That we use a lot of plastic in our daily lives is a given, from the toothbrush at the start the day to pens and bags. And this has remained a major concern not only for environmentalists, but also governments and policymakers as plastic is not biodegradable, leading to severe pollution.
The solution? A switch to biodegradable products, but this has remained a challenge as these products are typically more expensive as compared with plastic.
Faced with this very dilemma, Veena Balakrishnan and Sudarshana Pai started Everwards India in June 2018.
The two, who studied fashion technology, were well versed with the amount of non-biodegradable industrial waste the fashion industry produced. That was the motivation to start Everwards India, Veena told the New Indian Express.
We’ve always been driven towards using local materials, integrating local economies and reducing carbon footprint. Things used decades ago are coming back in trend. Through our company, we are also generating jobs for the physically challenged, people from the economically backward sections, and artisans.
So, Everwards makes pencils from graphite and newspaper – priced at Rs 49 – while toothbrushes are made from bamboo, and the bristles from bamboo fibres. Everwards makes 40 products that are eco-friendly alternatives to plastics used in everyday life, and prices range from Rs 49 to Rs 799.
Veena and Sudarshana also test the products themselves to ensure the quality. Everwards also makes a range of toiletries like scrubs, bath brushes and bottle cleaners from coir.
They also use dead cotton, which is the poorest quality and often discarded, to manufacture napkins and pouches. Other products include balms made from natural oils, and body bath salts, the New Indian Express reports.
In addition to these, Everwards India also manufactures menstrual cups made from BPA-free medical grade silicone priced at Rs 590. Bisphenol A or BPA, is used in several plastic products and is known to cause several side-effects.
In an interview with NDTV, Veena said,
Even if there were affordable, sustainable products, they were neither accessible, nor relatable. For instance, if you will ask millennials to use a neem stick in place of a toothbrush, they won’t. Hence, an eco-friendly alternative to plastic needs to be affordable, accessible and relatable. With this mantra, Everwards was born.
Veena and Sudarshana use coffee grounds to make coffee scrubs, scrap fabric to make drawstring bags and other necessary items. Also, coconut shells are used to make teacups, cutlery, and soap dishes.
“We repurpose and upcycle to reduce our carbon footprint. We pack all our personal care products in stainless steel or glass containers which can be reused in the household level,” the NDTV report quoted Veena.
The two also conduct a week-long workshop - ‘Experience zero-waste living’.