EDITIONS
waste management

This startup is transforming pet bottles into school uniforms for underprivileged children

R Saritha
23rd Mar 2017
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Mumbai based Raw Pressery, a cold-pressed juice brand is collecting pet bottles and recycling them into uniforms for underprivileged school children in Mumbai at the same time reducing the carbon footprints significantly.

An idea was born in the kitchen of 37-year-old Anuj Rakyan, Founder of RAW Pressery, when he was trying to make fruit juice at home using a centrifugal juicer, which destroys the nutrients due to fast spinning blades. The packaged fruit juices available in the market are high on sugar and preservatives, devoid of much health benefits. He wished there was an easier and convenient way and hence began the inception of RAW Pressery, India’s largest cold-pressed juice brand.

Cold-pressed juice is made using a hydraulic press to extract juice from fruits and vegetables. In this technology, after packaging, the bottles are exposed to hydraulic pressure which kills the pathogens allowing the juice to remain nutritious and fresh for long before being consumed.

The juices are packed in pet bottles instead of glass to reduce the overall carbon footprints. Apparently, its significant impact on the environment couldn’t be brushed off. Hence, using Sula Fest 2017 in Mumbai as a launch pad, RAW Pressery introduced its inventive recycling initiative – RAW cycle – through active art installations that aimed to recycle one ton of plastic bottles generated at the festival. These bottles would be transformed into school uniforms for underprivileged children.

An urge to go eco-friendly, it all started then

Anuj Rakyan, Founder and MD of RAW Pressery.

“If you want something you’ve never had, you must be willing to do something you’ve never done before. We aim to give back to nature by changing the way we look at things till things we look at change. Packaging our fresh cold pressed juices in plastic PET considerably reduced the carbon footprint generated when compared to glass, but raised valid concerns about environmental degradation caused by plastic. In our journey to be India's largest clean label juice brand, recycling has been a cause close to home-closer to heart. Hence, we put together RAWcycle as an initiative to give back to the environment,” says Anuj, Founder of Raw based in Mumbai.

RAW Pressery had set up three stalls around the festival, each with its own unique theme. Along with this, two large recycling bins had been assembled so that festival goers could ‘dispose’ of their plastic bottles.

The bottles collected from the bins will be recycled to make polyester t-shirts, which will then be distributed to underprivileged children. RAW Pressery expects to activate collection drives across four cities through 600 points of collection via retail, direct to home, and event-led channels.

Through the initiative, the organisation aims to recycle 60,000 kg of plastic over the next 3 years and. They have already recycled 1,265 kgs of plastic which have resulted in 300 quality grade uniforms. Raw Pressery collects and sends plastic to Recron (a unit of Reliance), where the plastic gets broken down into beats, which is then converted into polyester and mixed with cotton to make uniforms which would be given to underprivileged school going children in Mumbai.

A graduate of Duke University, North Carolina, Anuj began his career as an investment banker at Morgan Stanley. He then moved to the world of brand consulting at FutureBrand, New York. Before embarking on his entrepreneurial journey, Anuj spent the past decade building operations and helping brands in the diamond jewelry industry. He has worked with well-known names like Gitanjali Gems and Nirav Modi Jewels

“Raw Pressery believes that every small change can lead to making a big difference in people’s lives. Serving juice in top grade PET bottles comes with the responsibility of generating the due awareness around its correct disposal and utilisation.” Being such a critical topic for conversation, the brand has integrated recycling into communications across all social media where the brand actively engages with conscious customers from across the country.

RAW's Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter accounts feature interesting conversations around direct to home pick-ups for used bottles to repurposing bottles as planters. The brand believes that it's important that these conversations are established with younger audiences. They are proactive and at the helm of making small decisions that an impact the future of the environment adversely,” adds Anuj.

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