A housewife from Dashipur village in Odisha’s Kendrapada district, has been making beautiful baskets, pen stands, cellphone stands, flowers, animals and other items using waste materials for the past two years.
She collects used polythene, plastic covers for food packets, cigarette cases and other waste materials and converts those into beautiful items.
“Plastic items harm the environment. So I wanted to use them in a productive way. Every day I collect polythene, plastic packets and other waste materials from the garbage dumps and recycle those appropriately. Earlier, villagers used to think that I was a rag-picker, but now they purchase items from me after I started making bags, pen stands, baskets and other items. Many village women and girls come to me and say they also want to work with me,” said Bilasini, a mother of two sons.
As Bilasini’s gnarled but dexterous fingers make a basket using the used polythene, there is a look of satisfaction on her face. She says she can make up to three baskets within six hours.
“I learnt this craft a couple of years ago and since then I have been making and selling recycled crafts. Lack of proper marketing remains a problem for our work because of the presence of middlemen. I sell a recycled basket to the middlemen at Rs 100 only, but they sell it in the market at Rs 150 to Rs 200. My husband helps me in this work. Both my sons work as plumbers in Mumbai,” Bilasini said, adding that the demand for the craft has gone up.
The district project manager of Odisha Livelihood Mission, Dr Pushpashree Nayak, said, “We will form an self help group in Dashipur village to promote Bilasini’s craft.”