The plastic menace:

India relies heavily on plastic and to meet this demand, there is huge annual production. Everywhere we look we are surrounded by plastic or its by-products. What started as a drive to reduce reliance on nature has turned into a bigger problem. India alone produces 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually. (source) . Around 60% of this plastic waste is recycled and pushed back into the production cycle. Whereas the remaining 40% of the humungous plastic waste continues to stack annually. Neglect and continued extensive production keep on increasing this pile exponentially. This ever-growing bottleneck is choking our planet due to its non-biodegradable nature. Plastic can stay in the environment for hundreds of years and with this quantity that is a grave concern. Some of the commonly produced plastic utilities are kitchenware, good packaging, coverings and most importantly plastic bottles. Samiksha Ganeriwal the focal point of this story knew the ever-growing threat posed by plastic.

The amount of plastic bottles discarded after single use keeps on increasing and in turn deposits in our environment.

Plastic bottles for beverages are so common that they have become the norm. Owing to the perfect flexibility, strength and durability of plastic material. These bottles are perfect for making bottles and have become the industry standard. One use in nature and they become complete waste after consumer application. The second half of these bottles are spent clogging the earth for hundreds of years.

Samiksha Ganeriwal: 

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Samiksha had a keen sense and focus on her mission but lacked knowledge and research. She consulted many experts and designers in this field. After two years of consultation and research, she was closer to her goal than ever. Her challenges did not just stop there. The first challenge was that this type of attempt had never been made before in our country. Thus, there was no appropriate machinery present to pursue this method. Taking into account the nature of the project she had to find the perfect people. Eventually, she was able to create this machine from scratch.

The second main challenge was to counter the public perception. Samiksha approached her relatives and friends and showed them her product. People were too used to transparent bottles and a brown-covered product baffled them. Eventually, with time people got accustomed to the design and soon even started to be interested in it. The 2019 blanket ban on single-use plastic commodities like spoons, straws etc. gave Samiksha her final push.

Kagzi:

Kagzi by Samiksha
Kagzi by Samiksha

The company came to be known as ‘Kagzi bottles and reflected the native and eco-friendly nature. Kagzi stands for kaagz the Hindi word for paper signifying the roots of the company. Boosting the made in India scheme the company started operating with high spirits. The research of big companies to make eco-friendly bottles after anti-plastic sentiments involve big names like coca-cola and L’oreal Paris. These companies maintain a thin layer of plastic inside to contain the moisture. Completely unique from this conventional research Kagzi bottles are made from moulding paper pulp. The waste paper is locally sourced from Himachal Pradesh and is broken down in pulp with chemicals. The final steps include moulding the pulp into two halves and joining them together.

Dissecting the bottle
Dissecting the Kagzi bottle

Even after being completely eco-friendly, these bottles are in fact cheaper than plastic bottles. Priced at Rs. 19-22 provide not only a better but cheaper alternative. The company followed by an initial investment of Rs 12 Lakhs is manufacturing bottles for lotions, shampoos and conditioners. It takes two days to manufacture one unit and with current capacity the company produces 2 lakh bottles a month.

Samiksha and “Kagzi” bottles are aiming to expand their horizons. They are planning to set up manufacturing units in more cities to increase their reach. While already making a graceful impact they want to produce bottles for edible materials. Supported by hard work and amiable goals “Kagzi” bottles are on a bright journey ahead. The company has planned many new plans and will continue to fight for this unique cause.

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Dr. Minal Kabra earns 33 Lakh a year by selling ‘solar-baked vegan cookies’ | Change Makers 

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