Making News, Not Waste II

5 Oct

The journey continues. As mentioned, we were given an opportunity to salvage some waste heading for a landfill, after a Commonwealth Games media event.

But our hopes were dampened by a freakish monsoonal downpour, drenching all the event banners before we could collect them.

Slightly demoralised and, well…wet, we headed home via some majorly waterlogged margs (streets)…

Autosurfing down Delhi Margs

Auto-surfing along South Delhi's streets submerged in foot deep water

…had a cup of chai (or two, ok, make that three) then decided we’d still go for the event waste. A couple of days later Hindustan Times called to tell us where the event materials had been taken – a sorting depot on the outskirts of town.

We decided I should head down and see what was there. I had the address and one of those trusty Ambassador taxi cabs to ferry me there. Simple, right?

So we trundled off, Sukh Dev, my cab driver, assuring me he could navigate the flooded roads to our destination…

Taxi to the depot

Driving down to the depot (was trying for an arty shot of Sukh Dev, my cabbie, in the rear view mirror. Didn't quite work - sorry Sukh Dev)

…the trip was long; traversing down through South Delhi, into the lush green forested area on the outskirts of town. The roads became rougher as the view changed from concrete and steel to large farming estates with high walls and ornate gates. At last we stopped outside one of these establishments (the address I’d been given).

After several horn-tootin’ minutes, a man appeared at the gate, dripping wet and wearing only a dhoti (traditional loincloth, resembling baggy knee-length trousers). He and Sukh Dev engaged in conversation. My hindi’s pretty awful but here’s roughly what I think was said:

Sukh Dev: Hello. Madam is here to pick up some rubbish.

Man: I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about mate. You’re interrupting my shower. There’s no waste here and anyway why are bringing this loopy, white woman out here looking for trash?

After a few minutes the enterprising Sukh Dev decided I’d got the number wrong. He thought he’d seen an open gate a few hundred metres back so we rattled off to check it out (leaving the half-washed guard to scratch his head in wonder)…

Finally, after many chats with people on the street and feeling like we’d just about gone bush jungle, we found it!…

Arriving at the sorting depot

Arriving at the sorting depot

…the guys at the sorting depot had been instructed to keep the khadi (cotton) banners and had kindly started bundling up the mostly soggy, muddy materials for us…

Fabric banners at the sorting depot

Bundled fabric banners at the sorting depot

…unfortunately many were mouldy and beginning to smell. I was about to give up when I spied something jumbled up and gleaming white on the ground…Hellooooooo synthetic banners!…

PVC banners at the depot

PVC banners at the depot

…They were made of a vinyl – incredibly durable and easy to clean. After double air-punching and thanking the Gods (all of them) we managed to drag three of the banners back to the taxi – Sukh Dev even got in on the act.

Traversing back across town, through traffic snarls and peak hour craziness, we finally arrived at the Patparganj factory: I rushed into the office, mud-flecked clothes, breathless and babbling like a madwoman. The Conserve team came to view our haul…

Arrival at the factory

We made it! Arrival at the factory.

…We determined we could use the material and set the design process in motion…

Kickstarting the design conversation at Conserve India

Anita Ahuja, Conserve's Creative Director discussing design ideas with members of Conserve's sampling team

…What could we create? Could we get them done in time for showcasing during the Games? …Would I ever get my shoes clean? Stay with us, dear readers, and all will be revealed…


3 Responses to “Making News, Not Waste II”

  1. Nic October 5, 2010 at 3:07 pm #

    The plot thickens … love it!

  2. Jamie October 6, 2010 at 3:47 am #

    Awesome, well done Liz! Enjoying all your updates, keep it up! xx

    • Liz Franzmann October 6, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

      Hey thank you Nic and Jamie, am definitely following the joy…

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