Startup Making Paper Bottles Aims To Reduce Daily, Household Plastic Waste
A startup is making India’s first paper bottles and this might be just what we need amid the worsening climate crisis. When Leo Baekeland invented Bakelite in 1907, he had perhaps not envisioned that his ‘polymer with no natural molecule’ would end up being one of the major causes of pollution in the world. His product, which was the first fully synthetic plastic, now chokes rivers and oceans, and ends up in the stomachs of animals, including human beings. Products that we use every day – shampoo, toothpaste, house cleaners – feed this polluting Frankenstein that never biodegrades. That is why, Noida-based startup, Kagzi Bottles, has found out a way to store these items in bottles made out of compostable paper waste. After two and half years of research, the company has been able to produce a plant-based material that creates a membrane over paper and makes it hydrophobic. This means that the bottle is durable and there will be no leakages. The product, says founder Samiksha Ganeriwal, is in the development stage and will be rolled out commercially in the first quarter of 2022. “Right now, the plant-based material can hold up for six months. We are finding out ways to make the membrane last longer,” she adds. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says that we produce 300 million tonnes of plastic waste every year, which is equivalent to the weight of entire human population. Half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once — and then thrown away. Our shampoo, conditioner and hand-wash bottles fall under this single-use plastic category. A staggering 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the world’s oceans every year. If current trends continue, our oceans could contain more plastic than fish by 2050.
“Kagzi Bottles offers one-of-a-kind, patented packaging technology to replace single-use plastic. We are sourcing the waste paper from Himachal Pradesh and have tied up with Women Entrepreneurs Hub (WE Hub) in Hyderabad to create our final product,” informs the founder, who has studied electronics and business administration. WE Hub, an initiative by the Telangana government, is India’s first state-led startup incubator to promote and foster women entrepreneurship. Samiksha started her packaging firm in 2016, and realised in a short time that the planet is in a desperate need of sustainable alternatives to plastic packages. The UNEP report states that “cigarette butts — whose filters contain tiny plastic fibres — were the most common type of plastic waste found in the environment. Drink bottles, bottle caps, food wrappers, grocery bags, drink lids, straws and stirrers were the next most common items. Many of us use these products every day, without even thinking about where they might end up.” Samiksha rues that her products, which have 330 ml capacity, still need plastic caps. The company had experimented with corks, but they made the end product expensive. She wants to offer FMGC companies a competitive price so that the plastic bottles do not win at the end.