Recycle, reduce, reuse, replenish, renew, rethink... just a few of the Rs that led to the formation of a group that aims to promote reuse, recycling, and hopefully a greener, healthier place for us to live, through a series of flea markets in Bengaluru - Second to None (in short, 220).

We organised our first flea market at Jaaga on Double Road, in the last week of July and the entire experience was a completely enriching one.

Pic courtesy: Second to None

The idea behind 220 was to provide a space for folk in the city to come, buy and sell used goods as one way of practicing recycling and reuse. Instead of throwing things away that have a shelf life, if we could give away or resell, we felt it would generate an interest in reusing and hopefully inculcate a practice of "consume less, reuse more".

The city had seen a few markets or "santhes" in the past, some of them introduced, but no longer continued. Chickpet is probably the only place for buying second hand goods at low prices, but the area is difficult to navigate. The lack of a comfortable and convenience shopping space for seconds is what led to the flea market idea.

220's focus being to encourage reuse and recycling through various means, apart from sale of used products, we were keen on getting experts in the areas of waste management and similar clean and green living concepts to reach a wider audience in the hope of promoting such practices among ourselves and a wider audience.

Pic courtesy: Second to None.

So it was with quite a bit of excitement that we started campaigning for registrations from sellers, getting a few posters ready for publicity, and talking to the experts who could come in and talk to audiences. It was so heartening to see the willingness of the experts like Daily Dump on composting at home and Divya Bhandarkar on segregating and managing waste, to come in and share their experiences and the enthusiastic responses of the sellers. Most of them were so glad that they had found a forum to sell goods that were valuable, worth something and that someone could use, instead of junking them.

The venue also lifted up the spirit of the event. Jaaga itself is a versatile space that lends itself to events of a varied scale. There was little we had to do in terms of setting up. Hiring a few extra tables, setting them up, putting up our banners and posters, charting out the table spaces for the registered sellers - all done a couple of hours before the event started, and we were good to go.

Given all the aims and ambitions and the slightly nervous anticipation!, the flea market more than met expectations. Though we had created a community page on Facebook and gathered some momentum there we were a bit unsure about how many people would actually turn up for the two day event.

Pic courtesy: Second to None

But they did, reinforcing the belief that there are so many of us out there who believe in making a change for ourselves, and for others. Most people who came to the market either to buy, browse or sell felt strongly that reusing objects and recycling as much as we can in our daily lives made sense and they just needed a fillip to start practicing this seriously.

Aparna Raman one of the visitors said "i n keeping with the mood of Second to None, my son made bookmarks out of cereal boxes and toothpaste covers and is converting a 6-egg holder into a holder for gem clips, rubberbands, pins and other knick knacks."

Poornima Bhola of Anokhi Planet said that they were so happy to be there. "Met some lovely people, shared stories and laughs" she added.

As the weekend ended, it was a tired but happy group that reminisced on the steady trickle of visitors through the two days, motivating us to organize another one very soon!