This Pune-based Startup Is Creating Value Added Products Out Of Crop Residue For Furniture And Packaging Applications
Being the second-largest agro-based economy with year-round crop cultivation, India generates a large amount of agricultural waste. Million tons of agricultural residue is produced every year, and a lot of it is burnt, leading to massive environmental damage.
To provide a solution for the environmental damage caused by crop burning, sibling duo Shubham Singh and Himansha Singh started crop waste management startup Craste. The Pune-based crop waste management startup repurposes crop waste into paper products, moulded packaging, packaging, and particle boards. It also helps farmers make additional revenue.
Startup Story: Craste | A Green, Sustainable Packaging Company
Started by sibling duo Shubham Singh and Himansha Singh, Craste is a Pune-based crop waste management startup creating value-added products from crop residue for furniture and packaging applications. The startup is operating under the company name FUMA Labs Private Limited.
Operating on the B2B model, the startup sells boards and packaging materials and works on research and development to create custom-made packaging solutions for its clients.
How Craste Started?
While doing a corporate job, Shubham was bit by the entrepreneurial bug and desired to walk down the entrepreneurial path. Shubham went on to complete a postgraduate degree and also completed an entrepreneurship course from Imperial College, London.
“I was sitting in the Imperial College library one day and reading the newspaper that stated Delhi was one of the most polluted cities in the world and the problem of stubble burning. A part of my research at that time was already connected to biomass so I wondered if something could done with the crop waste instead of burning it down.”
On further research regarding crop residue and the burning problem, he discovered that machinery to clear the residue was expensive, and manual clearing was time-consuming. And because of this, farmers resorted to burning down the stubble. Shubham also found out that India is one of the largest importers of timber.
He then conceptualised recycling the crop waste to manufacture engineered boards that could be used to make furniture. After that, Shubham Singh, along with Himansha Singh, started Craste in 2018.[Read: Leveraging Technology, These Entrepreneurs Are Simplifying The Used Car Mess In India]
USP Of Craste
Working towards crop waste management, Craste uses crop waste to make materials for packaging and furniture applications, thus reducing CO2 emissions. In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the startup is providing additional revenue to the farmers.
Purchasing the agricultural waste from the farmers at Rs 6 per kg, the startup then recycles this waste to make packaging materials and engineered boards for furniture. These engineered particle boards are free of formaldehyde (a strong-smelling, colourless gas used in pressed-wood products and is harmful to human health).
Advancing in the segment, Craste is also building packaging solutions using crop residue. Shubham adds,
“We developed a patent-pending technology, Fumasolv, to extract a material called Lignin from crop residue to develop packaging solutions. We provide customised packaging solutions to our clients.”
Present Situation Of Craste
The startup recently got a central government grant under RAFTAAR scheme where its partner is Punjab Agriculture Unit, Ludhiana, to set up a pilot unit. Apart from this, the startup has received several grants such as Biotech Ignition Grant (BIRAC), BIRAC SOCH Award, and AB InBev Grant, among others.
Though the startup refused to disclose details about its clientel, it revealed that it was working with Anheuser-Busch (global and India teams) and Stanley Black & Decker for developing custom packaging solutions.
As per Shubham, Craste is looking to raise funding by the end of 2021, part of which will be used to set up an R&D centre. The R&D centre will accelerate Craste’s research on products that can be made using agricultural wastes.
Additionally, the Pune-based crop waste management startup wants to scale up its business using the franchise model in the next five years.
“We will also be looking at global expansion as we have recorded interest from Africa, Europe, and US.”
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