‘Cheer Project’ is a research on pine needles in which this abundant, overlooked and unwanted material is developed into a 100% bio-based, recyclable and compostable biocomposite material.
Himachal Pradesh is a state of India that is at the foothills of the Himalayas. It is known for its quaint valleys and snow-covered mountains. Most of this beauty is made by the pine forest, with a cover of about forty thousand square kilometres. But the state is facing menacing environmental complications caused by the fallen leaves of pine trees called pine needles. The imbalance caused by these needles has a huge impact on life and the entire ecosystem that far exceeds our imagination. From forest fires, water scarcity to unemployment. Beneath the surface, something huge has gone wrong and has not grabbed anyone’s attention but we can all feel its effect in our daily lives.
Cheer Project offers a sustainable and socially-viable solution to the environmental hazards caused by an overabundance of dried pine needles on the forest floor. Through a holistic approach, Cheer Project’s production process unveils the dormant potential of pine needles while also empowering indigenous communities by creating livelihood opportunities for them. The proposed modus operandi is circular: raw material is procured by indigenous communities from nearby pine forests, the collected needles are then processed into a fibre with locally-built, low-cost machinery, this pine fibre is further mixed with natural binders to make the pine composite. The developed composition is 100% bio-based, compostable, recyclable, fire retardant, water repellent and causes no pollution or waste in the process. This bio-composite material can be used by local artisans to manufacture sustainable products and revenue generated through their sale will further strengthen the rural economy while restoring the pride of the locals in their work.
The fight against plastic pollution is juxtaposed against the endeavour to sustainably support stakeholder communities. Cheer Project seeks to democratise the process of problem-solving through design. The ultimate concept rests on the fusion of local craftsmanship and sustainable utilization of a naturally abundant novel material; the rediscovery of the humble pine needle.