Nowadays, many companies are focusing on business as well as environmental protection. Today we are going to tell you about one such business where industrial waste or industrial waste is recycled. The waste coming out of the industry like textiles, automobiles, electronics, etc. is called ‘Industrial Waste’. Old and useless cars also fall under this category. This story is from the Jaggery bags, a Gurugram-based company. Under which, beautiful bags are made by ‘upcycling’ the seat belts and cargo belts of old cars.
Almost all parts of old and useless cars are reused in the automobile industry or sector. However, seat belts mostly reach landfills. But ‘Jaggery Bags’ is taking its business forward by ‘upcycling’ these old and useless car seat belts. This company has been started by Gautam Malik. It was his idea to start a business by recycling waste. His mother, Dr. Usha Malik and wife, Bhavna Dandona have supported him a lot in making this idea a reality.
Speaking to The Better India, 44-year-old Gautam Malik says, “I grew up in Delhi and after school, I studied ‘Architecture’ from Pune University. I got an opportunity to go to Auroville while studying. Auroville is known for its ‘Sustainable Architecture’. In studies we were mostly taught about designing, but I have learned about the eco-friendly raw material used in the construction of houses and buildings in Auroville. The lesson that this place taught me about ‘Sustainability’ stayed with me forever. ”
After completing an Architecture degree, Gautam moved to the US in 2001 and from there he did a Masters degree in ‘Film and Media Studies’. After studying, he started working in the field of ‘designing and graphics’ in the US itself. The inspiration to design different products comes from people and places, he said. Therefore, he often spent time visiting public places in America. Also, used to notice the people and their style.
He says, “Noticing people, my attention was also on their ‘bags’. I noticed that people carry bags according to their personality. The design of the bag matters to anyone, the material of the bag to someone. In the meantime, I came to know of a Switzerland company that ‘recycles’ Tarpaulin used in trucks to make bags. ”
Tarpaulin is used to cover luggage in trucks. However, different types of material are used to make tarpaulin. Elsewhere the tarpaulin is made of very strong plastic, while elsewhere the plastic is much lighter. Knowing about this company, Gautam got the idea whether such ‘waste’ can be ‘recycle’ in India? He returned to India in 2010 to work on this idea.
Started your own startup:
Returning to India, Gautam started a designing company of his own. After running it for almost two years, he started working with the Jabong company. But during this time, he continued to do research on the ‘Industrial Waste’ available in India. Because, he had to start his own startup. He says, “Initially, I thought of upcycling the tarpaulin in India as well. But the quality of the tarpaulin used here is not so good. So, I started looking for another material and my search was completed on the old car seat belt. ”
Mayapuri of Delhi is known for its ‘Industrial Waste’. So Gautam started taking old seat belts from here, for his business. First of all, they made bags from these seat belts and surveyed them among the people. People from not only India but other countries were also involved in this survey. He got good response from people in the survey and in 2015 he started his startup, ‘Jaggery Bags’. Through this startup, apart from old seat belts, he is also upcycling cargo belts and making hand bags, laptop bags etc.
Gautam handled everything from finding and designing raw material to marketing for these bags. At the same time, his wife Bhavna is a professor in an architecture college and takes charge of ‘material expert’ in Gautam’s company. Gautam’s mother, Dr. Usha Malik, is a finance man in the company. Dr. Usha says, “I have worked as a teacher for almost 40 years. I have been a professor at Miranda House, Delhi University. After retirement, I wanted to do something different and good. So when Gautam told me this idea, I fully supported him in this work. Because through this business, we are working on environmental protection and also giving employment to people. ”
How it works:
First, the raw material arrives at their unit from different sources and is cleaned. After this, individual products are designed. He explained, “A seat belt is just two inches wide. Therefore, we design all products with this in mind. To attract customers, not only good quality or positive thinking is enough, but good design is also very important. Therefore, we pay special attention to designing as well. In order to create an identity among Indian customers, we have incorporated ‘Kantha’ embroidery in our designs. ”
Through his startup, he has so far recycle over 3960 meters of useless and old car seat belts and over 900 meters of cargo seat belts. They have also designed the process of preparing the bags in such a way that the least amount of water and energy is used and the least amount of waste is generated. Through his ‘Sustainable Startup’, he has employed 15 people. Which consists mostly of women.
Talking about marketing, he said, “I was associated with some people living in countries like America, Australia, since the time of research. Later, the same people became my customers and they also added other people to us. But for marketing in India, we started stalls at the Haat and Organic Festival. ”
He set up the first stall in Delhi in 2016. But, he did not get very good response from the people. Therefore, he took the help of social media and tried to reach people who want to live a life that is friendly to nature.
One of his clients based in Delhi, Anirudh Singhal (39), says, “I came to know about the Jaggery bags from some of my friends. The specialty of these bags is that they are made of ‘upcycled’ material. But still their quality and design are very good. I think that more and more people should use such bags so that only a little, but we can all contribute to environmental protection. ”
Products are also going to outside countries:
At the moment, he is working on different models. In addition to engaging with customers directly, he is also associated with some organizations that buy bags from them in large quantities. Apart from this, other companies also give them orders to make bags. In the last five years, nearly nine thousand customers have been associated with Jaggery Bags. Out of which there are about six thousand customers, who are constantly buying bags from them. Apart from India, their products are also going to countries like USA, Canada, Germany, France, Australia, and Japan.
Says Gautam, “We started this company with an investment of around Rs 10 lakh. He did everything from his savings and till now he has not taken funds from anywhere. Talking about turnover, we have had good success from the very first year. In the first year, we managed to take a turnover of around 20 lakh rupees. Subsequently, our turnover has increased by about 18% every year. ”
In the future he would like to add more and more youth in the field of upcycling. For which, he wants to create centers in different places where people are trained to ‘recycle’ according to the type of waste. With which more and more people will not only be able to make a career in this field, but will also be able to help in environmental protection. Of course, the success story of ‘Jaggery Bags’ is an inspiration to all of us. We can earn well, by working environmentally friendly.
If you want to know more about ‘Jaggery Bags’, you can email Gautam Malik at email@example.com. You can visit their website to buy their products.
Editing – GN Jha
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