In the bustling city of Bengaluru, where urban growth and development often takes center stage, a silent revolution is underway. An increasing number of individuals have emerged as passionate advocates for sustainability, devoting their time, energy and resources to driving positive change within their communities. From eco-entrepreneurs to e-waste artists, these individuals have acknowledged the urgent need to protect the environment and promote sustainable practices in the city. Through their unwavering commitment, innovative ideas and tireless efforts, they are redefining the way we live, work and interact with our surroundings.They address diverse aspects of sustainability such as waste management,sustainable fashion and food, even more.
Mridula Joshi runs Ullisu (meaning ‘save’ in Kannada), an online platform that promotes reducing waste generation. Apart from being a marketplace for sustainable products and brands, the platform also helps people transition to a zero-waste lifestyle. Ullisu has also collaborated with another sustainability organization, Wasted 360 Solutions, for a physical location in Indiranagar that serves as a marketplace for zero-waste products, a thrift store, and a waste collection center.
Mridula’s sustainability journey began six years ago when she worked as a designer after graduating from the National Institute of Fashion Technology in 2017. Inspired by minimalism, he tried to change the way he lived. The idea of a ‘zero-waste lifestyle’ appeals to him. “Within a year, the amount of garbage I generated was so low that it would go just once every six months.”
She wants Ullisu to be the go-to destination for people seeking guidance on zero-waste. “We already consult corporates and individuals on this. We would like to increase this in the coming years. In India, people are still reluctant to pay for permanent services. So, we’re still figuring out how to grow. ,
To learn more, follow Ullisu’s Instagram page (ullisu.official)
Upon a cursory glance at a tiny thumbnail of a recreation of Vishwanath Mallabadi’s Vincent van Gogh masterpiece, Starry Night, you might think it’s a modest replica of the iconic painting. A closer look will immediately reveal the ingenuity of the entertainer. For, the painting’s colorful blue swirls of the night sky, the glowing yellow crescent moon, and the stars (represented as radiating orbs) are all made from discarded resistors! And this is just one of Vishwanath’s over 600 artefacts made from e-waste.
Art has always been a part of his life as his father, the late DM Shambhu, was a painter and sculptor. He found the interior of electronic equipment fascinating. These two interests inspired him to create art out of electronic trash. Although Vishwanath saw it as a purely artistic endeavour, he gradually realized its environmental impact.
Vishwanath, however, believes that sustainability cannot be just an individual responsibility. According to a United Nations report, more than 53 million tonnes of e-waste was generated worldwide in 2019. What if all this trash could be turned into art? “The government spends a lot on statues, souvenirs and souvenirs. All of this can be made from e-waste, thereby reducing the allocation of substantial resources to traditional materials such as wood or plastic.
To know more, follow Vishwanath Mallabadi on Instagram (the.upcycle.store)
Everything starts from home and in a small way. This is what comes to mind when you talk to Vani Murthy.
Vani, who is a homemaker, says visiting the landfill with her friends was a turning point in her life. “The amount of waste in and around Bengaluru and what it was doing to the environment was scary. We started campaigning on social media in 2007 to make people aware about it.”
“The idea was to tell them to say no to landfills and segregate waste at home. Sixty percent of the waste comes from your kitchen, which you can compost. So we started conducting workshops to teach composing to people.”
To promote waste segregation, his group launched a campaign called Two Bins, One Bag, encouraging people to have three separate bins: blue (dry waste), green (wet waste), and red (biomedical waste). “Actually, it was our group, turntable, which got a court order for waste segregation,” she says.
His group also started the Clean Planet campaign, encouraging people to start composting. “Once they start composting, later they can make their own soil and grow their own pesticide-free food on their balconies and terraces. Once you start growing your own food, it changes your lifestyle.”
To know more, follow Vani Murthy on Instagram (Varmarani).
“Today fashion is going out of fashion. How do we keep up? asks personal stylist Meghana Khanna, who runs The Preloved Company, a Bengaluru-based thrift store, who she believes is the best way to find your style and stick to it. Thrifting, she says, is a great way to break away from the homogenous ideas of style that fast fashion often imposes. “Our collection (online or at the pop-up) is highly curated. I personally sift through it and handpick only the good stuff.” Meghna says.
While Meghna, who runs the Levitate boutique in Indiranagar, had already adopted a sustainable production methodology, she realized it was about new products coming into the space. “The pandemic made me realize that we have a lot more in common than any generation before us.”
Around the same time, her friend Mariyam Baig, who started Preloved in 2017, switched paths professionally. “Hence, I take over from him in 2021,” says Meghna, who hopes to take Preloved to corporates and IT parks “to give her an idea of what it could be.”
She says that frugality is not about money but a mindset and conversation. “This is an evolving space, and we want to take this conversation forward.”
To learn more, follow The Preloved Company’s Instagram page (the.preloved.co)
Elizabeth York, a chef and sustainability advocate, is turning the tide of food waste with her company Saving Grains. Harnessing the power of upcycling, she wants to breathe new life into spent grain, which is a byproduct of beer making, and change the way communities consume food and sustainably.
During a 2016 internship with William Rubell, a renowned food historian and author Bread: A Global HistoryElizabeth explores the historical association between brewers and bakers. They shared common ingredients such as grain, yeast and water. Bakers provided leftover bread to brewers for fermentation, while brewers provided grain and yeast to bakers to make bread. This connection inspired her next steps in Bengaluru.
Geist Brewing Co. And in collaboration with Biergarten, they turned malted grains into consumables rich in fiber and protein. From pasta, crackers and brownies to granola and cookies, their creations not only reduce waste but also provide a nutritious option.
He installed his first micro-upcycling kitchen prototype at a community center called Kutumba in Doddagubbi. Here, community members receive flour from the saved grain that is turned into Chapati for consumption or sale.
“We also organize cooking and baking classes at Kutumba, and it is really heartening to see such a diverse audience who are eager to learn,” she shares.
“We want to build an ecosystem around recycling food, in which everyone involved plays an important role,” she says. Its collaborative model engages community centers, breweries and other stakeholders to create a comprehensive approach to waste reduction and community empowerment.
To learn more, follow Saving Grains (SavingGrain) on Instagram