Dharaksha Ecosolutions: Turning Crop Residue into Eco-friendly Packaging
Dharaksha Ecosolutions, a Delhi-based start-up founded in 2020, is revolutionizing the packaging industry with its eco-friendly products made from crop stubble waste. The founders, Arpit Dhupar and Anand Bodh, both graduates in computer science and mathematics, envisioned a company that combats two major environmental challenges: stubble burning and plastic pollution. By creating sustainable packaging materials that can be composted after use, Dharaksha is not only reducing waste but also adding value to what was once considered agricultural refuse.
This innovative venture aligns with the global trend of utilizing agri-waste as a resource for food packaging, fostering the principles of a circular economy and diminishing environmental impact.
Agri-waste is a treasure trove of compounds like cellulose, starch, protein, and lignin, which can be converted into versatile biopolymers. These biopolymers, when blended or modified, result in packaging materials that are both functional and sustainable. This approach not only valorizes waste from crop residues and other agricultural by-products but also provides an alternative revenue stream for farmers and processors.
Dharaksha Ecosolutions’ range of products includes coatings, films, and rigid packaging suitable for various sectors. The process involves collecting crop stubble from farms, transforming it into granules, and then using these granules as a substitute for conventional plastics and bioplastics. The result is home-compostable products that degrade naturally within six months.
The company’s research team, incubated at the Regional Center for Bio-Technology (RCB), plays a crucial role in these innovations. With a focus on creating high-quality, practical products, the team comprises experienced scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs dedicated to sustainable technologies.
Dharaksha’s achievements have not gone unnoticed. The company has been honored with accolades such as the UN Young Champions of the Earth 2020, the Global Innovation Award 2020, and the India Smart Grid Forum Award 2020. Collaborating with prestigious institutions like the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research, and the Ministry of Environment, Forest, and Climate Change, Dharaksha is scaling up its operations to reach a broader market.
However, transforming agri-waste into packaging is not without challenges. The collection, transportation, and storage of agri-waste require efficient and cost-effective systems. The processing of this waste into biopolymers is energy-intensive and complex. Moreover, technical and regulatory barriers, like standardization and certification of biodegradability, present additional hurdles. Despite these challenges, Dharaksha Ecosolutions stands as a testament to the potential of agri-waste in creating sustainable packaging solutions, thus inspiring more entrepreneurs and innovators in this field.
In summary, Dharaksha Ecosolutions, under the visionary leadership of Arpit Dhupar and Anand Bodh, is at the forefront of an environmental revolution. Their tagline, “पर्यावरण की रक्षा, दुनियां की सुरक्षा।” (Protecting the environment, securing the world), reflects their commitment to a greener, more sustainable future. By turning crop residue into eco-friendly packaging, Dharaksha is not just addressing the issue of waste management but is also contributing to the global movement towards environmental sustainability.
How Dharaksha Ecosolutions is going to help the farmers and Indian agriculture economy?
In parts of India, farmers often resort to burning crop residue, particularly after harvesting paddy, due to the lack of feasible alternatives for disposal. This practice contributes to severe air pollution and environmental degradation. Dharaksha’s model offers a sustainable solution by using this stubble waste as a raw material, thereby discouraging stubble burning.
By purchasing crop stubble, which is typically considered agricultural waste, Dharaksha provides farmers with an additional source of income. This can help improve the financial stability of farmers, especially small and marginal ones, who form a significant part of the Indian agricultural sector.
Dharaksha Ecosolutions’ business model is an example of a circular economy, where waste materials are repurposed, creating a closed-loop system. This approach can inspire other industries to adopt similar practices, leading to a more sustainable overall economy.
The collection, processing, and manufacturing of biodegradable materials from crop residue can create new jobs in rural areas, where employment opportunities are often limited. This can help alleviate rural poverty and prevent urban migration.