It’s not often that manufacturing companies are overly concerned with the environmental impact of their excessive waste, but one of India’s largest manufacturing conglomerates, Godrej & Boyce, is shrewdly turning theirs into a fashion-forward gold mine. Under the initiative Punah Project, the company has created a circular economy by converting their industrial waste into swanky new products like metal shoes and handbags, which were recently on display at Tent London during London Design Festival.
It’s estimated that Godrej & Boyce industries generate approximately 18,505 tonnes of waste materials annually, all of which have previously gone straight into landfills and incinerators. This process is not only damaging to the environment, but also a complete misuse of potential materials.
Focusing on “re-thinking the definition of waste and the use of waste materials”, the Punah Project team has created a sustainable manufacturing process that separates waste into six categories of recyclables: oils, metals, wood, chemical, paper, and electronic materials. The potential value of each material is evaluated based on its natural properties and versatility. A variety of new products are then created using as little energy as possible. The results, which were recently on display at the London Design Festival, include fashion-forward items like kicky metal shoes and hand clutches made with leftover metal crimping pieces.
Mr. Hemmant Jha, Chief Design Officer, Godrej & Boyce, said the company’s zero-waste process not only works to reduce waste in landfills, but also benefits local economies. He added: “As initiators of The Punah Project, we are focusing on developing alternative applications for non-hazardous industrial waste through material design and research. We aim to adopt a zero-waste policy across all the Godrej & Boyce manufacturing sites. We are happy to have displayed the applications that are a result of our extensive research on over 600 materials and several collaborations with different manufacturing teams at Godrej & Boyce as well as skilled craftsmen and designers across India.”