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About Rickshaw Recycle

Whats the concept behind the Rickshaw Recycle and what is the story and the people behind it?


Recycling has always been a way of life in India. It starts in our homes: the rubbish generated in the form of old books, magazines, newspaper, bottles and cans made out of glass, metal and plastic are sold out to the scrap dealer commonly known as raddiwala or kabadiwala. The scrap dealer plays an important role in the process of recycling. The rubbish he collects is sorted and sent to the re- processors who prepare them for use in the manufacture of new products.

Rickshaw Recycle, a subsidiary of Xylem Papercraft, sets out to celebrate the Indian ethic of recycling. We are interested in how ideas, crafts and skills, materials, products, and processes take on a new life when put into a new context.


The new company also allowed us to entertain ourselves by doing products not just from paper but also from all kinds of ephemera, and materials with a recycled content. 

Hand-painted canvas strips: Xylem makes journals using canvas painted with cinema scenes. The leftover scraps are stocked by Rickshaw Recycle for further use.

Achada: We make use of achada: the back grey cloth spread on block printing tables, as a layer between the material that is being printed and the padded table lining. During printing, the impressions convey themselves, through the fabric being printed, to the achada, colouring it with overlay after overlay of pigment. Each achada is a visual record, a history of the designs that were in use while it was on the table.

Raddi: Rickshaw Recycle procures raddi (waste paper) from printing presses, schools (wrappers and labels, comic books leaves, used maps and notebooks etc), homes, and hoardings (made of canvas and vinyl). This is put to use for developing stationery products like journals, notebooks and writing pads.

Newspaper: We collect the matrimonial pages from newspapers and use them to make wedding albums. We also use newspaper for our paper weaves.

Fabric waste: Xylem uses a variety of fabrics for book binding and other stationery products (like pouches, gift boxes etc.), and Rickshaw Recycle makes use of the fabric waste that is generated.

Office waste: We reuse waste from our office: for example, the dot matrix, printed paper, other misprints, and extra printouts. These are either shredded or are stocked for making products for Rickshaw Recycle.

Paper scraps: We reuse small pieces of paper left over from Xylem's production. We use these for cards, tags and other smaller products. Or, we mix waste coloured paper shreds with pulp to make new paper with an interesting mosaic effect. Another technique that we use is to die cut waste handmade paper strips into shapes: we fuse these in between two translucent sheets to make new paper.

Our current product range is paper, gift & stationery products, gift accessories, personal & lifestyle accessories, home decor, furniture, furnishings & accessories, Craft & DIY materials & products, Hangings, Posters, Panels, Wall Art & installations, mementos & tourist items, paper weaves, custom made and bespoke articles and handicrafts, printing & invitations.

What would you say is the USP of the products? Is there anything interesting that you'd like us to know?
Creative reuse is the process of taking used or recycled materials and turning them into creative pieces of art, home decoration, or other useful items. Creative reuse projects can be big or small and can be made from anything that would otherwise have been thrown away. Another way creative reuse comes into play is through environmentally friendly gifts or "green gifts". Buying eco-friendly gifts made from recycled materials and hand-crafted into something unique and useful is becoming a chic new and environmentally friendly way to shop.

Do you have any discounts or offers?
The shop is in a constant state of renewal. New and seasonal products come in every month and colours and looks are updated. From Teacher’s day to Gandhi Jayanti, there will be a large black & white presence in the shop. In October, we will be moving in gift and décor products for Diwali, and at the end of November, collections for Christmas and the New Year. January will see a renewal of the Journals and notebooks, and the wall art, for the Jaipur Literature festival and the Delhi Art fair. February will have products for Valentine’s day.