This Photograph (*Image credit: Entrepreneur India) features, amongst others, the Co-founders of JAAGRUTI Waste Paper Recycling Services: Vasudha Mehta (Seated in the Center) and Vivek Mehta (with the stack of newspapers loaded over his arm). It was published in the August 2017 Issue of Entrepreneur India magazine in an article titled, “These Business Enthusiasts are Cash-in On the Trash“. The link to the complete article can be read by clicking here.
Excerpts from the article quoting Vivek Mehta, Co-founder of JAAGRUTI Waste Paper Recycling Services are shared below:
Very few companies in India give you end-to-end waste management solution by collecting your waste, recycling it and give you finished goods. Similar business model is followed by Jaagruti, a company that solely deals in paper recycling and management. Vivek Mehta, Co-founder of Jaagruti, says, “As an environment conscious individual, I hated paper wastage that happened rampantly at the office where I was working previously. So I thought why don’t I recycle paper and manufacture finished stationary to sell.” For Mehta, the idea was always to re-use, if that’s a possibility. “We took the waste paper to a mill where it would be recycled and then we again give it back to our client as a finished fresh paper product. That is how the loop closes,” said Vivek Mehta, Co-founder of Jaagruti.
Stray animals need all the help they can get – and every organization providing such care is not only incredibly precious but most often simply indispensable in the fight to make the lives of street animals better. One of such organizations is Jaagruti, a private trust from Delhi.
Jaagruti Trust was created by Vasudha Mehta, her brother Vivek, and mother Neeru in 2009. Their vision was to “inform, inspire, and share” – “Jaagruti” means “Awakening” in Hindi. The initial start of the project might have seemed like a small step, but, in fact, it was anything but that – now more than 2,000 street animals owe their lives to Jaagruti’s work!
The aim of the home-run trust is to provide onsite first-aid treatment for stray dogs suffering from injuries or maggot infections. To help the animals, Jaagruti works with a team of para-veterinary consultants and trained veterinary pharmacists.
The initial spark for starting the organization goes a long way back for Vasudha who, together with her family, used to look out for many stray dogs when she was younger. She recalls one special dog, Bhooru, who was with them for seven years and inspired all the more love for dogs in need. “I guess it all started there,” Vasudha told
“I guess it all started there,” Vasudha told The Better India, “right from the conscious feeling about the state of street animals.”
The siblings would often find that many strays were simply vanishing from the streets. The animals were being picked up for sterilization, but what was happening tot hem later remained unknown. Later, they found that the dogs were being dropped off at random locations, which resulted in further deaths. It was then that Vasudha and her brother began to take some of the dogs from their area into their own car for sterilization, after which they would take them back to the same place they had come from.
In 2004, Vasudha began to work with an animal welfare organization, learning more and more about stray animals’ lives. Then, in 2009, she and her brother began writing a blog publishing articles voicing concerns about municipality-driven sterilization and offering some basic first-aid measures for encountered animals in need. Soon, Vasudha found herself running a helpline where people could report cases. Finding that sterilization alone is not enough, they began giving dogs first-aid treatment.
Vasudha emphasizes how important her family is in what she is doing – she attributes her success to her mother for her support and her brother for always being a partner in good deeds.
Jaagruti’s work for stray animals is priceless – for so many of them, literally life-saving – but that is still not all that the organization is engaging in. In 2011, the siblings also started a venture involving paper recycling services. Since then, they have partnered with over 300 corporate and government organizations!
Both our works were featured on the popular positive news-portal named ‘The Better India‘ in a story titled, “A Family’s Commitment Has Helped Give Onsite Treatment to Over 2,000 Street Dogs in Delhi“.
Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life.
Vasudha Mehta, an animal rights crusader, would definitely vouch for it.
The Delhi resident, along with her brother Vivek and mother Neeru, started the Jaagruti Trust in 2009 with a vision to “inform, inspire and share” just as the name ‘Jaagruti’ implies.
Together, they embarked upon a journey for the next eight years that would end up saving the lives of more than 2,000 street animals.
With a team of para-veterinary consultants and trained veterinary pharmacists, the home-run trust provides onsite first-aid treatment for stray dogs with wounds from injuries or maggot infections.
“The reason for starting the trust goes a long way back. Back when we were young there used to be a lot of stray dogs in our locality that we looked out for. But there was one little boy whom we named Bhooru, who gave us seven wonderful years full of love and memories. I guess it all started there; right from the conscious feeling about the state of street animals,” Vasudha says.
Rewind back to 2002 when Bhooru was a part of the family, the brother-sister duo would often find many other strays just vanishing from their streets. Despite having inquired with municipal authorities they found no answers.
“It was disheartening. We knew that these dogs would often get picked up for sterilisation but then what happened to them? The thought continued to persist and it gave us no respite to be that clueless,” she adds.
In the meantime, the siblings took some of the dogs from their locality in their own car for sterilisation and made it a point of getting them back to the same place.
