By 2020 Diana Award recipient, Sriya Donepudi from Hyderabad, India

Sriya is a 16-year-old entrepreneur who has built a business from recycling floral waste to make hand-made craft and home items for sale. Through her work, she provides women in India with the opportunity to collaborate in a project of harmony and environmental sustainability.

18 March 2021

“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors: We borrow it from our children.” – Native American proverb. 

Recycling, the process of converting waste into reusable material, helps to protect our natural resources. Therefore, it plays a crucial role in saving the future of our planet and humanity. Global Recycling Day was created in 2018 to help recognise, and celebrate, the important role recycling plays in preserving our resources and securing the future of our planet. It is a day for the world to come together and put the planet first. 

I was awarded The Diana Award in 2020 for my work integrating floral sustainability and woman empowerment; improving the lives of local Indian women from low economic backgrounds by recycling floral waste to make hand-made crafts and home items for sale. The project gives women the opportunity of better working conditions and decent wages, whilst also driving towards environmental sustainability.

The women, who would normally work as labourers or domestic help, have the opportunity of full or part-time employment, better flexible working conditions and wages that support the necessities of daily life.

My love of flowers not only inspired the project but also prompted me to protect the floral footprint in the ecology and recycle as much as possible. It is now my mission to inspire others to take up the recycling of flowers. 

Neil Armstrong said, “One small step for man, and one giant leap for humanity.” So, as global citizens, let us take our small step to recycle and take our giant leap in ecological sustainability. Recycle and transform your living and in time, your World! 

How can you get involved or learn more about ecological sustainability? 

1_Start recycling. The easiest way to involve yourself is by simply recycling plastic, paper, or any other domestic dry waste. You could make yourself an interesting display using old things from your house (my old bedsheets make for lovely looking drapes). 

2_Transform your old waste. Make aromatic products out of floral waste, for example, a simple floral-based candle. Here is how to do it:

  • Step 1: Find old candles in your household and break them into smaller pieces. Set aside any wicks (you will need these later). 
  • Step 2: Gather flower petals and nice smelling herbs (mint, lavender, rosemary, or chamomile) and store these elements carefully, preserving their aroma.  
  • Step 3: Source a transparent storage container (e.g., an old bottle or mason jar) and clean it out thoroughly.  
  • Step 4: Melt the candles on a stove in a glass bowl over boiling water, adding the herbs and flower petals once melted.  
  • Step 5: Pour this wax mixture into a container. Carefully place the old wicks and roll them into the wax-filled container and hold it until the wax mixture sets in place.  
  • Step 6 (optional): Before the wax completely sets add some more herbs and flowers and a drop of essential oil if you would like to increase the aroma. 

Sriya is passionate about integrating floral sustainability with a desire to empower underprivileged women in her local community.

3_Educate yourself. Read articles and/or blogs on how to reuse domestic waste and recycle it into something for your daily use. I’d also recommend reading up on the various impacts’ material usage can have around the world and understand how you can take a stand and work as part of the solution. 


© 2020 The Diana Award. The Diana Award is a registered charity (1117288 / SC041916) and a company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales number 5739137.