For the longest time we had a three triangle chart up on the wall in our office saying REUSE, REDUCE AND RECYCLE. I got it, understood the concept and tried to live by it. I think we are generally good at that in India. Then recently I saw the 5 R’s and was intrigued.
This list has got me thinking all over again.
REFUSE is a hard one to discuss in a blog post on an e-commerce site committed to selling as much as we can, but discuss it I shall because it is a great concept. So this one is quite simply about not having so much stuff. I am sure that might be unpopular with lots of people (and companies, especially when we need to pick up business after the horrible effects of the pandemic) but how about we look at it in another way. Let us have what we think we need but what if we demand better quality and better design so that we have things that serve multiple purposes, a stool that converts to a step ladder or reversible dresses like the ones we have in MESH shop from Kumbaya that allow us different looks from the same product. What about products that last longer and can be repaired or restored? These are all ways of making REFUSE more attractive and of course if a product is actually harmful for the environment then we can just refuse to buy it and you can always ask yourself do I really need this product and sometimes decide you don’t.
REDUCE is of course a bit more of the same. Growing up, the children in our house got a new outfit for Christmas and Birthday that were “best” for that year and then relegated for play and rough and tough once birthdays and Christmas came around again. It was always enough and the children did not complain. It was about an attitude in the house that fostered the idea that we didn’t need much to function and be happy. Reducing waste is another perspective here. Are you the sort of person who has little bits of soap in soap dishes all over the place, hating to throw them out and not very good at sticking them to the new bar? MESH sells organic cotton soap bags that solve the problem; put the bits of soap in the net bag, it bubbles up nicely and works as a non-sponge bath scrub and soap saver all in one.
REUSE. This is what MESH Zero Waste range is all about really. We are focusing on products that can be reused as replacements for those that are now discarded after use. So our tea bags and coffee filters are alternatives to disposable ones. We also have lots of organic cotton bags as reusable alternatives to plastic bags and sets of organic cotton net veggie bags serving the same purpose and are great for segregating fruit and veggies in your fridge.
RE-PURPOSE. This is one of my favourites, it is a bit like recycling but I think it comes before recycling. So imagine that you have a very nice table cloth but after lots of wear it is a bit too stained to live life any longer with dignity on the table, it can be repurposed into kitchen towels and then when they are wearing out, into floor cloths and used until they are in shreds and ready for final disposal. Repurposing them in that way can add as much as a couple of years to a product, reducing family costs and community waste. MESH has done a lot of that this yea; fabric made for kitchen linen was re-purposed for making face masks, aprons that were not selling in MESH were re-purposed into face masks too.
MESH works with PAGIR a group in Leh that re-purposes tailor’s waste (katran) into stuffing for meditation cushions and belts and purses.
RECYCLE. Society for Child Development is another group MESH works with; they take wilted flower displays from hotels and garlands from temples and convert the petals into gulal colours for Holi. They also recycle the used metro advertisement boards into packing for their gulal especially. In-fact if it is discarded SCD is delighted to take it and work out a new way of using it.
So there they are - 5R’s to keep in mind when we make our shopping choices. MESH is interested in them all, we have products reflecting this philosophy and we encourage you to look in our shop or on this website first, if we haven’t got it then please tell us before you look elsewhere because with MESH you get the 5R’s and you know each sale is helping to keep a person with disability in employment…it doesn’t get better than that!