Vijay C Roy
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 13
At a time when startups are banking on disrupting technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Machine learning, three startups in Himachal Pradesh have given a new dimension to the startup culture in the state by making money out of waste materials such as flowers offered by devotees at temples, pine leaves and industrial waste.
While Una-Based Yuvan Vendors is making organic incense sticks from used flowers, Kangra-based Him Pine is making baskets, trays, mats and flower pots from pine leaves. Another Paonta Sahib-based startup 'Scrabid' has made online trading platform for bulk scrap materials generated by industries.
Started last year, Yuvan Vendors (P) Ltd collects flowers offered by devotees from temples and make organic incense sticks out of that. “On an average, we collect around 40-50 kg of flowers offered at nearby temples and process it to convert into incense sticks. In this process, the flowers used at religious places and functions also get a new life in the form of incense sticks,” said Ravinder Prashar, director, Yuvan Vendors (P) Ltd.
The idea also provides a novel solution to the problem of disposal of flowers offered by devotees at places of worship.
Under the process, petals and essential oils from flowers are used to make organic incense without using charcoal or any other synthetic chemical. During the process, even unused parts of flowers are used to make compost.
The company has developed nearly half a dozen fragrances and marketing the products through Amazon, Flipkart and Better India.
Similarly, Kangra-based Him Pine is marketing products such as baskets, trays, mats, flower pots and pen stands made from pine leaves through the state tourism department.
“I was working since 2007 all alone but real transformation came in 2017 when I started training rural women to make products from waste pine leaves. The art not only gave a new source of income for rural households but also helped in preventing forest fires,” said Sudershna Kumari, founding partner, Him Pine.
She said the rural women collect these pine leaves from nearby areas which are found in abundance and then make these products. Currently, Sudershna employs around 30 women.
Currently, she is an incubatee at CSIR-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology, Palampur, and working on product improvement.
To make scrap sector more efficient, profitable and organised, Paonta Sahib-based Scrabid has introduced mobile app and a website. “If a customer wants to sell or buy bulk scrap, he has to simply upload a post of the scrap or bid on an existing post. After that, he can contact the buyer or seller and confirm the deal. “Our startup is one-year-old and currently having more than 500 users nationwide. It is still in BETA phase and more new features will be added soon,” said founder Praful Chauhan.
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