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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Irked by plastic waste in surroundings, Goa-based startup develops eco-friendly product solutions





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Sachin Gangadharan is the founder of LaFabrica Craft Pvt Ltd. Founded in early 2020, they design, craft and distribute innovative biodegradable packaging and eco-friendly product solutions with an aim of reducing the dependency on plastic. Their current product range includes Heavy Duty & Daily Use Paper Bags, heat sealable Bio Pouches, Extrusion Films & Paper Wraps made with PLA, and biodegradable single or multi use Bios Masks made from 100% acid free paper. In addition to their in-house products, they also provide brand specific packaging design & sourcing services.

How did you get the idea of designing heavy duty, daily use paper bags?
I have a background in architecture however have been focusing largely on developing designs for paper & packaging for the past 3-4 years. To be honest, I was frustrated with the extent of plastic waste in my surroundings and was convinced there could be a better way.

As stated in a recent study conducted by the Un-Plastic Collective (UPC): “India generates 9.46 million tonnes of plastic waste annually, of which 40 per cent remains uncollected and 43 per cent is used for packaging, most of which is single-use.” Now despite an increase in plastic bans around the world, there has been no design interventions in the space of paper bags or paper packaging to improve its overall quality or decrease its per piece price. Therefore, I knew there was potential to create a better product that could be a direct replacement for plastic. So after countless trials and many many hours of folding, I landed upon a design and innovative folding technique that transforms the classic paper bag into a heavy duty, reusable carrying solution that can carry real weight, including wet items & is 100% recyclable.

What all challenges did you face initially?
As we currently produce all of our bags through self help groups which enables us to train & employ local women in our area, our greatest challenge in launching our Humble Paper Bag series has been setting a competitive price point in the early stages of development due to a limited production capacity. That and increasing consumer awareness towards the importance of banning plastics and adopting biodegradable alternatives.

Where can we get these extra-durable paper bags?
All LaFabrica products, including our Heavy Duty paper bags, can be ordered by filling out the contact form on our website: https://www.lafabricacraft.com/contact as each batch is custom made according to our client’s requirements.

From where do you get the funding?
Up until now, we’ve been a fully bootstrapped company. However, we’re also in conversation with various venture capitalists and independent investors interested in supporting the growth of our business. Therefore, our current focus is on getting all of our internal systems in place to ensure any substantial external funding comes into the company at the right time and for the right reasons.

How is the response so far?
The response has been amazing. We’ve received an immense amount of support for our work over the past year and could not be more grateful. Be it from brands looking to shift away from plastic or feedback from fellow biodegradable packaging manufacturers and other individuals working in this space, it’s clear that this is a growing market and that people are ready to make the switch.

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