Kathmandu alone produces 3 tonnes of plastic waste daily. If we calculate the worth of those plastic waste then it rounds up to almost 5 Lakhs 40 thousand rupees and 1 cr 70 lakhs rupees monthly! Aayush Deuja, founder of Adhunik Pet Industries shares with us these details and more in our interview with him regarding his company and his take on plastic recycling. Read on to find out.
1. Could you introduce yourself and your company to us?
I’m currently in my first year of Bachelors in Business at Reliance International College. Talking about myself, I had always been an average student but interested in extracurriculars and activities that were beyond academics. My dad ran a garment shop but instead of following in his footsteps, I looked out for more opportunities and hence sought to start a business in the plastic industry. Then, my dad referred me to one of his friends who ran a plastic business.
So when I looked into the business, I realized that the plastic granules are imported from Dubai that is then used to make plastic products. I questioned why it is imported since plastic takes 500 years to get decomposed and importing more plastic meant more pollution. So, I decided to look up how we can manage this. Then I figured that we can recycle it. Instead of recycling the final product, I looked into recycling the raw material used to make plastic products, specifically plastic granules. This way we do not have to import them from abroad and offer them at a cheaper price too. That’s what my company- Adhunik Pet Industries does.
2. How do you recycle those granules? Do you have a machine in place to do that?
We have four machines that are used in each process. Since plastics are of different types, we do not mix all of them together, instead we separate days to work with each plastic-type. So, talking about the process, we get the plastics from different sources and then we segregate it and get rid of things like stickers and wrappers. Then, we use a cutting machine to cut the plastic in smaller pieces. Then we use the washing machine that cleans out the plastics using different chemicals. After that, we leave the plastic to dry out in the sun. Then we use another machine to cut the dried out plastics into small granules that are then supplied to plastic industries.
3. How long has the company been operating? What was your initial investment like?
The company has been operating for two years now. We have invested around Rs. 25 lakhs in the company. As mentioned earlier, I had always wanted to do something meaningful for myself and always looked out for opportunities outsides of academics. That’s why my dad trusted me and help me by providing me the investment fund.
4. What is your business model like?
We get plastic waste from different sources whose cleaning processes I have already mentioned earlier, Then we supply plastic companies that make jar caps and other plastic products. Since plastic is the last by-product of petroleum products, most of the granules come from abroad. Ones that come from Dubai are called virgin material and ours are called second-grade materials. So, we differentiate ourselves by recycling the plastic that is already in the country and by offering it at a cheaper price.
5. How many people are there in your team? How do you segregate the work?
We have 6 ground workers who help in segregating plastic waste. Then it’s me, my dad and a brother. I survey the market, find clients, look after delivery and demand. My dad looks at the operations and manages the ground workers while my brother manages waste collectors or kabadiwalas and gets waste from them.
6. How many clients do you have? Are you trying to approach new ones?
We have three clients as of now. We haven’t been able to supply as per their demand to them so we haven’t looked for more clients. The thing is we need first-grade granules too for good quality but the first grade is imported from outside and we want to minimize that as much as we can.
7. Did you do some research before getting into this business?
Yes, I wanted to recycle the plastic waste so I did look into companies abroad that did similar kinds of business. I came across a lot of businesses in India that did the same thing. That’s how I got the idea and started this business.
8. Have you participated in startup competitions or any programs that revolve around it?
No, I got involved in this business during my first year of bachelors and I also wasn’t aware of these kinds of competitions. I tried to participate in the NEXT Growth Conclave with a few of my friends but because of some issues, I wasn’t able to participate.
9. What were the challenges while opening up the company?
The only challenge I felt while opening up the company was getting a license from the government. The government doesn’t allow us to open a recycling company for unknown reasons. Although they have just now given permission to open recycling companies when we started out, that was a major challenge.
10. How do you collect plastic waste?
We understand the role that kabadiwalas play in waste management so we maintain good relations with them and get plastic from them. We do not rely on just a few kabadiwalas, but go to different places and collect plastic waste. We do not take plastic from the medical field as we understand the health hazards related to it.
11. Do you also produce plastic products or just sell granules?
Right now, we sell granules but we are planning to expand and produce plastic products, specifically plastic caps. We are looking to get machines and certification for it.
12. What are your future plans with the company?
Well, the nearest future plan I have with my company is to come up with a website or an app through which people can easily sell their plastic waste. I want communities to become responsible and collect their wastes at a certain place from where we can buy them. This not only helps us to get the waste from one place but also reduces waste-related problems in the communities.
13. Where is your facility located?
We had our operations in Nilopul but we don’t really require a big facility as such. After getting plastic from Kabadiwala it takes 2 days max to process the plastic. When we get plastic, we process it immediately and sell it since we have a high demand. Hence, we always run out of stocks.
14. What opportunities do you think are there in the plastic recycling industry?
As we know that the government announced Kathmandu as a plastic-free area in April 2015 but people still use them and companies are still manufacturing them in an innumerous amount. This is because plastic isn’t that easy to replace given its useful properties. Its alternatives, such as paper bags are also very expensive and not very durable. So, the best way to manage plastic waste is to recycle it. Through my company, I am helping in the reduction of plastic waste by recycling it. So I think that’s the opportunity in the plastic recycling industry.
15. Do you feel like you have made an impact in the past 2 years?
Yes! People in my area have started to collect plastic in one place. Another is that since we import plastic granules from abroad, by recycling plastic waste and manufacturing plastic granules, we are able to reduce costs and empower people here by providing jobs and generating revenue. We have been able to reduce 6-7 tonnes of plastic waste too. Additionally, people have become aware and frequently ask me to get them involved in this industry too.
For more information about this company, please connect with Ayush at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out this page Adhunik Pet Industries.
Interviewed and article by Yangzum Lama.