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One woman teaching "Material Literacy" for better tomorrow

Feb 21st, 2020 | Shubhi Sachan

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Material Library of India

I, Shubhi Sachan call myself Sustainable Materials and Systems Designer.
Elaborating further on that, I have been working with Industrial and Agricultural waste from the past
8-9 years. I have founded Jambudweep and Material Library of India.  Jambudweep is a fashion and accessory brand focuses on making and selling products from waste materials. Whereas Material Library of India is a platform for students/corporates and startups to develop their understanding of materials, while finding alternate materials to substitute there conventional and environmentally taxing materials. While providing these solutions to grown-ups and industry-based problems, at MLI we also design curriculum and workshops for schools and colleges, in an effort to sensitize students towards materials and bring conscious consumption in a play of each individual from a very early age.


India has a rich tradition of recyclcing

My practice is focused on investigating the supply chains and eventually making waste materials come to life again — the rebirth of materials that were once exiled to towering landfills or incinerators. The advent of the mining industry in the industrial era brought about an obsession with virgin materials. Industries see raw material go into powerful machines that turn them into shiny new products, turning a blind eye to the little pieces of industrial scrap produced with each manufacturing operation. Not only is this catastrophic for the environment but large quantities of materials that require highly sophisticated processes, copious amounts of energy and resources for manufacturing in the first place, are wasted.

The Indian subcontinent has a rich tradition of recycling. This largely informal sector collects and segregates profuse amounts of industrial waste on a daily basis. Many of the materials we regard as waste have the potential to become raw materials for new products and processes. My projects are focused on rethinking the use of industrial waste materials by combining the knowledge & skills of traditional crafts with modern materials. In one process, the sophistication of traditional craft is capable of turning the most unrelenting of materials into fluid surfaces through complex weaves. Many similar projects can use creative processes for enabling such an organic transformation of industrial waste into usable products.


Every waste has a story

So far projects material findings/products aim to generate and sustain a dialogue about the latent value in industrial waste materials that can be harvested through traditional crafts.


Designed using non-hazardous materials, it explores these materials through objects that resonate with various aspects of our day-to-day lives. From furniture to lifestyle accessories, fashionable garments to technical complex intricate surfaces, these materials will be a glimpse into a handcrafted world of industrial waste.


Conscious consumption and impact of our choices

The current need of the hour demands the subject of materials be taken very seriously and we should be material literate. Materials we touch feel and interact with every day - we need to know them better in order to put them to purpose better and in order to realize their worth. Material Literacy as a subject teaches students and professionals of every stage about conscious consumption and the impact of their everyday choices on the planet.

Before too soon, when our natural resources become scarce & waste accumulation reaches a tipping point, waste streams will become the future quarries for mining materials. 

The author of the story is Shubhi Sachan and you can know more about her at

InwasteR is only a platform to share WaStory and the views and experience are purely of the author.

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