Urbanmeisters.com is always on the look out for green innovation stories, people & solutions that we can present to our readers. Ideas that help make green living easy, fun & dispel the « MISSION IMPOSSIBLE » tag attached to an eco friendly lifestyle. Today’s feature is one such fabulous green idea from India- Green Paper Works- an innovative startup making beautiful paper out of wine industrial waste- grape. But first let’s get some perspective on industrial waste management shall we?
INDUSTRIAL WASTE POLLUTION & MANAGEMENT
- Industrial waste makes up half of the total waste generated every year worldwide.
- 40% of all industrial waste ends up in landfills every year.
Manufacturing & production generates tonnes of waste which is disposed of as cheaply as possible. And mind you this is not just a « developing » world problem. China has one of the world’s largest industrialized populations but it still produces 1/3 of the hazardous industrial waste of USA. It’s not too hard to see how industrial waste impacts environment but still to break it down for you- this industrial waste impacts our water systems– toxic chemicals and dyes polluting water bodies. Industrial waste dumping in landfills is another area of concern- much of it takes years to decompose and hazardous materials seep into drinking water tables & soil. Interestingly, the largest component of industrial waste is actually paper products- nearly 1/3 of it which is very recyclable! But this will happen only when industrial waste management is an intrinsic part of the business model. Greater environmental awareness has lead to stringent waste management legislation in different parts of the world and there is also a genuine desire on the part of industry to improve environmental performance and meet the conscious consumers’ demands.
The wine story
Today’s focus area is the industrial waste story of the wine industry. They say pictures speak a thousand words so we’ll let the situation explain itself!
DID YOU KNOW
We’ve covered problems in cotton growing in our brand feature on Mighty Good Undies. Even the wine industry is grappling with sustainability from genetic engineering wine crop to pesticides effecting worker health in vineyards. Zero waste management of grape waste or POMACE is a big problem.
Wine making giant Pernod Ricard says material efficiency and waste minimisation are both important considerations in their day-to-day operations. Pernod Ricard environment report says they are working with suppliers to improve the eco-design of cardboard packaging, increase recycled content of cartons, reduce and reuse secondary packaging. The company states that they have been successful in reducing their waste contribution to land fills by 33% due to recycling efforts. Waste management is still a big concern from cost view also. “Approximately 500 Tonne/yr of stems are transported to a landfill and waste management at the cost of 24 €/Tonne.”– according to a senior resource at PRW, Spain. Company executives from New Zealand also said, “There has been quite a push within Marlborough to come up with a regional solution for the disposal of grape marc and the Marlborough Grape Marc Company was formed to look into this. » Interestingly, turning grape marc into a sustainable industry is the aim of new University of Adelaide wine research centre at the Waite campus in Australia.
American wine bigwig E&J Gallo also manufactures grape waste compost. In fact they have tied up with local authorities for urban-generated green waste to be sent to Gallo’s composting facilities where they mix this green waste with by-products from their winery (such as grape skins and wash water) to create a valuable compost.
GRAPE PAPER IS HERE!
No, we’re not making up that last bit. Grape Paper is a very real thing thanks to a fabulous green startup from India- Green Paper Works. The company produces handcrafted luxury paper that’s tree free & chemical free. And they have cracked the method to transform grape waste into beautiful paper- their international patent is pending. Let’s catch up with the founder Adrian Pinto and understand how he’s here to #MakeADifference one sheet at a time!
Presenting Green Paper Works
Begin from the beginning. Tell us a bit about your background.
Adrain: I am from the wine industry having worked in it for more than 15 years now. I have a diploma in Hotel Administration and Food Technology and a Post Graduate Diploma in Hospitality from Australia. It was there that I was exposed to wine and vineyards. In 2000 I began my 15-year stint with the wine industry, working with the likes of Sula, Diageo and Pernod Ricard.
Why did you decide to have a green start-up & specifically this idea- transforming Pomace to paper?
Adrian: Right from when I was a little boy I was always taught to care about the environment, be sustainable and what the repercussions would be if we didn’t. In 2000 when I began my stint with the wine industry, I fell deeper in love with nature. I began to understand how important it was to protect the environment and the impact it had on not just the vineyards and wine but also the farmers and all living things in general. Over the years I saw the expanding heaps of pomace at various wineries as India escalated production from 1,00,000 cases in 2000 to close to 3 million cases in 2016 and always wondered other than composting what better use could this pomace be put to. That was the starting point for what started out as a « passion project » and later turned into this green startup.
What kind of research went into this?
