Meet 66-year-old Riya Maker who upcycles plastic by making beautiful bags and clutches
It's never too late to start doing what you strongly believe in. Rita Maker (66) exemplifies this. She has started an initiative to make this world a little “greener” by upcycling plastic items we use every day.
Rita upcycles plastic bags into beautiful products for daily use. It doesn’t end there. To make sure that others upcycle plastic items, Rita started uploading her videos on YouTube. Besides this, she also gives away the items she makes to relatives, friends, and neighbours for free.
Riya Maker, (Image: Indian Women Blog)
Her intention behind this initiative is pretty simple. She wants to make people understand the importance of upcycling, reusing, and waste management. Till date, Rita has made around 45 bags and clutches, each using 400 to 500 units of plastic. However, she has no plans of selling any of her creations.
Speaking to NDTV, Rita said,
“I always wanted to do something for the environment but wasn’t sure where to start. I also expressed the wish of doing something with my daughter Rachita, and she jokingly said, ‘Mother, no one can do anything for the environment by sitting at home.’ And soon after that, I came across a video on the internet in which women were making mats from plastic shopping bags. That was it, I was immediately inspired to do something like this. That was the start of my upcycling journey.”
various things made from up cycling plastic, (Image: NDTV)
So how did it all start? Well, like most people today who look to YouTube for inspiration, Rita did the same. Motivated by a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) video, she started her journey of making bags out of plastic.
The plastic in Rita’s home is segregated into different grades of ranging from hard to soft and delicate.
Explaining further, she said,
“As a first step, plastic bags or packaging needs to be cut from both the ends so that you have an open cylindrical shape left with you. Next, you start cutting this into smaller pieces and then start joining them in a chain format. Voila! Now, as per the design of your choice, you can give shape to these waste plastic bags or packaging”, reports NDTV.
For instance, Rita made a plastic square shape model and after its completion, she stitched the three ends of the square together and added Velcro (velcro) at the fourth end. Now, this upcycled product is being used by Rita’s daughter to carry her lunch box to her school.
Riya making a bag herself from plastic items (Image: NDTV)
Starting from making bags, which were distributed to service staff in a residential complex, Rita went on to make clutches, bags, baskets, and tea coasters. To get an extra hand, Rita employed her former helper as her assistant, reports Indian Women Blog.
When asked about her business model, Rita said,
“I’m not doing any of this for money. This is my initiative to save the environment from the mass burden of plastic bags – which one gets in almost every purchase. I just hope that there are more people who can get inspired from my videos and start doing their bit for the environment, signs off Rita Maker”, reports NDTV.