New Delhi: ‘Everyone can do their bit for the environment, one just needs the will to do it,’ with this as her motto, Renuka Shah from Mumbai who is an interior stylist by profession started her eco-friendly venture Jalebi in 2014. Through her venture, 33-year-old waste warrior sells stationery items – pencils, notebooks, envelops that after usage instead of ending up in the garbage pile like the traditional products, grows into a plant. Renuka’s aim is to reduce the waste load from the overfilled landfills, and, secondly, to save the trees from being cut. Till now because of her initiative, Renuka has planted more than 3 lakhs trees in the country. Here is how Renuka is converting waste to wealth.
The Green Idea: From Where It All Began
Speaking to NDTV about her green journey Renuka Shah said,
Since my childhood, I was very environmentally conscious. Eco-friendly things always interested me. I took a sabbatical back in 2014 as I was expecting my first baby, it was then, I started exploring eco-friendly initiatives.
Renuka began her research in the year 2014 and decided she wants to change the way of writing in India by making people switch things like wooden pencils, bookmarks, and notebooks that harm the environment with the greener alternatives.
I researched and came up with the idea of seed paper – a special type of paper that when sowed in the soil grows into a plant. This concept which is quite known internationally, but remains unexplored in India. I focused on stationery, because everyone uses it and through my initiative I wanted to target more and more people.
In the same year, Renuka figured out a cost-effective manufacturing unit of seed-paper in Jaipur and set-up the two factories – one in Pune and the other one in Mumbai.
Underprivileged women in these factories helped us assemble the products – pencils, notebooks and envelopes. We have kept the product line limited as we want to first focus on these products and then move ahead, explained Renuka.
All About The Green Initiative Jalebi
Today, Jalebi’s paper products incorporate a variety of everyday herbs and produce, including tomatoes, fennel, brinjal, lettuce, tulsi, marigold, coriander and mustard among other plants. The products are available online on their official site and other online e-stores. The products start at a cost price of Rs 150 and go up to Rs 500 and are being sold across India.
“We are selling grow me pencil (a box of 10 pencils) at a cost price of Rs 449, grow me notebooks for Rs 159 and 249. The other products we are focusing on are bookmarks and envelops,” said Renuka.
Highlighting how the products are turned into plants, Renuka said,
“The concept is simple, once the product is used, instead of throwing it in a dustbin, we ask people to put it in a pot with soil and continuously water it. The paper has a seed inside, in 20-22 days’ time, the seed starts germinating and the paper waste is converted into a plant.”
With a hope to take her eco-friendly venture to greater heights and make it a pan-India movement – where every individual is using greener stationery items, Renuka signs off by saying,
If each one of us adopt even one green practice, half of the job to make our country clean will be done. Waste will not vanish from the country in one day, but if we all contribute towards the cause of Swachh India, there is no way our country will not meet its target of a clean nation by 2019.