Saahas Zero Waste was a talk given by Ms. Astha Khubele on 05th May 2021 as part of JD Institute’s 3Cs’ outreach program that is aimed at providing students with a holistic understanding of design education beyond classroom learning and in facilitating an updated understanding of the contemporary context of design industries. Ms. Khubele is Senior Product Manager of Circular Design and Solutions at Saahas Zero Waste, a socio-environmental enterprise that is guided by the principles of circular economy and its commitment to Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), that collects and processes waste from the city of Bengaluru. The talk which happened in the form of a webinar was the fifth session conducted under the weekly-held CONV. Conversations series of the 3Cs’ program. The talk which is open to all students, faculty and staff is a one-hour session that is followed by a 10-minute interactive Q&A.
The webinar saw Ms. Khubele giving an introduction about her personal design journey and what inspired her to delve into sustainability and waste management issues. Quoting Tony Fry’s ‘Does what we create justify what we destroy?’ as the inspiration behind her transition into conscientious product development, she encouraged the students to question the relevance of their work in the current context and to be critical about their work. She asked them if we need to create work that only adds to waste generation and not provide a solution. Reflecting upon the waste generated by the apparel and textile industries, Ms. Khubele discussed the environmental as well as social impact of waste. Sharing her work at Saahas Zero Waste, she explained her role in Product – Service – Solution, where ‘Product’ is the space where existing waste is converted to ‘new’ reusable products in order to extend the life span of ‘waste’, ’Service’ is the aspect of waste management strategies, and ‘Solution’ is the provision of innovative solutions to manage waste and to close the ‘loop’ in circular economy. Ms. Khubele also discussed the various ways in which we can contribute to the cycle of effective waste management such as through the establishment of a formal waste management system, community awareness, policy making and effective use of raw materials. Ms. Khubele also shared the work of ‘Circle Up’, a brand by Saahas Zero Waste which creates products from pre and post-consumer waste.
The talk Saahas Zero Waste concluded with a Q&A session where the students interacted with the speaker regarding the working of sustainable waste management, effective strategies for attaining circular economy as well as the attitude that one needs to have when approaching waste and its management. The insightful session which inspired the students to reconsider the ways in which they use raw materials and manage waste enabled them to get an understanding of their contribution to design and using it as a medium of change. Through the outreach program, JD Institute provides students to develop their understanding and knowledge from industry experts and professionals enabling them to gain a deep understanding of their work and the role of their design practice.