A conference on waste management during his MBA tenure, intrigued Madhur Rathi, CEO and Co-founder of RE-BELL, about the subject and he started researching more about the field. After his MBA, he joined a waste management company and learnt many more insights about it.
While working, he saw that recyclers are mixing “Virgin” or new plastic with recycled or reprocessed plastic to make products and wanted to make a product in which no “Virgin” plastic was used and it is equally or more durable than virgin plastic. Due to some family issues, he had to leave his job and come back to his hometown Amravati and there with his 3 childhood friends, he started Recycle Bell Private Limited (RE-BELL) in 2017. The company collects waste, segregate it and sell it to other recyclers for further recycling. The focus is on the dry waste component, which accounts for 20-25 percent of total garbage and is difficult to manage.
After 1.5 years of R&D, they finally launched Econiture in 2019 which recycles post-plastic waste into wood-like lumbers for furniture and home décor. They started with 20 SKUs and now we have more than 150 SKUs. Recycling garbage into new products is Re-Bell’s business model. The company’s ultimate goal is to recycle everything.
During the initial phase, we faced lots of resistance from informal sectors. Secondly, people weren’t, and largely still aren’t, segregating waste into dry and wet waste, making it more difficult to segregate it further, as inorganic and organic waste are mixed together. Due to this, resources were lost as they couldn’t be segregated. Also, it is a highly labor-intensive business and if labor is absent, segregation becomes a bottleneck process. There are machines available for segregation that require less manpower but they are costly compared to labor. Sorting and washing are important, to recycle plastics. When you have a mixture, the mechanical properties go down very quickly. So, you must obtain all the different plastics out of the waste. Therefore, sorting techniques are very important. But for some products, it is quite difficult. For instance, in the packaging you have multilayer plastics, with sometimes four to seven kinds of different layers, separating them isn’t possible. That is a big issue in recycling plastic packaging.
In 2017, we started with 5000 kg per month of waste collection. Today, we are doing 80000 per month. We started as a waste management company and in 2019 we launched our own recycled product “Econiture”.
We have collected and segregated more than 2500 Metric Tons of dry waste. We have recycled more than 20000 kg of plastic waste into furniture. We have sold more than 1800 units of Econiture furniture to more than 1200 unique customers across 25 states and 5 union territories. According to BIR, we have saved more than 16000 Metric Tons of CO2E(Equivalent). We collect waste from more than 300 waste generators and are connected to more than 200 waste pickers in and around Amravati. We are also in a barter model with 10 municipal councils where we purchase segregated dry waste from them and provide them with furniture of an equivalent amount.
- 2500+ MT- Waste diverted to recycling
- 20000+ Kg– Plastic waste recycled into furniture
- 300+ Waste generators connected
- 30% Increase in income of waste picker due to our efficient collection system and fair pricing –
- 70% of our workforce are women
- 2100+ Cu. ft of wood saved by making recycled plastic furniture
- 16000+ MT of CO2 Equivalent mitigated
To divert the maximum amount of dry waste possible from the landfill towards recycling.
The core vision is to create a better environment for one and all through innovative ways of waste management. We aim at producing eco-friendly products at affordable rates to bring in a sustainable and efficient circular economy system for dry waste management along with all the relevant stakeholders (formal as well as informal). Econiture envisions providing recycling solutions to every recyclable and creating an efficient eco-friendly business for the long run.