Meet Kerala’s Leelamma Mathew who is turning plastic trash into works of art

“Plastic, plastic everywhere, so why not reuse it.” This was the thought that struck Kerala’s Leelamma Mathew, the talk of the town now for her innovative ideas to reuse plastic. 

Worried over reports of plastic accumulating around the world, and its harmful effects on people and the environment, this 67-year-old resident of Adoor, Ernakulam wanted “to be the change.” 

“I wanted to do my part to help beat plastic pollution. It’s now my favorite pastime to collect used Milma milk sachets, wash them and transform them into slippers, baskets, bags, and other useful products,” Mathew said.

To spread awareness and inspire more people to join her in this drive of ‘recycling and reusing plastic,’ Mathew has now started a YouTube channel “Leela’s World.”  

Since childhood, Mathew’s creative side has always worked wonders. She used to look into possibilities to recycle waste materials into useful products. She also loves embroidery and indulges in other artistic pursuits.

A homemaker, Mathew is all excited about her repurposed creations by Milma milk covers that she started taking seriously during the initial lockdown days last year. Today, her neighbors contribute by bringing their used plastic covers, which Mathew then uses in her art pieces. 

On July 30, Milma or the Kerala Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation honored Mathew as a token of appreciation. Kerala’s Minister of Animal Husbandry, Dairy Development and Milk Co-operatives J Chinchurani felicitated Mathew for her thought-provoking initiative.

Mathew’s husband K.G. Mathew and her children are all in praise for her futuristic vision.