'Wealth out of Waste': Meet the people behind TrashCon who are turning non-recyclable plastic into furniture

The company creates durable, recyclable sheets that are an alternative to plyboard. The WoW – Wealth out of Waste – sheets are used to make different kinds of furniture, including a bench for students in government schools.

By Amrutha Kosuru  Published on  17 April 2022 6:07 AM GMT
Wealth out of Waste: Meet the people behind TrashCon who are turning non-recyclable plastic into furniture

Hyderabad: Did you know that a chair or a bookshelf can be made by recycling hundreds and thousands of discarded chips and biscuit packet covers? Chips, biscuits, and other food covers all fall under the multi-layered plastics (MLPs) category that are unfortunately non-recyclable and makeup 75% of all plastic trash generated.

Indian waste recycling equipment manufacturer TrashCon has found a way to recycle non-recyclable plastic. The company creates durable, recyclable sheets that are an alternative to plyboard. The WoW – Wealth out of Waste – sheets are used to make different kinds of furniture, including a bench for students in government schools.





In 2017, when the Swachh Bharat mission was announced to make the country's streets waste-free, Nivedha R.M, the founder and CEO of TrashCon, wanted to do the same too. She saw that there was a lot of trash on the streets and she began cleaning it up. But the plastics kept coming back.

She realized that there was no proper solution to clear the trash on the streets. "MLPs are the biggest menace and sadly, almost 75% of all plastics generated are predominantly MLPs and single-use plastics," Nivedha says.

She started thinking about a permanent solution to get rid of the MLPs. She received Rs. 2 lakhs from her mother, a school teacher, and Nivedha began looking for various solutions to eradicate the MLP menace in the country.


Nivedha and Saurabh Jain, the co-founder of TrashCon, settled firmly on two main objectives: to recover plastics and recycle them, give them some value. "You see, MLPs are plastics that nobody wants and that is why they are not even collected by the waste pickers. We wanted to give them value," explains Nivedha.

She adds, "Manual segregation of waste is humanely not possible. Even if it was, it is inhuman. The MLPs are mixed with other kinds of trash such as food, sanitary products, and whatnot."

TrashBot to segregate waste

After spending several years in landfills and dump yards, TrashCon launched 'TrashBot', a patented material recovery system that recovers plastics, thereby preventing them from ending up in oceans, landfills, or getting burnt.

"Our TrashBot (launched 2.5 years ago) can recover plastic from mixed unsegregated trash with minimal manual intervention," Niveda says. The TrashBot works completely on electricity and is currently preventing 500 tons of waste per day from entering the landfills.

TrashBots are of different types. Some collect about five tonnes per day which caters to a gram panchayat and some 200 tonnes per day which caters to a city.

The TrashBot is currently fully functional across 20 cities in India. In Andhra Pradesh, it is deployed in Kakinada and Rajahmundry municipalities.


What after segregation?

"This is not all. We didn't stop here. We understood that if MLPs are not recycled they will find their way into the streets again. So, we created another technology that would recycle all plastics that were recovered, including MLPs, into sheets," Niveda says.

This recycling technology is a unique technology to recycle biodegradable waste into bio-fuel by partners companies and is also the world's first technology to recycle non-biodegradable waste into WoW sheets.

"The device that is used to make the WoW sheets are zero-emission tech," she says and adds, "Further, we do not use any chemical binders in making WoW sheets as that would prevent us from recycling them again. These sheets can be recycled any number of times."

The WoW sheets can be used to make doors, pots for plants, and even as an alternative to aluminum shuttering in construction. They are priced at a very nominal price which is 30-40% less than green plywood. Nivedha says that WoW sheets not only solve the problem of using plywood but also reduce the need for cutting trees.



They are also water and termite resistant. They have also used the sheets to make benches for several government schools across the country.

"We were once explaining the process of making school furniture out of plastic to government school children. A child was astonished and happy that the trash outside his house could be made into something so useful. This is the kind of behavioral change and impact Trashcon aims to make," she adds.

TrashCon supplies the sheets to various big construction companies in various countries..

TrashCon is a globally-awarded technology-first organisation helping governments and private organisations across the world to dispose of the waste in a responsible manner and become zero waste using its revolutionary technology-enabled solutions. They have been invited to the World Economic Forum 2022 this May.


"The idea and vision of TrashCon is that 20 years down the lane when I am telling this story to my daughter and saying 'Beta, once upon a time there was trash,' my daughter should say, 'What is trash?'" Nivedha says.

TrashCon is one of the many companies that will participate in [email protected] 3.0 ((Innovations & New Knowledge in Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) which is going to be held in Hyderabad in May 2022. [email protected] is a unique platform instituted by Telangana Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MAUD) department in partnership with Administrative Staff College of India for collaboraion between startups/innovators, mentors, academic institutions, non-profits, funders, and state/city governments.

NewsMeter is the formal media partner for [email protected] 3.0. This article has been written by NewsMeter in association with the Administration Staff College of India (ASCI).

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