Project Haritah

 

Plastic pollution is the accumulation of plastic objects and particles in the Earth's environment that adversely affects wildlife, wildlife habitat, and humans. Killing millions and millions of humans as well as animals is a clear indication of how noxious plastic pollution is. These modern conveniences are so ubiquitous and so quickly thrown out that they hardly register in our minds. But single-use plastics come with a steep environmental price, one that we’ll be paying off for millennia. Single-use plastics are a glaring example of the problems with throwaway culture. Instead of investing in quality goods that will last, we often prioritize convenience over durability and consideration of long-term impacts. Our reliance on these plastics means we are accumulating waste at a staggering rate.

Plastic pollution free world is not a choice but a commitment to life - a commitment to the next generation and we at Enactus SAC have embarked on a journey to curb this situation with our ‘Project Haritah’. Seeing the devastating condition of our planet, we realised that there is an immediate need to come up with an innovative solution to tackle the ever-growing problem around us, and every small step that we make, it will create an everlasting and effective difference around us. Sustainability is going to be the survival stunt in the near future. Project Haritah is a vocal initiative in the same line. The only way out of the voracious cycle of plastic pollution is to substitute it with better and more sustainable articles. Project Haritah is going to be of substantial aid in discarding the use of single use plastic to a gargantuan level. We as a society have always resonated with the common notion of creating sustainable and much more nature-oriented substitutes around us. Seeing the need and the opportunity, we introduced our project Haritah with the aim to bring about a change. We have become stern believers of the innate potential within us and with time, our youth has shown remarkable interest in choosing environmentally friendly products in place of plastic made products.

Working tirelessly to replace single use plastic with reusable bamboo articles, we wish to bring about a change. Project Haritah unequivocally endorses the UNDP goals and works on the manoeuvre to make things better, to make life sustainable. The UNDP goals fulfilled by Project Haritah are Goal 14 which focuses on preventing and significantly reducing marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution and goal number 15 which seeks to protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss. These are the insights which fuelled us towards our motive.

Project Haritah is all about creating substantial results by procurement of eco-friendly and natural raw materials like bamboo and creating daily use articles from it. Our prime focus is to replace the usage of one-time use plastic in one of the biggest and most flourishing industries of our country, the food industry. India is a bustling country with vibrant fast food servers hence producing humongous amount of non-biodegradable waste in the form of single use plastic.  In a populous country like India, the utility of single-use plastic pollution is extreme. This is where our Project Haritah takes its form. Here at Enactus SAC, most of us hail from the urban setups of metropolitan states, mostly from Delhi. Delhi is world-famous for its finger liking street food and exotic fast food servers. The food industry in India is gargantuan and also has a humongous turnover of plastic waste over time. These end up choking drains fed in by the stray animals or worse, burnt to poisonous and noxious fumes. This is something that needs to be dealt with which made us ideate amongst ourselves and take an initiative.

We uphold the virtue of community outreach and with the propulsive force of making a difference to the society, we have successfully generated a source of stable income for 6 Chick makers and daily wage carpenters by ensuring them pivotal role in our manufacturing process. With the mission to keep a check on the use of single use plastic products, we targeted some of the most prominent food outlets in the city. By spreading awareness about the ill effects of plastic, we successfully induced them to replace their products with better and more sustainable alternatives.

With an effort to inspire people to live a sustainable life, we targeted one of the leading industries of the world, the food industry and we aspire to revolutionise the crockery of our country and bring about a change. At the primary stage, we have introduced Bamboo spoons, Bamboo forks, Bamboo straws and cups made up of Bamboo. Seeing the outcome of our initiative, we wish to grow and diversify our outreach as we further progress with our project Haritah.

The product is conceptualised and manufactured by chick makers and carpenters all across Delhi NCR, who were taught how to make bamboo articles in the primary stage by the volunteers of Enactus SAC. Seeing their unfortunate living conditions and their exuberance to work, we took it upon ourselves to make them self-reliant and to uplift their lives. We have successfully sustained a chain of chick makers and carpenters working with us and have empowered them to work for the betterment of our country.

The target audience for our project is the humongous food industry of our country. To be more specific, it is the various food outlets on the streets which utilises and witnesses overflowing single use plastic garbage that progressively ends up being stressful for the whole biodiversity. Project Haritah is a culminated product of intensive ideation to imply business tactics and substantial technological aid. The crucial step in our trajectory from the producer end to the consumer end is the marketing of the articles.

