Indonesia is the world’s second largest plastic polluter as the usage of plastic is rampant in the country. It was strange that we did not realise the consequences until we came back to India. Even spoons were covered in plastic. It triggered us to make some lifestyle changes.
As a child, I would always throw away my pencil once I used half. It was uncomfortable to write with them, but the real reason was peer pressure, as most of my classmates did the same. For children, it is difficult to understand or even process the fact that eight million trees are cut every year to make 20 billion pencils worldwide. Unfortunately, even now, grown-ups fail to realise the massive deforestation globally.
However, when Akshata Bhadranna and Rahul Pagad from Bengaluru learnt about the grim figures, it served as a wake-up call that eventually gave birth to Dopolgy in September 2018. It is an organisation that sells eco-friendly products.
While this was the trigger, a series of events motivated the couple to switch to an eco-friendly lifestyle.
After moving back to Bengaluru from Indonesia, they saw the extent of plastic in household items, including utensils, home decor, clothes and shoes, all of which were transported from Indonesia to India in plastic packaging.
Recalling that the move served as a wake-up call for them, Akshata tells The Better India: “Indonesia is the world’s second largest plastic polluter as the usage of plastic is rampant in the country. It was strange that we did not realise the consequences until we came back to India. Even spoons were covered in plastic. It triggered us to make some lifestyle changes.” It started with the couple reading and watching videos on plastic pollution, which pushed them to give up plastic bags. Gradually, eco-friendly glasses, cutlery, soaps and loofah, replaced the plastic ones. The couple also started composting wet garbage at home.
During the switch, they saw how costly the eco-friendly products were, “It is not feasible to purchase a bamboo brush at Rs 200 if we change it every four months. Eco-friendly products, unfortunately, are considered a luxury. We wanted to make it a common man’s product. And so, with our savings, we started Dopolgy,” she says.
Here’s how it’s done
- The newspaper is cut into pieces of 18×18 cm. The lead is manually rolled on that paper and deposited in a rolling machine. The pencils are allowed to dry naturally for 30 minutes.
- Dried pencils are then put into a dryer for one hour at 220° Celsius.
- Polishing machines give the final finish to make the pencil smooth. Finally, the product goes through the cutting machine, where it is cut into determined sizes.
- To make the process completely eco-friendly, the pencils are packaged in compostable boxes of craft paper.
- So far, the duo has manufactured 10,000 pencils by recycling around 6,000 newspapers!
Apart from this, the duo also sources different types of seed paper like jasmine, marigold, coriander and onion from wholesale manufacturers and converts them into beautiful card pieces. Other products from these paper varieties include wedding cards, invitation cards, postcards, visiting cards, among others.