Meet the startups leveraging new age technologies to recycle plastics and non-biodegradable waste

When we think of “waste” – it automatically appears to us as something useless – to throw away or ignore. With environmental pollution and climate change looming on the horizon, citizens become more aware and take great responsibility for recovering waste.

With the help of new era technologies, startups are coming up with innovative ideas to manage waste or convert it into valuable resources, helping to save the environment from the disastrous consequences of climate change.

According to Mordor Intelligence, India accounts for around 18% of the world’s population and 12% of the world’s municipal solid waste generation. With the continued increase in India’s population, waste generation is expected to increase over the next few decades. Currently, only 30% of the 75% of recyclable waste is recycled.

Your story brings a list of Indian startups working in the field of waste management to recycle non-biodegradable waste into valuable resources.

Phool.co

Founded by Ankit Agarwal in 2017, Based in Kanpur Phool.co focuses on recycling floral waste into an organic, cruelty-free alternative to animal leather called ‘Feather’, which aims to reduce several traditional, downstream and highly unsustainable leather tanning processes. Fleather was awarded as PETA’s top innovation in the vegan world.

The startup also turns tons of discarded flowers into charcoal-free incense sticks.

In October 2021, the startup raised undisclosed funding from actor and entrepreneur Alia Bhatt to expand its global footprint and accelerate the pace of R&D.

“Phool.co is a sustainable solution to the monumental problem of temple waste in India. Through our efforts, we aim to create natural alternatives to synthetic chemicals using extensive technology and research. We are an incense brand taking a digital-first approach and having a first-mover advantage as bio-leathers are hardly available in India,” Ankit said in a conversation with Your story.

Zerund

Rupam Choudhury, Mousum Talukdar, and David Pratim Gogoi based Zerund in 2018. The startup manufactures lightweight plastic integrated bricks that are environmentally friendly, earthquake resistant and economical.

Zerund aims to replace red bricks with patent-pending lightweight bricks that use plastic waste as raw materials. It claims to be approximately 15% more cost effective and durable than red bricks, autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) blocks and normal bricks.

Zerund L:R Co-Founders – Rupam Choudhury, David Gogoi, Mousum Talukdar

In February 2022, the startup raised an undisclosed pre-Series A round of NEDFi Venture Capital to set up a new manufacturing plant with five times the capacity of its current center in Pathsala, Assam.

ZeroPlast Laboratories

Founded in 2019 by Aditya Kabra, based in Pune ZeroPlast Laboratories develops sustainable materials to replace plastics. It offers tailor-made lightweight bioplastic compounds and 100% biodegradable water-soluble plastics for mass production with industrial injection molding.

“India produces 27,000 tons of plastic waste a day, of which only 9% is recycled, the rest is either landfilled or burned. Additionally, 350 million tonnes of excess biomass waste is burned across the country every year,” Aditya said.

The startup collects and recycles biomass waste into compostable bioplastics and composites to be used as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based non-biodegradable single-use plastics.

looper

Founded in 2019 by Ankita Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri, Bengaluru-based agro-biotech startup looper is engaged in the breeding of Black Soldier Fly (BSF) larvae which convert food waste to produce premium animal and pet food.

It creates a “high-protein diet” for fisheries and poultry farming by “breeding insects to feed them using food scraps, which currently end up in landfills.”

Loopworm’s Insect Protein solves this problem and offers the right alternative protein source for pets, fish, shrimp, chicken and pigs.

The startup aims to produce sustainable food and create a sustainable loop. To date, Loopworm has secured grants worth Rs 1 crore from Central and Karnataka governments, of which Rs 50 lakh has reached the start up so far.

MuddleArt

Founded by Sanjay Chauhan and Ruby Khan in 2019, New Delhi-based pre-consumer textile waste management MuddleArt provides the textile industry with a one-stop solution for solid waste management.

MuddleArt has built backward and forward linkages to streamline the stream of pre-consumer textile waste to create recyclable materials and upcycled products.

“We seek to offer a systematic approach to disposing and managing pre-consumer textile waste in India through our structured interventions and internal framework for sorting processes that make textile waste recyclable,” Ruby said.

“This not only prevents a lot of textile waste from ending up in landfills, but also creates a value chain for pre-consumer textile waste,” she said in an earlier conversation with Your story.

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