your resources properly. The concept of buying more and throwing more needs to go away,” said Shikha as she signs off.