Paper bags from Agri wastes can solve pollution and environmental problems
Adeera Packaging, one of India’s largest paper manufacturers, makes paper bags from 100% recycled paper and agri wastes. This can solve the pollution problem in the National Capital Region of Delhi during the winter.
‘Agricultural waste is plentiful all over the world. Pollution causes a lot of trouble in Delhi in the winter. This is because, according to Sushant Gaur, founder and CEO of Adeera Packaging, all agricultural waste that can be turned into paper is burned in Punjab.
The environment will benefit in two ways from turning agriwaste into paper. ‘First, crop waste will not be burned as much’ (stubbles). Two, by getting rid of plastic bags and other kinds of packaging, we can help the environment,’ he said.
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Two, by getting rid of plastic bags and other kinds of packaging, we can help the environment,’ he said. Certifications
All waste from farming can be used. ‘We are a company that cares about the environment. We are getting an ESG audit, which stands for environmental, social, and governance. We follow the rules set by the US Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). Gaur told businessline, ‘We have all the certifications needed to become suppliers for any company in the world.’
Gaur, who spent a few months in the US this year to learn about the market, was surprised by the people who know about how agri wastes are used to make paper. ‘Big international groups like FSC don’t even recognize this as a paper that is widely available in India,’ he said. ‘That means they don’t give certification.’
Surprisingly, New Jersey has banned paper bags even though they can be made from waste from farms.
Vegetables and fruits like potatoes and bananas can be used to make agri waste. Paper bags are better than compostable plastic bags because they break down in a month or two, while compostable plastic bags take six months. In the winter, it takes more time for compostable plastic to break down.
If the paper is made from crops, it is easy to recycle, and if it is burned, it just becomes agri waste. ‘India is one of the few places in the world that has the technology to turn agricultural waste into paper. So, we took this to the US and showed it to companies there. ‘It’s part of the circular economy in the end,’ he said.
Factory and Sales office
‘We now sell our paper bags to big companies like KFC, Taco Bell, Barnes & Noble, and others like them. Sixty percent of what we sell goes outside of India, and the rest stays in India. Gaur said, ‘We are now setting up a sales office and a warehouse in the US.’ A factory will be built in Gujarat, and a sales office will be set up in Mumbai.
Adeera will set up a factory in the United States by 2024. It was supposed to be set up this year, but plans with a partner fell through, so it had to be put off.
One reason the company wants to set up its unit in the US is that facilities that make up 50% of India’s total paper industry capacity are being built. ‘Paper scraps will no longer be sent to India in a couple of years. Prices are likely to go up, but in the US, prices are likely to go down because recycled paper is easy to get.
Recycled paper helps with efforts to stop global warming. There are at least 6 trillion plastic bags in the world, but the paper industry is only worth $5 billion. ‘It is not possible to replace all plastics, even if they grow at a CAGR of 30% over the next six years,’ he said, adding that his company was replacing ‘30 plastic bags every second.’
Gaur said that the best way to cut down on plastic bags would be to use agri-waste, which can be turned into paper and then into bags.
Selling in kgs
Adeera Packaging used to be called Urja Packaging. In 2020, Atulya Bhatia of Cartonwala joined Ashish Agarwal as a director, and the company changed its name. It started selling paper bags by the kilo and made words like ‘safa’ more common in North India.
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Companies like Big Basket, Apollo Pharmacy, KFC, Bata, Nike, Taco Bell, Barnes & Nobles, and Bikanerwala now get their paper bags from this company.
Adeera’s annual revenue has grown from ₹3.5 crore in 2019 to ₹60 crore in 2019. It has five units in Noida, Uttar Pradesh, that make 52 million paper bags every month. It also has a warehouse in Delhi.
The company educates people about paper bags made from agri-waste. It uses sustainable paper, and FSC monitors its ‘chain of custody’ and has certified it.