From trash to treasure

From trash to treasure

In a quiet corner of an alley lies a flower upcycling unit housed in a community hall of the GWMC, behind the AVV College, one of the oldest...

Warangal: In a quiet corner of an alley lies a flower upcycling unit housed in a community hall of the GWMC, behind the AVV College, one of the oldest institutions in Warangal city.

But for the occasional wind carrying the aroma of flowers, the passersby seldom notice that the cranky two-storied building is indeed an exemplum of 15 determined women's grit.

Their work is to make is something out of nothing – turning flower waste into dhoop (incense) sticks. It's nothing an out of the box idea but makes jobless dudes think twice instead of complaining lack of opportunities to make a living.

Thanks to the efforts of the Greater Warangal Municipal Corporation (GWMC). It all started around Deepawali, the festival of lights, when the GWMC came forward to extend its helping hand along with the Mission for Elimination of Poverty in Municipal Areas (MEPMA) to a group of women, known as Adarsha town level federation (TLF) to set up a dhoop stick manufacturing unit.

The authorities roped in the service of a Nagpur-based Jithender who has expertise in converting flower waste into incense sticks. It took just two days for the women group

Buttressing the fact that women's affinity towards flowers is inseparable, these women looked like a happy bunch when The Hans India made a visit to the workplace where incense sticks are rolled.

"Procuring floral discard is half the job done. The process begins to transform the floral waste with members segregating flowers species-wise. It follows weeding out stems, sepals, threads and plastics from garlands before drying them," Nagapuri Padmavathi, one of the core team members, said.

Then the petal heap is kneaded into dough so that to roll into incense sticks, Palleboina Anitha, the other member of the team, said, pointing to the pulverising mill with which they ground the dried out petals.

The dough will be mixed with sandalwood, loban and binding powders, Kandi Laxmi said, claiming that the Bhadrakali Dhoop Sticks they manufacture are made of eco-friendly ingredients.

"We also make diyas and dhoop stick stands with the flower waste," Gundepaka Vijayalaxmi said. As of now, the team is procuring roses, marigold and chrysanthemum from flower market.

In the words of previous Municipal Commissioner N Ravi Kiran, who was instrumental behind setting up the dhoop stick manufacturing unit, - "It's a win-win situation.

Converting flower waste into incense sticks not only provides livelihood to a few people but it also reduces water pollution. Not many people are aware of the fact that though flower waste is biodegradable it pollutes water ecosystem."

MEPMA Town Project Officer (TPO) M Vijayalaxmi says, "Inspired by the Ganges cleaning project that campaigned against the release of ritualistic waste, especially flowers, to the river, and the flower waste management through using it for producing incense sticks, the previous Municipal Commissioner N Ravi Kiran wanted to turn flower waste a source of income."

While, the Adarsha TLF on its own procured required infrastructure that costs around Rs 1.50 lakh, the MEPMA provided training free of cost to the members besides offering a community hall to set up the manufacturing unit, she said.

In future, we have plans to expand the TLF's activities to produce eco-friendly Ganesh idols, paper bags and mosquito repellents, Vijayalaxmi said.

"Although we have made dhoop sticks, divas and stands made available at our outlet on the premises of MEPMA Office. We have plans to make these products available in all malls," she said, referring to the marketing potential and facilities. A pack of 12 dhoop sticks and a stand is priced at Rs 35.

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