Click to download PDF: Origiin NEWSLETTER JULY 2017
EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Ms. Jyoti Pahadsingh, Co-Founder, greenBUG™
Currently incubated at NSRCEL IIM Bangalore, “greenBUG” is a start-up founded together by Mr. Arun Balachandran and Ms. Jyoti Pahadsingh. greenBUG is creating a buzz in the market with their bags which are eco-friendly, convenient and flexible garbage bin liners. Made of recycled newspapers and natural glue, the bags are compliant to waste segregation rules. The greenBUG bag is produced by home-bound disadvantaged women, most of whom have few other opportunities to earn a living. So, when you use these bags, you tread the earth softer, and help green up the lives of less fortunate folks.
Origiin got candid with the co-founder of greenBUG, Ms. Jyoti Pahadsingh who told us all about their product and company.
Excerpts from the interview:
ORIGIIN: The greenBug bags are just paper garbage liners with a unique design. Can you please explain to our readers about the unique design and how it is different when compared to other paper bags?
MS. JYOTI: Newspaper bags have been in the market for decades, but what is commonly seen are shopping bags or covers for small items. greenBUG dustbin liners are unlike any other paper bags. They are designed specifically for their purpose. They are strong, flexible, and can take the shape of any bin. The biggest plus point of the design is its reasonable ability to handle wet kitchen waste. The bags owe these qualities to their design. The material itself – used newspaper – is not modified or coated, so their ability to decompose quickly and harmlessly is not compromised. This is an important attribute for a daily consumable.
ORIGIIN: Kindly take us through your journey and experiences associated with this particular product.
MS. JYOTI: The journey has been long, intense, and satisfying so far, and yet, it has just begun. I will try to share some key insights. After designing the greenBUG bag and receiving a very positive response to our pilot test in the market, we grappled with the question of production. One option was to mechanize the process. The capital investment required would be moderate and production cost would be minimal.
The other option was to make it an employment scheme for the less fortunate, making the venture far more meaningful. Right at the outset, we decided that our producers would all be women. We believe that employing women had a far greater impact on family well-being. This was especially so for women who were unskilled, homebound and had no other economic opportunity.
We chose option two and paid them a fair wage. We had to continuously simplify the production process and achieve acceptable quality at sizable quantities using simple, small-sized, home-friendly stencils and tools. We handheld them from being able to make just 2 bags an hour to churning out 25 bags or more an hour.
On the market front, it was a different challenge altogether. Our insistence on paying fair wages to a workforce with low skill level resulted in intense pressure on our budgets for other necessary activities. The market is nascent and the product extremely price-sensitive, but, with careful balancing and support from our channel partners, we have managed to pull it through so far.
ORIGIIN: Can you please tell us briefly about greenBug as a company?
MS. JYOTI: greenBUG came into being on the belief that most people are environmentally conscious, but struggle to be earth-friendly due to a lack of practical and affordable alternatives. greenBUG’s aim is to make things easier for people to make the switch.
ORIGIIN: What inspired you to pin down the name “greenBug”?
MS. JYOTI: What inspired “greenBUG”? Many things: We’d been reading for years that bugs are a good indicator of the health of an ecosystem. Bugs are cute. BUG is a convenient acronym for Bangalore Urban Garbage, the middle three words between the anchor words “green” and “bag”. Hence.
ORIGIIN: It is such a competitive world out there. We want to know how important is it for you to protect your design using intellectual property rights?
MS. JYOTI: We strongly believe that it is important to protect unique designs. But in India, getting access to specialists in this area has been a challenge for startups.
ORIGIIN: What are some of things you like to do to keep your mind off work? Amidst your busy schedule, do you take time out for your hobbies?
MS. JYOTI: greenBUG *is* our hobby! And that’s a joke only partially. Arun and I, both, are business consultants. We started this as our passion to promote green and responsible living. Subsequently, this has become a primary engagement for us, and yes, the schedule is very busy. We both enjoy quiet time, travel, books. But lately, it has not been very easy to get it together. With greenBUG, many things don’t happen the way we’d like, there are delays and frustrations, but there is nothing else that we would rather work on.
ORIGIIN: Thank you so much, for your valuable inputs and time spared for Origiin. I am sure our readers will thoroughly enjoy it. Wish you all the best for all your future endeavors.
MS. JYOTI: Thank you!