HabFest-30: Toys from waste inspire visitors to do more with less

Thiruvananthapuram, May 13: In the midst of all the HabFest-30 exhibition stalls showcasing building material and innovative architecture practices is a low-key booth that attracts old and young alike.

With plastic bottles converted into spinning flowers, musical pipes, origami birds and other handcrafted kinetic toys made from recycled material and paper, K.S. Subid’s Ahimsa Toys stall has proven a hit with visitors to the exhibition in Poojappura ground.

The stall seems a micro-version of the Habitat Technology Group’s building philosophy of keeping things low cost and sustainable. Subid is a civil engineer by training with an MTech in industrial design from IIT Delhi, but his Ahimsa Toys came from a desire to “unlearn science and continue learning from life”.

“This is an attempt to change our approach to waste management,” said Subid, whose political-social activism pushed him in this direction. “We are just becoming aware of the need for this, but tribals don’t waste anything; they always try to reuse everything. I feel that is the approach to take.”

Subid believes that kids do not need toys and that buying toys makes them lose their creativity, so the next best thing is to get them to try and make their own playthings. He is invited by various schools and organisations to hold workshops for children, particularly during the vacation months, across Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

Class seven student Abhilash hangs around the stall, spinning a propeller made with an old ice cream container and ice cream sticks and a yoyo made with old CDs. “This is great fun,” Abhilash said. “I would like to try my hand at making these when I get home.”


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