• GOONJ PROJECT: Textile Recycling Initiative in New Delhi

    Aid, Fashion Design


    Short feature originally written for Inhabitat.com: June 21 2008.

    Turning one person’s waste into another person’s resource, the magnificent GOONJ project is setting a truly sustainable mindset in the heart of the Indian capital New Delhi.

    Taking the idea of recycling would be waste to a whole new level, the GOONJ project has become well established as a distribution network able to reach the poorest areas of India.

    Founded in 1998 by Ashoka Fellow Anshu Gupta, the GOONJ project collects unused clothing from all over India to then recycle the materials to provide clothes, sanitary and many other basic amenities to people living in poorer communities across the country.

    The 300+ volunteers and mass participation of housewives, professionals, schools, colleges, corporates, exporters, hotels and hospitals behind the recycling and distribution center help to send out over 20,000 kgs of recycled waste materials every single month! A vast network of more than 100 grassroots agencies is also helping GOONJ reach parts of 20 states of India.

    Recently declared Indian NGO of the Year, GOONJ has also won the prestigious Development Market place award from the World Bank on making a sanitary napkin out of waste cloth. The Global Oneness Project recently published a short documentary film about the GOONJ project, which wonderfully captures the essence of this inspirational and highly sustainable initiative.

    Copyright top image courtesy of GOONJ and The Global Oneness Project.

  • Don't get me wrong, I think it's great that GOONJ is doing something productive and useful and recycling creatively. I am a big fan of reduce, reuse, recycle. I love trees, I wash out my ziplock bags and reuse them, and enjoy my Bajaj scooter (and enjoy even more the 90 mpg). BUT, humans don't do things unless they have to. It's not until gas is skyrocketing in price, rippling into increases in food, water, electricity, and everything else in our lives, are people getting serious about conservation and other alternatives to fossil fuels. Chances are, it is finances with drive these types of behaviors.

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