Gallery: GOONJ PROJECT: Textile Recycling Initiative in New Delhi


Turning one person’s waste into another person’s resource, the magnificent GOONJ project is setting a truly sustainable mindset in the heart of the Indian capital New Delhi. Taking the idea of recycling would be waste to a whole new level, the GOONJ project has become well established as a distribution network able to reach the poorest areas of India.

Founded in 1998 by Ashoka Fellow Anshu Gupta, the GOONJ project collects unused clothing from all over India to then recycle the materials to provide clothes, sanitary and many other basic amenities to people living in poorer communities across the country.

The 300+ volunteers and mass participation of housewives, professionals, schools, colleges, corporates, exporters, hotels and hospitals behind the recycling and distribution center help to send out over 20,000 kgs of recycled waste materials every single month! A vast network of more than 100 grassroots agencies is also helping GOONJ reach parts of 20 states of India.

Recently declared Indian NGO of the Year, GOONJ has also won the prestigious Development Market place award from the World Bank on making a sanitary napkin out of waste cloth. The Global Oneness Project recently published a short documentary film about the GOONJ project, which wonderfully captures the essence of this inspirational and highly sustainable initiative.

+ Goonj
+ “Not Just a Piece of Cloth”: Video by Global Oneness Project
+ Goonj wins Indian NGO of the year award.
+ ABC News: World Bank Grants Hope

Copyright top image courtesy of The Global Oneness Project


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  1. Sunanda Khanna September 1, 2013 at 10:06 pm

    exceptional work………….would like to be part of it!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Chitra Srinivasan September 28, 2012 at 10:57 pm

    It is highly commendable that you are such a noble act for the society where in I would like to get some information. Iam Chitra Srinivasan who is CAS coordinator and working for JAMNABAI NARSEE SCHOOL> I would like to collect old clothes from my students and get it recycled into T shirts / etc and distribute to our adopted village LakhaniaKUTCH district in Gujarat. Can you please suggest a person to whom I should contact in Mumbai so that we can get it done by the end of NOVEMBER.
    Thanking you
    Yours truly
    Chitra Srinivasan
    CAS coordinator

  3. Anshu April 6, 2012 at 2:22 am

    Anshu wants to ask

    please give me some information for doing something for social cause .As it is a known fact that every work to start with needs money so for running an NGO at initial level also needs money for miscleanous expenses so from where the amount could be generated.

  4. Nitendra gaur April 3, 2012 at 7:59 am

    Dear Sir, I want to know more about recycling of old clothes. Can you help me? I want to start this as a business. Is this possible? Yes, please guide me….

  5. saurabh sarwate February 11, 2012 at 2:29 am

    i have more than used clothes i want to know how to recycle for above clothes

  6. yamini November 17, 2010 at 8:51 am

    iam doing a project on textile recycling. can u please help me with the information about reuse or recycling of shawls?

  7. Soap Lady September 19, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    This is an heartwarming concept, and only goes to show that ONE PERSON, with a good idea, who believes in the value of what he is doing, can create positive and lasting change, not to mention empowerment to women. Funny, why didn’t a woman think of this? In my years in textile rescue here in New York, I have never run across use of fabrics for one of the most basic personal needs: a menstrual napkin. Bravo and many thanks. We sisters here are inspired, good sir!

  8. aveek bhattacharya April 12, 2010 at 2:25 am

    This story is incredible.
    I am writing a paper on recycling old textiles in India.
    Can you help me with more information on this project

  9. Sonia Gomes August 29, 2008 at 7:17 am

    Yes I agree western clothes are not for our Indian women and Children, the over sized clothes are not for our small and medium sized frames, instead these could go to the needy in Nicaragua who have large frames and most importantly wear all types of western attire. I recently met a group of ladies from Nicaragua on an exchange pro gramme to India and all of them spoke for their need for clothes. If they could get good wearable clothes it would save them the funds needed for other things like food. Think about it
    Sonia Gomes

  10. span August 7, 2008 at 11:17 am

    I live in the US (New England region) and know of many friends who, like me, would love to ship their Indian/western outfits for such a worthy cause. Do you have any repositories or channels in place in the area that collect outfits to ship to India? Shippping costs are quite high. Any advice or leads will be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  11. Brunda Ganesh June 23, 2008 at 1:26 am

    I appreciate your point, being an Indian and having been involved in smaller scale projects such as Goonj I must admit it is something that I never thought of. I suppose it is because most of the time average urban Indians wears western styled clothing themselves, and when I give away stuff very few of it is really ethnic in the true sense.
    The many children running around in faded and oversized Hilfigers is something that you dont see in these photoes.
    But I guess sometimes cultural identity takes a back seat to the more basic needs in life.

  12. jeffgrantz June 22, 2008 at 10:01 am

    It is obvious that this organization serves a very useful purpose and that the clothes are both needed and appreciated I am sure by the people who receive them. This will perhaps sound very negative, but does anyone besides myself think that there might perhaps as well be some downside to sending piles of used and very western styled clothes from the 90’s to India?
    I look at the photographs of these beautifully adorned women with their silk clothes and vibrant colors which have for a thousand years been an integral part of their culture and I can’t help but wonder if this service won’t assist somehow in contaminating an important aspect of their cultural identity over time?

  13. Mahesh Basantani June 21, 2008 at 9:16 am

    This is really an interesting and useful initiative.

  14. krishaamer June 21, 2008 at 6:04 am

    That is awesome! The pictures are very nice too.

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