Recycled Treasures – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KOCHI: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. A bottle you throw away after drinking it is something Saritha would treasure. Because for her, trash is art waiting to fulfill its destiny. When she dabs them with paint, the discarded bottles and pieces of cardboard become wall decorations. On her shelf at home, there are more than fifty bottles that she picked up on the side of the road, all ready to be transformed into magnificent decorative pieces. Saritha is all about upcycling which breathes new life into old things.

It all started during the pandemic. With a master’s degree in electronics, Saritha was far from the art world. Even as a child, she barely drew or painted. When the pandemic and lockdown hit, as she bustled around the house, her five-year-old’s art supplies caught her eye. She started splashing around with them, trying to paint. “I didn’t even know how to hold the paintbrush, let alone paint or mix colors. But I continued because I enjoyed the process. I relied on YouTube for painting tutorials,” Saritha recalls.

But it wasn’t until later that she started painting on discarded bottles and objects. One day, she was driving home and noticed a pile of used liquor bottles dumped on the side of the road. “They were nice bottles but they were all dirty. I put them all together and that’s how the journey began,” says Saritha.

She prints Theyyam or Radha Krisha wall art designs on these bottles to turn them into decorative pieces. Every time she goes out, Saritha is looking for bottles to use. Except for a few used bottles that her friends donated, all the others were collected from the roadside, Saritha says. “When I started, I couldn’t even identify the different types of liquor bottles. Now I pay close attention to the shape of the bottles,” says Saritha, a native of Thrissur living in Edappally, Kochi.

Saritha takes orders via Instagram. Each finished bottle costs around Rs 200 to J 2000. Wall art bottles are the most expensive. Saritha’s dream is to open a shop that sells recycled items. “Each of us can help reduce waste by recycling the waste we throw away. One bottle might not make a big difference, but if all of us got involved, the world would be a better place to live,” says Saritha.

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