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Visit us at IHGF Spring 2013 at Stall F6/11 between the 8th to 11th of February 2013.


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About Projects Materials The Team News Conserve and
Conserve Near You

  The Team  
  Conserve The Founders
Anita and Shalabh Ahuja founded Conserve India as an NGO to recycle the waste in their neighbourhood that wasn't being managed by local authorities. They quickly realised that plastic bags pose the biggest problem, not only because there are so many of them but also because they could not be recycled locally. After much experimentation the team at Conserve India realised that the solution lay in upcycling the bags into sheets of plastic that could be reinvented as fashion accessories. They named this material Handmade Recycled Plastic.

Shalabh and Anita combined his expertise in engineering and her creative talents to get the most out of their solution to this huge problem. As well as cleaning Delhi's streets, they have worked to provide hundreds of jobs for some of the poorest people living in their city. The income they generate by selling products made from Handmade Recycled Plastic, is then spent on social welfare projects.

Today they continue to realise their vision. Conserve India bags are being sold around the world. The proceeds of this work are put to good use. Firstly, better wages for Conserve employees - a ragpicker collecting bags for Conserve earns on average three times more selling to us than they would earn elsewhere. Secondly, training opportunities for all staff at Conserve India so that they can get more skilled jobs either within the organisation or elsewhere. Thirdly, a school in the slum where many of the ragpickers we work with live. Finally, loans for Conserve workers to develop their own start-up businesses, and most recently a health clinic for the entire workforce.

  Conserve Waste collectors
Santosh Kumar started collecting plastic bags for Conserve India because he can earn three times as much selling his bags to be made into Handmade Recycled Plastic instead of selling the rubbish he collects elsewhere.

Delhi produces around 8,000 tonnes of waste every day, but the local authorities only have the capacity to collect half that amount. So Ragpickers like Santos perform the valuable work of collecting, sorting, and where possible selling for reuse or recycling, the remaining waste.

Ragpickers say that they enjoy working for Conserve because it means that often for the first time in their lives they have the extra money they need to properly feed their families and rent homes that they can be proud of. On average, a Conserve Ragpicker will earn around $70 a month, and spend around $30 a month on rent.

Ragpickers are self employed, and because of this it has often been hard for them to organise effectively to protect their rights.  By giving them Conserve employee identity cards and encouraging them to organise into groups that they run themselves, Conserve India helps them to have a more stable and secure income.

Because Conserve India is committed to promoting from within the organisation, many of those who started with us as unskilled ragpickers have taken the training opportunities we offer and now work in other parts of the business, such as our manufacturing workshops or offices.

  Conserve Manufacturing staff
Bharti is a model Conserve employee.  She has been working for Conserve India from the start and has done many jobs with us.  Today she works in one of the most important departments of the whole organisation; quality control and packing.  It is Bharti and her closest colleagues who ensure that every Conserve product is made to the highest standards and that every order leaves the factory with exactly what the customer ordered. 

Bharti has also learnt to speak excellent English, and so has been entrusted with representing Conserve at the many Melas (fairs) that are held in Delhi before festivals like  Divali and Christmas.  She takes a selection of Conserve's latest products to these events and is currently the only person in the organisation who sells directly to consumers.

As if that wasn't enough, Bharti has volunteered to help out in the health clinic which we recently started for all Conserve workers.  She spends one or two days a week translating between her colleagues and the English speaking doctor who set up the clinic.  

We are proud of what Bharti has achieved whilst working for Conserve India.  She is the proof that every opportunity is open to our employees. 

  Conserve Office staff
Alka and Aditi are the heart of Conserve India's front of house commercial operations.  If you are placing an order with us or perfecting a design, you will most likely be speaking to either Alka or Aditi. 

Working as Anita's right hands they regularly meet buyers and collaborate with designers, as well as maintaining relationships with our long standing clients, and establishing new contacts with potential customers. 

Because of her specific skills as a manager in export businesses, Alka was one of our first employees to be hired externally, and her experience is already benefitting the organisation. 

Having started as the personal assistant to our purchasing and design coordinator, Aditi has now taken on this job herself.  Her dedication and energy mean that no demand,  either from designer or buyer, is too great.

  Conserve

Conserve

Interns
Conserve India believes strongly in giving opportunities to those who are starting out in their professional lives or who want to contribute to the work that we are doing.  Our faith in their abilities has been repaid many times over.  From the idea of upcycling plastic bags into sheets to the organising of our first production methods and the design of our showroom, interns have always been an extremely important part of our work.  

We have on-going relationships with many design colleges and love giving budding designers their first chance to conceive products for a commercial market.  Proving that talent knows no age limits, some of our most popular bags were created by young designers who hadn't even finished their studies.

Every part of Conserve India, including our new health clinic and the creation of this website, has been profoundly helped by our interns, and we are eternally grateful to them for their efforts. 

 

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