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ConserveRecognition for Ragpickers
Despite their vital work managing and recycling 20% of the city's waste, Delhi's 150,000 ragpickers are not recognised as being legitimately self-employed.  Conserve India is calling for a an official register of Ragpickers in an attempt to give them the respect that their difficult work deserves. 

At Conserve India we have two aims – combatting pollution at the same time as helping the least advantaged – those who suffer first and worst when the environment is abused.  This is why we respect the ragpickers who bring us waste, and pay them about three times more for what they collect than they would receive elsewhere.  We believe that if a small organisation like ours, which reinvests its profits into improving local communities, can respect and support ragpickers, then everyone can.

Without an official register, there will always be ragpickers who don't get the legitimacy that they need.  Bringing some stability and structure to the profession is also an important step towards supporting ragpickers and educating them, for example, about market rates for the waste they collect and how to handle it properly, so that they can work safely and for a fair price.

The introduction of a register for ragpickers will take significant political will.  Please join us in calling on Delhi's government to recognise ragpickers and their right to a fair wage. 

 
 

Best MagazineSelling in India
When we started the business side of Conserve India we decided that our products would be a better fit in European, American, and Australasian markets than in the Indian domestic market.  Partly this was a pragmatic choice – exporting and selling abroad meant that we were in higher value markets and could earn more from our bags to then re-invest in education and welfare projects for our workers. 

However, we had also learnt that there would be resistance in India to wearing what was once rubbish as high fashion.  The materials we use come from rubbish dumps and factory waste piles.  It is perhaps understandable that in a country which is striving so hard to clean itself up, many people are resistant to wearing waste as fashion, however much it is washed and turned into trendy designs. 

But attitudes are starting to change.  Indians, we believe, are starting to look to their positive futures instead of trying to escape from the country's difficult past.  More and more, Indians understand the importance of preserving as much of the world's resources as possible, and want to make the statement that they care about the environment.  We believe that this is the perfect opportunity for Conserve India to launch in its home market, and so we are looking to open our first shop in Delhi, which will be staffed by local people, many of whom will have started at Conserve as rag pickers. 

 

New factory
As Conserve's bags and accessories continue to do well abroad and we enter the Indian market, we decided it was time to expand – offering more jobs to people who desperately need them and increasing our capacity.  This means moving from our current rented office/workshop into our own purpose built factory.  This is an exciting time for us but there is a lot of work to be done to make it a reality – keep an eye on these pages for updates. 

 

 

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