The world has been enamoured with this versatile commodity since the Chinese devised the method of converting wood pulp into paper sheets. However, this procedure is both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it provides us with everything from package labels to money to drawing papers. However, millions of trees are felled each year to create a paper that may be used and thrown away in under 10 minutes. It takes a lifetime to grow a tree. Is there any way out?
Of course, we can do our best to decrease. Because printed paper, with its dyes, glues, and inks, produces dark and rough sheets when recycled, recycling is a halfway answer. There is also re-use. In India, we are undoubtedly pioneering in this area. Old notebook paper is used to wrap items on the street, the old newspaper is used to line stores, and almost every home has an old paper glued together as a writing pad. These techniques, however, are insufficient.
Every year, tens of thousands of trees are felled in India to manufacture paper. The paper is utilised and then thrown away. Spriha Chokhani, a designer based in Jaipur, has discovered a way to decrease paper waste by upcycling it into furniture and other home goods. This is where upcycling comes in, and it’s made fascinating by folks like Spriha Chokhani.
The Story of Pulp Factory- 100% Biodegradable Furniture
You may have seen individuals making paper art or utilising recycled paper bags out of waste paper. Spriha Chokhani, a Jaipur-based designer, transforms waste paper into 100 percent biodegradable furniture. Spriha, a product designer and entrepreneur located in Jaipur, is the creator of Pulp Factory, a design firm that produces things out of waste paper. When Spriha was a student at a design school 10 years ago, she had the concept of producing furniture out of scrap paper. They had to either work under someone or work independently as part of the project they were given.
She created a line of 100% biodegradable papier-mache furniture. They offer six distinct kinds of furniture that can hold up to 80-100 kg of weight. Furthermore, they are constructed of natural materials and are water-resistant. She now offers the same, as well as pouches, totes, and box bags made from paper textiles, under the Pulp Factory name.
Jaipur entrepreneur turns waste paper into furniture
Spriha was born and raised in Assam before moving to Bengaluru to study Product Design at the Srishti Institute of Art, Design, and Technology. After opting to utilise papier mache for her three-month graduation project, she embarked on a lengthy period of experimenting. Spriha then began experimenting with a variety of materials, including corn starch, potato starch, and even rice. Finally, she decided on tapioca glue, but she quickly realised that it would emit an unpleasant odour. She had completed her degree and wanted to take a break to try her hand at pottery.
Pulp Factory (a name she came up with 2010) was always on her mind since she saw the potential in the concept. She led Pulp Factory into its inaugural exhibition in 2012, showcasing goods created with a blend of odourless natural glues. She presented these goods during the India Design Week in Delhi in 2014. The next year, Spriha relocated to Jaipur to do research on various types of paper. She had attended school in Jaipur and was familiar with the pink city. Pulp Factory was registered in 2017 when her cousin, Bharat Chokhani, joined her as a partner.
Continuous exploration gave me the confidence to put my idea out into the world: Spriha Chokhani
Today, the Pulp Factory has grown into a larger company that aspires to replace common things with more environmentally friendly alternatives. Pulp Factory’s activities are run out of a tiny cottage near her home in Jaipur. Only five persons make up the core crew. A master weaver turns the paper yarn into fabric, while another member of the team creates paper goods like bags. Spriha and another employee handmade the furniture, which takes a lot of suns, so they relax on the patio every day. The most significant raw material for this is waste paper pulp (mainly newspaper), which is obtained from local kabadiwalas. Each piece of furniture is upcycled from at least five to eight kg of waste paper and takes almost 25 days to be ready. Even for packaging, Spriha informs that they use agricultural waste to make small cushions, which are used as padding.These sustainable values and unique products have drawn the attention of customers.
The story of a One-woman army
Spriha shares some of the obstacles she’s experienced on her way to starting her own business. “It’s difficult to work as a woman. People don’t take you seriously, so you have to be firm in order to express yourself,” she adds. Aside from that, she says it’s often tough to explain to people how the papier-mache furniture truly works. However, she immediately adds that, with the rise in eco-consciousness and the resulting social media buzz, conveying the notion is now simpler. With the simple motto of “Design – Follow – Meaning”, Pulp Factory looks carefully at the social structure and economy of the Indian market and uses design to encourage environmental benefits and economic growth.
Ever thought of sitting on a chair made from your newspaper?
Now, Spriha says they’re experimenting with using paper fabric to make fresh items. She also wants to speed up manufacturing while also collaborating closely with schools and other organisations, where she intends to eventually put ecological furniture. It’s soul-crushing to live in a society where artists and their blood, sweat, and tears are only grudgingly respected. Spriha, on the other hand, is upbeat: “The air is changing. Consumer awareness and consciousness are rising. We’re getting there, whether it’s packaged vs. fresh food, mill-produced vs. hand-spun yarn, cycling vs. carpooling. The future appears to be a huge ocean of possibilities. “My company is a drop in the ocean.”