This startup hopes to pack a punch with sustainable packaging products

By Apurva P
July 14, 2022, Updated on : Thu Jul 14 2022 12:49:41 GMT+0000
This startup hopes to pack a punch with sustainable packaging products
Mumbai-based startup The Mend Packaging transforms recycled, biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable materials into sustainable packaging products that are used by brands around the world.
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During the 2020 lockdown, when Prianka Jhaveri opened a box of supplies and necessities that she had ordered, she found a packet of batteries wrapped in layers of plastic bubble wrap, amidst mounds of paper void fills.

This prompted Prianka and her friends from college, Rishika Reddy and Rhea Kothari, to come up with an efficient and sustainable way to pack items.

Packaging solutions is not a new area for Prianka. While she was working in an international strategy consulting firm in Mumbai, she had loved the challenge of solving complex packaging problems. In fact, she had worked closely with a leading Indian FMCG brand to find alternatives to PET bottles for beverage packaging.

The mend

Packaging is ubiquitous across all industries and the largest contributor to landfill waste. This has been a challenge for businesses around the globe.

India generates over 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste per day, which is roughly the weight of 4,300 elephants. According to the Union Environment Ministry, 60 percent of this is recycled. The remainder is disposed of in landfills, some of it clogs drains, enters the ocean as microplastics, or is burned.

The country generates 62 million tonnes of waste per year; most of this waste is not treated properly and ends up in landfills.

“We spoke to industry experts and stakeholders in the industry, including vendors, government bodies and consumers, to figure out the major pain points we could solve. We experimented with different types of techniques and determined which waste materials could be converted into desirable textures and GSM (thickness) of paper,” Prianka tells SocialStory.

Slowly, the trio started building a catalogue of products and materials, including clothes and bio waste, that could cater to different industries, businesses and use cases. This led to the birth of The Mend Packaging. According to Prianka, this is India’s first sustainable packaging company.

the mend
“At The Mend Packaging we offer end-to-end solutions, right from consulting and package designing to manufacturing and execution,” explains the founder.

The company also designs solutions for circular packaging options, wherein the products that cannot be reused are recycled into packaging products through mechanical or biological processes.

Sustainable solutions

The Mend Packaging transforms discarded materials into innovative packaging solutions for brands across the world. It makes packaging products such as boxes, mailers, bags, void fills, accessories and adhesives.

The company's packaging products are made from recycled, biodegradable, compostable, and recyclable materials. It works with a variety of materials and textures such as bioplastics made from corn starch, recycled paperboard, rigid board, corrugated board, organic cloth, Flex from billboard waste, as well as products made from agricultural waste such as hemp and seeds.

the mend

A sample of the company's packaging

The company uses toxin-free inks that do not contaminate groundwater on disposal as well as starch-based adhesives and biodegradable aqueous coatings and foils to eliminate the use of plastic all together.

In addition, The Mend Packaging also works with brands and consumers to offset their manufacturing waste. To facilitate collection of packaging waste and recycling it further, it has partnered with certified waste management firms and verified third-party recyclers across India.

Challenges and growth drivers

Lack of awareness among companies and accessibility to sustainable packaging products are challenges, according to Prianka.

However, this is slowly changing with increasing consumer awareness and regulatory changes due to the concerns of single-use plastic. These are driving brands to commit themselves to using sustainable packaging alternatives.

The Mend Packaging sees emerging brands taking a more conscious step towards packaging. It is also working with well-established companies across India to diversify their existing packaging towards more eco-friendly options.

Market dynamics

According to Prianka, The Mend Packaging offers sustainable packaging at the same or a lower price point as traditional packaging.

the mend

The Mend Packaging has worked with over 350 clients and executed over 500 orders across the world.

“At The Mend Packaging, we work with an extensive network of waste management partners and paper manufacturers to locally source waste and produce our raw materials, which helps us compete with traditional packaging costs. We also have an extensive network of about 280 vendors across India to help us fulfil our orders, which ensures that we keep labour costs competitive, while maintaining quality.”

The company’s products are used by brands around the world. In the two years of its operations, The Mend Packaging has worked with over 350 clients and executed over 500 orders across the world. Some of its clients are Daughter Earth, Kalanikethan Fashions, The Pant Project, Paaduks and No Nasties. About 80 percent of its revenue comes from India, while the rest comes from global markets, with the US and the UK leading the pack. Its major clients come from the beauty and apparel industries.

Packaging is an unorganised market in India. The Mend Packaging’s competitors in the country are local manufacturers. Globally, its competitors are Lumi (UK), EcoEnclose (US) and NoIssues (US).

About the founders

Besides running The Mend Packaging, Prianka is also an angel investor. She had earlier worked with a VC fund. Co-founder Rhea had worked in a startup accelerator in New York, while the other co-founder Rishika had worked with an electric transportation solutions provider.

Products in the pipeline

The Mend Packaging is working on creating new packaging products using existing materials. It is also experimenting with new materials.

For instance, the company is working with its R&D partners to create a packaging product that exactly mimics plastic but is made from a marine biodegradable material that can dissolve in water in 5 -7 minutes.

(The copy has been updated to correct a typo.)

Edited by Swetha Kannan