Eco Mithra focuses on reducing the usage of single-use plastic bags by replacing them with cloth bags recycled from the ones that are beyond normal wearing conditions. Founders of this sustainable initiative, Sumithra Sekar and Shreekanth Murali, talk about the project.
“One of the founders of Australia-based Boomerang Bags, Tania Potts, is a close friend of mine. They aim to reduce the use of plastic bags by providing sustainable alternatives. One day, while discussing the increase in the usage of single-use plastic bags in India, she proposed the idea of starting a similar enterprise. Single-use plastic bags are a huge threat to the environment and it’s high time we banned it in our country. They are also getting piled up in landfills, drains, streets, oceans, etc and its impact is scary. Being aware of it, we couldn’t be quiet and decided to do something on our own. That’s how Eco Mithra was born. Through this we are reviving the habit of carrying your own bag,” says Sumithra, one of the co-founders.
Eco Mithra makes cloth bags out of old, unusable or tattered clothes that are often dumped or thrown away in landfills as an alternative to plastic carry bags. “This way we could recycle old clothes and thereby cut down on the number of resources needed to produce new clothing. We collect sarees, blankets, dupattas, curtains, dhotis, lungis and fabric waste from factories and hand them over to self-help groups who stitches for us,” she adds.
Currently, they are making bags that can hold up to 5 kg and 3 kg. “We had a stall at the recently held Kuppai Thiruvizha , a zero-waste fest, at Perambur. The response was amazing and we had a lot of buyers for our 3 kg bags. We have tied up with a couple of apartment complexes to sell the cloth bags. Also, people are getting in touch through our social media page,” says Shreekanth.
Not only bags, they also make mini dolls and mats out of old clothes. “We are willing to teach how to stitch cloth bags to anyone who wants to invest time in making cloth bags, earning money and in the process saving our environment,” he says. They are planning to conduct workshops in schools and colleges to raise awareness of plastic hazards. “We are also in touch with various organisations and textile companies to help us collect clothes instead of throwing them into landfills,” says Shreekanth.