We make products out of the worst type of plastic waste while empowering waste-pickers.
We Recycle Packets of Chips
Not just packets of chips, but we recycle all kinds of post-consumer “impossible-to-recycle” multi-layered plastic packaging (MLP) – think chocolate wrappers, milk packets, essentially any flexible packaging.
Globally, 0% of this is recycled and it makes up 80% of all leakages into the ocean. It contains 3-5 different types of materials, is volumnious and inconsistent, and it all just ends up in landfills and the oceans. It’s the worst. But we’ve found a way.
We have spent the last two years working hard in a lab here in Pune and found a way to not merely recycle it, but to reinvigorate it. We chemo-mechanically extract materials from this crappy waste using our patent-pending technology and convert them into sunglasses (and coasters).
Here are the former wastepickers / informal workers who helped make your sunglasses:
Jayshri is the first informal worker we employed at Ashaya. Her monthly income has increased 3x after she started working here. She also has a salaried working bank account now where
Her husband ran away many years ago, and she now supports her daughter who’s in school, and her mother.
At Ashaya, she’s helps with shredding, washing and early processing of waste.
Rani, a single mother of three, began working at Ashaya in October 2022, before which she was an independent waste picker. After joining Ashaya, her hourly wage has increased by 2.25x and she now gets more time with her kids in the morning.
She is the sole earning member of the family after her husband’s death in 2016.
At Ashaya, she’s also helps with shredding, washing and early processing of waste, along with polishing and post processing of our products.
Sandya joined us in January 2023. After joining us, her monthly income has increased by 2.4x.
In the afternoons, she continues working as a waste collector, but times are tough as the big corporate company she picks up waste from is threatening to replace her and her colleagues with a different waste collection company.
At Ashaya, she’s helps with polishing and post processing of our products, and keeps our micro-manufacturing-unit habitable.
Datta had been unemployed for over 6 months before he joined us. He comes from a family of waste-pickers with her mother working as one for all her life.
At Ashaya, he helps with the extrusion process and with setting up the patented chemical reaction which helps us process packets of chips.
They all have part-time contracts here at Ashaya, just like all our other part-time folks. We just add an appendix that contains a Hindi translation. Most of them can’t really read, but their kids can. They don’t have email addresses, so we give them printed copies of their monthly payslips.
And this is just the beginning of our social impact, we still have a long way to go.
Your waste was sourced from the Kashtachi Kamai Scrapshop in the Nana Peth area in Pimpri, Pune, India.
There are about 12-14 ladies who collectively own this scrapshop. They are a part of the wastepicker collectives KKPKP & SWaCH Cooperative where the ladies owning the scrapshop decide how profits get spent. They elect their leaders and look out for each other. They collect their waste both from the streets and from larger corporations.
They collect MLP or packets of chips just for us, because no one else buys it from them. We, on the other hand, pay them a premium for it.
10% of our sales go towards the education of children of wastepickers.
We are working with KKPKP & SWaCH Cooperative to ensure that 10% of our sales go towards keeping the children of waste-pickers in school.
Specifically, they have a sponsorship program to encourage children to stay in school, by rewarding students that complete the academic year. The eligibility for sponsorships is usually determined by the source of funds – for example, one specifically supports orphaned children, one supports girls, or simply merit based, etc
The sponsorship amounts per student are as follows:
And to go the extra mile, we:
We are truly impact-first with wastepickers at the heart of our work.
We have even legally amended our MOAs to bind us to our impact.
So, when you wear these sunglasses, you’re not just wearing sunglasses, you’re wearing change.
Wear them without any worries, as we build a world without waste.