Altereco is an idea to promote sustainable behavior through the medium of upcycled products, created out of waste and made by hand.
By using waste, we avoid bringing new materials into the economy, as well as avoid existing materials being disposed off after use.
By handcrafting, we realize the potential of human energy as renewable energy and create opportunities for individuals from low-income and disadvantaged communities to access sustainable livelihoods. We realize this through our partnerships with NGOs that work with these communities.
Just the way nature intended no waste – everything goes back and creates something else. There is a need to build systems that create for longevity and reuse. Altereco is our effort to realize this.
The narrative of "is it easier, faster, cheaper?" needs to change. Partner with us to adopt the new narrative:
"is it responsible, respectful, sustainable?"
Altereco was created from the deep belief that it is possible to achieve economic viability while safeguarding the environment and providing livelihood opportunities to individuals from low-income communities. Environmental conservation and reducing inequalities are the two pillars on which our social enterprise is built. It is the core of why, what and how we do.
Our work is aligned with the UN SDGs and contributes to 13 of the 17 goals, however the main goals that we work towards are:
Decent work and
Responsible production and consumption
Creating livelihoods for individuals from low-income communities
Empowering differently-abled artisans & women
Preserving traditional crafts
Creating awareness about sustainability, zero-waste and upcycling
Zero or close-to-zero emissions in production
Using waste as raw material
Supporting and partnering organisations to create awareness about environmental challenges
Engaging customers with a sustainability narrative
Fair wage employment
Economic growth through equal opportunity
Driving sustainable trade and developing a market for such goods
Building a circular economy
1992 – School for Children with Disability
2000 – Skill Development Centre for Young Adults
2004 – Launch of flower recycling program
2015 – Large scale skill development of people with disability
Society for Child Development
Society for Child Development was established in 1992 as a school for children with disability from the slums of North Delhi. When the children became young adults, Dr. Madhumita Puri, the founder felt there was a need to create a training facility, that would provide these youth with employable skills. This prompted them to start a Skill Development Centre (2000) to train the young adults in market driven skills and crafts. There were many challenges, with lack of financial resources topping the list. It was decided that donated items – unused or unusable items from households, offices and factories would be the “raw-material”. The need to use “low-cost” technology and repetitive process, led to utilising the tradition of weaving to fabricate handcrafted items… The rest they say is history! Today, the organisation runs a successful flower recycling program “Avacayam” whereby they collect 400-500 kgs of flowers per day from temples and convert it into a coloured powder, used in Indian festivals. In addition to this, the Trash to Cash Livelihood Program, converts hard to recycle waste like multilayer packaging and textile into contemporary products. Till date, the organisation has provided skill development training to over 1500 people with disability from low-income groups.
Meet The Makers
I was a teen when I became curious about solid waste management, thanks to a photo exhibit by Sudhakar Olwe at a popular Arts festival in Mumbai in 2001, about the conservancy workers in the local municipal corporation. The nature of their work was shocking and appalling.
Over the years, the passion grew, but it remained just a thought as I worked in business development and marketing roles. A commitment to doing socially sustainable work also led me to do a brief stint in microfinance.
I really started working in the ‘waste’ industry, when I took up volunteering with Society for Child Development, Delhi. Every waste was treated as a resource, including egg shells, mango seeds and the threads of flower garlands. And I want to share that creative approach to waste with Singapore.
With Altereco, I bring my passion for sustainability, but also the hope that we can make a difference.