Making cash out of trash, these entrepreneurs earn crores by recycling waste
As India tries to deal with the plastic and e-waste problem, entrepreneurs have been quick to capitalise on the need for recycling. Here’s how.
Over the past few years, India’s air pollution problem has been making headlines. At the same time, the country is also dealing with other kinds of pollution, such as plastic and electronic waste (e-waste).
An Un-Plastic Collective (UPC) study revealed India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which 40 percent remains uncollected.
Further, India generates about two million tonnes (MT) of e-waste annually, according to the Global E-Waste Monitor 2017.
The plastic and electronic waste has been proving difficult to handle. But in every adversity, there lies opportunity, and some entrepreneurs have been quick to capitalise on the need for recycling.
Here are three entrepreneurs who are making cash out of trash by recycling waste material:
When budding entrepreneur Raj Kumar was working in the IT sector, he noticed e-waste becoming increasingly difficult to manage and recycle.
“India accounted for nearly three million metric tonnes of e-waste in 2018, and the nation has a recycling capacity of only five percent of this amount,” says Raj Kumar (38), Founder and CEO, Deshwal Waste Management.
“Looking at this, I decided to serve the society and contribute to global welfare and environment safety by establishing my first e-waste recycling plant in Khushkhera, Rajasthan under the name Deshwal e-waste recycler,” he says.
Motivated by the e-waste draft penned by the Centre in 2010, Kumar decided to invest his own money and formally launch Deshwal Waste Management in 2013. His first move was to establish another large-scale recycling facility in Manesar. The two facilities began recycling various kinds of e-waste, used batteries, plastics, and used oils.
With a corporate client base of over 200, including industry giants from the IT sector, heavy industries, automobiles, consumer goods, financial sector, consulting, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications, and more, the company is growing at 50 percent per year.
So far, Kumar has invested Rs 15 crore into Deshwal, and is expecting a turnover of Rs 23 crore for 2018-19. Since its inception, Deshwal has recycled more than 1,000 metric tonnes of waste, and is targeting to recycle more than 500 tonnes per year after 2019.
Jignesh Shah hails from a paper manufacturing and recycling background. In 1999, the opportunity to do something about the waste coming from packaging factories changed the course of his life.
That is when he started Deluxe Recycling, a Mumbai-based business providing environment-friendly solutions of dunnage options to various organisations, companies, and industries.
The journey spanning almost 20 years began with investments from family, friends, term loans, and cash credit. Jignesh says they started with a small plant with a capacity of 75 tonnes per month. It has now expanded to 13,000 metric tonnes per annum.
Today, the company clocks a turnover of about Rs 40 crore per annum and, recently, reported an increase close to 25 percent in the turnover.
He says, “Initially, we used to recycle only the factory waste coming out of the Tetra Pak production lines. Since 2004, we have been supplying these chipboards to the automobile industry in the form of a seatback and backrest for passengers and drivers in the three-wheeler autorickshaw sector.”
Jignesh claims that 80 percent of the autorickshaws in the country use chipboards supplied by them. Deluxe Recycling has a B2B model and is also supporting government bodies by supplying its products to them.
Packman, the brainchild of Indian entrepreneur Gaurav Jalan, is on a mission to protect against a real-life, everyday threat: plastic packaging. The Indian company supplies Amazon India, Flipkart, Samsung, Bosch, and other clients with eco-friendly, biodegradable packaging products.
In its factory in Greater Noida, Packman Packaging manufactures paper-based corrugated boxes (paperboards with air columns) in various shapes and sizes. These are the familiar, brown cardboard boxes used to package electronics, shoes, food items, clothes, etc.
Packman also makes corrugated rolls, bubble rolls, bubble pouches, courier bags, POD jackets, duct tapes, ecommerce shipping bags, and more. Besides selling these directly to customers, it has an ecommerce store where these products can be bought.
“The material used to make the packaging comes from recycled paper, food quality paper and biodegradable paper. Today, Packman can manufacture up to 1 lakh corrugated boxes and rolls each day and ship to over 300 Indian cities,” Gaurav claims. Packman, registered in Delhi, makes Rs 20-crore turnover annually and has 105 employees, he adds.
Gaurav’s company also makes eco-friendly bags from corn. The corn bags are biodegradable and do not contaminate the recycling process of other more common polymers, Gaurav says.
Amazon India, flower retailer Ferns & Petals, milk producer and distributor Country Delight, and online flower shop Flower Aura are Packman’s clients for corn-based eco-friendly bags, Gaurav says.