We have employed the 4Ps of marketing that is, Price, Place, Promotion and Product. We have enumerated the prices of our articles at a prominent range, which is not extensively high but also at the same time allows us to keep a profit margin for our further use. What gives us a competitive edge over our competitors is the price of our products. Unlike all the other options available in the market, our prices are low making it feasible for the people to include these in their everyday lives. Apart from its durability, comfort and looks, we managed to set a reasonable market price for our product. The cost of making a single Bamboo straw came upto ₹9 and we sold it to the food outlets and retail stores at ₹15 thereby making a substantial profit with every sale we made. Cost of our straws varied with change in the price of labour. 80% of these proceeds go to the Chick Makers and Carpenters and 20% of the proceeds are utilised for the functioning of our society. Cheaper and varied offering will help us capture a wider market in a short span of time. We ensured that no matter what the hurdles are, an outstanding quality of product is sold.

We are targeting food outlets, juice corners, ice-cream parlours etc.  There are the sites where the stray animals feed, on the lying litter of single use plastic overflowing on the streets. This leads to choking and long-term health hazards. The one-time use plastic, if finds its way to the water bodies further accentuates its ill effect as it gets ingested by the aquatic animals. We concentrated and targeted some of the most prominent areas of the cities which have food outlets. Currently, we are just focusing on Delhi NCR but gradually as we progress with our Project Haritah, we aspire to target metropolitan states and the neighbouring states of Delhi. 

Our bamboo products in itself are a work of art with fine quality of bamboo and rich texture. The fine detailing in our products makes it more appealing and adds its own uniqueness giving it a superior look.

The major area of concern for us was with the promotion of our products. Since there are already big players in the market, we made sure our promotion was structured in the very line of instigating the essence of sustainability and eco-friendly products amongst our audience. Project Haritah has intricately utilised the expertise of the conventional chick makers. On the suburb areas of Delhi, one can easily come across many chick makers sitting in the stalls set up with beautiful bamboo made articles. The skills and resources in this sphere were something that was already available and persistent. We aimed at transferring the knowledge of the grim reality of plastic pollution to them and urged people to join and help us in this noble cause. Amidst the pandemic, when there was not many sales of their products, we tried to make a difference to their conditions by employing them in our project. Simultaneously, in the marketing sphere we have successfully empowered and created a chain of supply between the chick makers and the distributors of the articles.

We were not only successful in promulgating the idea of project Haritah but with correct entrepreneurial actions intertwined with the passion to serve people, we impacted households through retail stores. Thus, the success of our project in due course of time can be gauged with the replacement of single use plastic in the targeted retail stores. We are also making an initiative to reach out to individual households and sell our bamboo articles to the common people through grocery stores and making them aware about the hazards of plastic and eco-friendly substitutes that they can use.

The maximum expenditure input required is in the form of purchasing raw material and the capital for preliminary processing. With the funds that we generated from the sale of our products, we plan on buying finer instruments required for preliminary processing. In the course of Project Haritah, the team has been involved extensively in various field visits ranging throughout the regions of Delhi NCR. After thorough research and complete analysis of our project, we observed that a significant part of our budget has been relocated and used for marketing the articles made.

The anticipated positive impact of our project is the awareness among our target audience regarding the negative impact of single use plastic and the ardent need to switch to eco-friendly articles. Our prime focus is to instil in people, the essence of sustainability and encourage them to make an effort for the same.

There must be a better way to make the things we want, a way that doesn’t spoil the sky, or the rain or the land. Going by this, we have come one step closer towards the dream of making a difference in the society. With utmost dedication and hard work of our team members, we have had several successful field visits under our Project Haritah, where we reached out to numerous restaurants and retail stores and delivered our reusable and eco-friendly Bamboo straws by inducing them to replace their products with better and more sustainable alternatives making it accessible to the general people who wish to make a change just like us.

We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world and this is our way of transforming the world.

Keeping up with our aim of sustainable development, we continued with our mission of replacing single use plastic articles and with the twin efforts of all the dedicated members and the propulsive force of making a difference to the society, we were successful in selling our bamboo articles in various food outlets namely Punjab Sweet Corner in Karol Bagh, Delhi, Munchkin Café in Noida and a lot more. We didn’t just restrict ourselves to food outlets but reached out to various grocery stores and retail stores namely Super Mart in Sec-50, Noida, Vyaapar kendriye in Gurgaon and many more outlets in Delhi NCR.

We successfully targeted more than 12 restaurants and food outlets and more than 10 grocery stores and retails stores all across Delhi NCR impacting more than 5000 lives.

 

We got an overwhelming response from the stores and food outlets that we collaborated with as we got frequent reorders from them indicating that our mission to reduce plastic waste and substitute it with better and more sustainable options was a success. However, this wasn’t the only factor which indicated the triumph of our project Haritah. Seeing the empowerment and upliftment of our carpenters and chick makers and their passion to make a difference was the highlight of our project and our main driving force.

A minor change in our daily routine can bring about an everlasting change in our society and with Project Haritah, we wish to inculcate in people, a sense of responsibility. When we dream alone it is only a dream, but when many dream together it is the beginning of a new reality. Together we aspire to do a lot more. This year, we pledge to choose a cleaner, plastic-free environment.

 

With Project Haritah, we wish to make life sustainable.

Team Enactus SAC,