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In Search of Wastewater Solutions: Sara in Bangladesh and India

Roughly one year ago, Nest began our scavenger hunt for existing methods of treating water contaminated by textile dyeing. Our purpose in familiarizing ourselves with the intricacies of current practices was to identify those features with greatest promise for informing a globally applicable, affordable, and accessible wastewater remediation solution that could be used around the world.

Given the heft of our goal, we are fortunate in our pursuit to be joined by Patagonia and Levi Strauss & Co. (through our involvement in the LS&Co. Collaboratory), partners whose vision for a socially and environmentally responsible fashion industry aligns with our own ambitions to build a new handworker economy that connects craftspeople, brands, and consumers in a circular and human-centric value chain.

As Sara reports enthusiastically from the field, we are making headway. In India and Bangladesh, Sara met with two artisan businesses whose remediation solutions offer strikingly innovative approaches to what can inform a scalable model for other craft-based enterprises to make use of.

As we await laboratory results from our solution testing, we look forward to working with our engineering partners at Ecopsis to translate this work into viable schematics. The following are excerpts from Sara’s travel diary, as shared this month on Nest’s Instagram:

A deep blue stains the ground around the indigo dye baths at a workshop in the small village of Adjrakhpur near Bhuj, India. The town is famous for its Ajrakh-style natural dye block prints 

Mala Sinha, co-director of Bodhi, looks over her ETP (effluent treatment plant), which she and her husband, Pradeep, built and perfected over the course of a decade

The man responsible for maintaining the ETP (effluent treatment plant) in Adjrakhpur, India, poses for a photo. The ETP was built after a collective of block printers and dyers formed a society to fund a community wastewater treatment system spanning their workshops