New Delhi: What do you do with someone’s wedding invitation card? What do you do with the pen or a pencil you have used completely? What do you with the notebook once it is filed? Probably you toss all these things in a dustbin or let it sit in a corner and gather dust, but what if you could get a plant out of these items, often discarded as waste? What if you could get a tulsi plant or harvest tomatoes and spinach at home from old items of use? Wondering how is this even possible? Thanks to Plantcil, a brand of Indian superheroes who has made this possible, you too can get a plant out of these items.
Recounting the start of ‘Plantcil’, a brand that provides plantable stationary, Divya Shetty, Co-founder and CEO of Plantcil, says,
In the year 2016 we started Indian Superheroes, a social enterprise that enables organic farmers to sell their produce directly to consumers and businesses, without any middlemen intervention. Also, our customers can learn organic farming from the farmers themselves. Amidst working with farmers, I and Vishnu Vardhan, the founder, realised that it is the indiscriminate cutting of trees that we are facing water crisis. And why are trees cut? For our basic day to day requirement of paper, letter cards, pencils, notepads and other things. We actually require 20 billion pencils worldwide every year and for that we cut about 7-8 million trees.
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We might have never thought of the number of trees cut to make one pencil or what happens to a pencil once it is used, but the alarming water crisis and the statistics were enough for Divya and Vishnu to ponder and come up with a viable solution – stationary with seeds infused in them and one made from newspapers and recycled paper.
For us it is a tiny pencil, but collectively, the effect is huge. Paper we use in our office is neither sent for recycling nor reused nor do we think of reducing our usage. All we care about is cleanliness around us. But the fact is, we not only need to be conscious, but responsible of our actions. And that is why we launched Plantcil, says Divya while speaking to NDTV.
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Eco-Friendly Stationary: Use It, Sow It, Nurture It
Right from pens, pencils, notebooks, scribble pads, notepads, Thank You cards, to envelopes, coasters, visiting cards, and wedding cards, every product come with seeds infused in it and therefore are plantable. Along with this, Plantcil offers bags made of plantable paper, handmade paper, cotton bag and jute bag.
Talking about how plantable products are made, Divya says,
There is a cycle we follow. Every year we do harvest that is procuring seeds, store them and then use to make plantable products. The seeds can last long for a year. Seeds of different kinds are mixed with raw materials itself, so there is no chance that seeds will fall off the product or anything.
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While non-writing tip of the pencil and pen have the seeds, cover of notebook is loaded with seeds. Apart from this, all kinds of pencils are made using recycled paper and pens are made out of cardboard and hand roll newspaper.
The products start from Rs. 10 per piece and goes up to Rs. 799. The team also provides a plantable stationary kit for Rs. 1,999. All the products are available on Plantcil’s official website and are sold around the world.
Though the cost of a wedding card depends on personalisation, but it usually ranges from Rs. 32 to Rs. 80 per piece. As far as the cost of other products is concerned, it depends on the order quantity, tells Divya.
Celebrate Green Rakhi With Eco-Friendly Rakhi
After leaving their mark in plantable stationary products, this year the duo decided to introduce ‘eco-rakhi’, the one that turns into a plant. Made using seed bomb, seed paper and other raw materials, rakhis are infused with Tulsi and Marigold seeds. The eco-rakhi gift box costing Rs. 449 contains a plantable rakhi, a plantable pencil with Lupine seeds, a plantable letter with tomato seeds, roli and chawal, and a thank you letter with planting instructions.
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Every year about 80 crore rakhis are used. While celebrating the lovely festival and a strong bond between a brother and sister, unintentionally we end up generating huge amount of waste. To tackle the same, we introduced eco-rakhi gift box. From the customer point of view, it is difficult to make a green switch all of a sudden, because from all these years we have been buying different kinds of rakhis, but in just one month we have sold 4 lakh eco-rakhi gift boxes, tells Divya.
After the festivities, siblings need to sow the rakhi and other products in soil and water it regularly. The waste warrior signs off with a message,
This rakhi end the festivities in a way that a new life is born.
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NDTV – Dettol Banega Swachh India campaign lends support to the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM). Helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan, the campaign aims to spread awareness about hygiene and sanitation, the importance of building toilets and making India open defecation free (ODF) by October 2019, a target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, when he launched Swachh Bharat Abhiyan in 2014. Over the years, the campaign has widened its scope to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and menstrual hygiene. The campaign has also focused extensively on marine pollution, clean Ganga Project and rejuvenation of Yamuna, two of India’s major river bodies.