Published: 18th June 2021
Here's how these NMIMS students are creating low-cost, eco-friendly furniture from plastic waste
Plament is a start-up that develops a unique material from plastic waste which can be then used to build eco-friendly furniture and items for interior decoration
Before the pandemic, Sunny Goyal and Unnati Mittal went on a trip to the Amarkantak Hills in Madhya Pradesh where they noticed a lot of plastic waste scattered around destroying the beauty of the place. They saw animals consuming that plastic, tourists throwing away more single-use plastics and got to know that the locals also burn plastic waste along with wood to keep themselves warm. The amount of environmental pollution shocked the two students. Returning to their campus, Narsee Monjee Institute of Management Studies in Indore, they realised the problem was all over. "We saw our friends and other students throwing single-use plastic in random places, even when those are thrown in garbage bins, none of it was being utilised or decomposed properly. There was no proper processing or recycling unit near our college and these ended up in landfills. We decided to do something about this," Sunny tells us.
And this is how Plament was born. Set up before the lockdown this year, Plament is a start-up that develops a unique material from plastic waste that can be then used to build eco-friendly furniture and items for interior decoration. The material that these students have created is 100 per cent recycled and made out of plastic waste. "We were commerce students and didn't know much how to go about the entire process. Our faculty at NMIMS helped us understand and also provided us access to the labs. We made our first prototype at our campus and within a few months of trial and experimentation, we could develop the material from plastic waste," explains Unnati.
Adding to that, Sunny says, "We collected different types of plastic waste, each one has different melting temperature. We had to figure out what kind of plastic or plastic waste would be suitable to create furniture, after that it went through several processes like compression, treated with chemicals and finally created a marble-like texture. The material is heat and water resistant and scratch-proof. The furniture made from this is low-cost as we have been able to create a standard sized table, which will cost around Rs 1600 per unit. This is much lower than what other plastic competitor brands offer and also compared to wooden furniture. And it is not as harmful as regular plastic."
Unnati and Sunny recently completed their BBA from NMIMS and received their certificates through a virtual convocation in May. Initially, the duo got into a collaboration with the municipal corporation of Indore and they helped with raw material. "Due to the second wave of COVID, the operations are not in full-swing now as we are back in our hometowns and there's no possible transportation to get the raw materials and get things made. Our first order was paperweights for our own college, after that we have also received table orders from local restaurants. An NGO also contacted us recently for around 150 tables, which we are also working towards," Sunny tells us.
As soon as things begin to normalise, the duo plans to hire more people to handle their operations as currently, it's just the two of them. "We wish to become a regular name in the furniture sector for which we need to expand our operations in next few months. We are also trying to arrange for more funds. We are focusing on research right now," concludes Unnati.