- Priti International recycles automobile and military wastes
- The firm is making handbags and furniture from waste materials
- The firm is export based but they will enter the Indian market soon
Imagine sitting on a sofa with an ambassador car’s headlight fitted on the arms and the car’s bonnet as its body or having a drink on a bar table made from parts of motorcycle. Figment of wild imagination, may be, but it has been turned into a reality by 42-year old Jodhpur based entrepreneur – Hritesh Lohiya. He stumbled upon this idea of turning trash to treasure. After trying his hands at various odd jobs at chemical factory, stone cutting, manufacturing washing powders even stock market business, he ended up succeeding in none and in huge financial trouble. It was while working at his father’s chemical factory that a thought struck him. He saw waste chemical drums strewn all around and realised that this waste will be of no use. What if he could put these to some use?
With this thought in mind and no funds, he started to put the thought into action at home. He would go to the local kabadiwalas and choose the waste materials, for his trial and error purposes.
I didn’t want to create any decorative products which people would just hang and forget about, I wanted to create something which would be put to use, said Mr Lohiya.
Unsure of people’s reaction to his creations, he first made some sample products like chairs, stools, lampshades and so on from waste oil and chemical drums. He posted the pictures on internet and after receiving a good response from investors and consumers, he started his own enterprise ‘Priti International’ in 2005. Based in Jodhpur, this firm is export based and is currently not catering to the Indian market.
Initially he used to design, create and sell all by himself. There were times when he has gone from shop to shop to procure certain kinds of tools he needed to cut and wield. But in a year, his factory had a workforce of 400 people churning out products from waste.
Soon the work of waste collection got rigorous and the company started engaging with scrap dealers for old and unused automobile parts. From there they would buy old automobile parts – military jeeps, tractor parts, waste machine parts and old scooters – and bike-lights. The scrap parts like bonnet and leather seats of old ambassador cars would be turned into furniture pieces like sofas, the front portion of a tractor into bar/coffee tables and bike lights would become lamps.
Most of these products are for bars, cafés, pubs and restaurants where people like to see funky products. Since our work is completely design based, we look at a waste material carefully and see what innovative product can we create out of it, said Mr Lohiya
Gradually the company started collecting old gunny bags, discarded military tents, military gun boxes (both wooden and iron) and denim jeans. They would buy the tents and gun boxes from the auction ceremony conducted by the army. The end result of these waste materials were beautifully designed handbags which are durable.
On a daily basis we almost make use of 40-50 automobile and around 400 military waste. Nobody does anything with such products other than piling it on the already overflowing landfills. We are putting it to good use, said Mr Lohiya.
Priti International is currently providing its service to 36 countries and has a total turnover of $8 million. It even has a retail showroom in China.
After seeing the growing demand for the products over internet, the firm is planning to enter Indian market soon. They are also in talks with online retailers like Flipkart and Pepperfry in this regard and plan to open two showrooms, one in Mumbai and the other in Bengaluru as the company feels that these two cities have a great potential for their creations.
After facing repetitive failures, I feel immensely happy about my firm doing well. Not only that, I am glad to be able to contribute towards Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s initiative Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and also bring foreign exchange revenue to the country, said Mr Lohiya.