Adrian: I spent 4 years researching pomace and its uses I stumbled upon the composition of pomace. The fiber content in the pomace interested me. I also researched on paper made from various fiber and thought why not pomace? Being too embarrassed to share the idea, the first batch of “Grape Paper” was actually produced in our kitchen, with our kitchen blender and some nets! I loved the color and texture of the paper, that was the beginning… . When I discovered that pomace could be a possible replacement for wood in paper, it thrilled me no end. The rest they say is history!
Industry recycles waste for composting. Is it enough?
Adrain: Composting used to be the norm before because the pomace produced could be absorbed by the vineyards but now there is more produced and it’s becomes a problem and a pollutant if not managed.
What’s special about your paper vs regular recycled paper?
Adrain: Green Paper Works is committed to producing luxury handcrafted paper that is tree free and chemical free. Grape paper is our first attempt at this unique vision. We’re also cost competitive because of the lower cost of raw material as opposed to traditional fibres like wood, cotton, thread, biomass etc. We’re aiding sustainability in the wine industry by reducing waste discharge. Also eliminating tree cutting for paper production. We also help grape farmers generate income by selling damaged crop or unsaleable produce. So we’re definitely unique in this segment of recycled paper. A circular economy model is our biggest USP.
Tell us more about this circular economy model.
Adrian: One in which no waste is generated. A circular economy is an alternative to a traditional linear economy (make, use, dispose) in which we keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them whilst in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.
What are the various uses of this Grape Paper? Are you partnering with outfits to expand reach?
Adrain: It has multiple applications. Beautiful packaging, office stationery, special packs and gift wrapping paper, decorative products. In fact we are in talk with the Institute of Packaging Mumbai to develop a collaborative packaging design for wine and spirits industry. The paper is currently being tested by IIPM for being a food-grade packaging paper. We are confident this will also open a lot of doors in the sustainable food packaging sector for us.
We are also working with local artists in India to create one of kind gift boxes- hand painted and promoting local arts and craft.
You’re based in India, what’s the response to Green Paper Works? And what’s the biggest challenge?
Adrain: Positive and welcoming as its a big CSR initiative as well. We get a lot of collaborative attention. We’ve received plenty of accolades too. We were invited to apply for the Green SAARC Earth Care Awards. We also presented at the Economic Times Top 100 Ideas from India forum. (For our readers, Economic Times is the biggest and most widely read business daily in India).
The biggest problem is market accessibility since this invention is of maximum value in and to countries which generate the waste and India is not one of them. That is why we are in conversation with partners and various stake holders in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
What’s the road map for the future?
Adrian: Well our patent is pending and we are looking for partners to licence the patent to internationally. Post a “Patent Search” I have filled a patent application for “Paper Made from Organic Waste and the Process Thereof”. From the Patent Search Report it appears that, this paper is unique in nature. We have conducted values tests, developed some prototypes and are in the process initiating “Carbon Certification”, and I have been informed it looks promising. Our vision for Green Paper Works is that we want 2 out of 10 wineries in the next 6 years to use paper made from their own waste for their internal use, packaging, labelling and at cellar door.
Why should UrbanMeisters buy this Paper and where?
Adrain: Well of course this is more on the prerogative of the wine industry because they are generating this waste but consumers too have a part to play. Simply put if people buy our paper then they can enjoy a glass of vino without being guilty knowing they have contributed to positive change as the paper and packaging is tree free and also prevented waste from being irrespobibly dumped in a landfill some where. We have just launched our website and we plan to sell online here. Other than that look out for B2B announcements soon.
Any advice for green startups?
Adrain: Once there is proof of concept and taking the plunge and finding the right partners is really important.
Apart from this amazing invention, what other green steps you take in personal life? Any tips for our readers?
Adrian: Green steps are actually very easy and small but make a significant difference like garbage segregation and disposal. Don’t use plastic and carry your own bags for shopping etc as much as possible. Similarly avoid buying bottled water when you can carry your own. Grow more trees and support green programs.
Well UrbanMeisters that’s founder Adrian Pinto on his great new green idea. We certainly love the innovation. You can check them out on www.greenpaperworks.com.
Industries have the bonus of re-thinking waste management for sure. Manufacturers need to realise that waste is not just a potential source of pollution but also a missed opportunity in resource management. By reducing, re-using and recycling industries can bring down manufacturing costs and create positive environment impact. Startups like Green paper Works accelerate this process.
If you have some green innovation stories to share then write to us on firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn- we go by the username Urbanmeisters. We would love to feature your story.
All pictures sourced from Green Paper Works.