After a while, they figured that the animals that were picked up for neutering were being dropped off at random locations after the deed, resulting in further deaths. “This would only agitate an animal after having been left at a hostile, unknown environment,” she says.
To understand how things worked, Vasudha, who had completed her masters, decided to work with animal welfare organisations in 2004. She learnt a lot about the plight of the animals, having seen both good and bad.
“My mother often told us that if you want to change something, you need to do it yourself, without having the need to depend on anyone else,” she says.
She recalls a time when she was unsure of her intentions to set up a trust or an organisation but discrepancies in the system and an overpowering concern did eventually pave the family’s destiny.
JAAGRUTI was also mentioned on the story on the below news-links:
“Finally in 2009, my brother and I began with a blog that published articles raising concerns of municipality driven sterilisation drives and offering basic DIY first-aid measures for stray animals and some of our rescue exploits,” Vasudha adds.
One thing lead to another and soon Jaagruti was running with a helpline where people in Delhi and the NCR zone could reach out and report cases.
“Initially, it was just the both of us in our car who took the dogs to the hospitals. Upon realising that this was not doing much good to them after being petrified in a surgical environment, we finalised on giving them first-aid treatment,” she says.
Apart from doing so much for their furry street friends, Vasudha and Vivek also started a venture in 2011 involving waste paper recycling services and have partnered with more than 300 corporate and government organisations.
“We work on a barter system model that involves buying the waste paper from huge establishments and paying them back with recycled and customised company specific notepads. We act as the link between these organisations and the paper mills,” Vasudha explains.
Vasudha attributes their success to her mother Neeru for her unbreakable support in the journey and her brother for being her partner in every good deed.
Vasudha and her family dedicate themselves to the well-being of voiceless beings, making the world a safer place for them.
Vasudha, Vivek, and their mother Neeru Mehta been ‘awakening’ a sense of responsibility in people through their organisation Jaagruti.
Having spent her teen years hooked onto shows like ‘Living on the Edge,’ a ‘90’s TV show made by the Alva Brothers that highlighted environmental concerns of the country, Vasudha Mehta knew that she didn’t want to follow conventional professions of being a doctor or an engineer, and instead wanted to make her career in the field of environment conservation and animal welfare.
Vasudha was inspired by TV channels National Geographic, Discovery and Animal Planet and often dreamt of being part of TV crews and observing nature and its beings from up close and documenting their stories.
This dictated the course that she would later take in her life in terms of her career, her passion, and how she started Jaagruti Trust, along with her mother (Neeru Mehta) and brother (Vivek Mehta), in 2009.
For the love of animals
After finishing her studies in 2006, Vasudha worked at People for Animals with Mrs. Maneka Gandhi and Wildlife SOS at their Agra Bear Rescue Facility for about 2.5 years, where she learnt her own lessons of ‘love and loss’ the hard way.
Ever since, Vasudha has been trying to ‘inform and inspire’ street animal caretakers across the country in learning and using laws and information to safeguard animal rights and learn street animal first aid to help heal the animals.
“This is all being done through the work that we do under Jaagruti 2009.
My mother has raised us both as a single parent and it’s in stray dogs that we found our best friends and Jaagruti is the and will always remain a tribute to the first stray dog we befriended and named Bhooru who passed away in 2007, after giving us seven wonderful years of companionship,” says Vasudha.
Jaagruti engages local caretakers in the process of treating the animals, a major percentage of which are those that are looked after by lower income group roadside dwellers or people living in slums. Local caretakers are often people who reach out to Jaagruti seeking for help. By including them, Jaagruti ensures that “people locally start getting more informed on first aid treatments and start taking responsibility for ensuring the well-being of neighbourhood animals,” as Vasudha says.
“Jaagruti believes in educating and empowering the caretaker to learn and serve other street animals in need independently through the knowledge they have acquired by observing us at work and participating in restraining the animal in need during treatment till the animal has recuperated,” says Vasudha.
For the love of nature
In May 2012, Vasudha left her job and started dedicating her time to Jaagruti Waste Paper Recycling Services.
Vasudha and Vivek, who jointly run the social enterprise, say that with the bulk of municipal waste management budget being allocated to transportation and collection, there is no money left to grade waste in different categories and reprocess/recycle it efficiently.
According to Indian Agro and Recycled Paper Mills Association (IARPMA), the country uses around 11.5–12.5 million tonnes of paper every year. Statistics convey that of the paper we consume as a nation, only about 20–30 percent get recovered and reach a recycling mill, thus leaving the rest to rot at a landfill site and adding to our greenhouse gas emissions.
Jaagruti Waste Paper Recycling Services started its operations in December 2011 and today extends its services to over 250 institutions across various platforms in the Delhi NCR region, some of which include diplomatic establishments like embassies of Greece, Italy, Belgium, and Sweden, central government institutions like Central Bureau of Investigation, Medical Council of India, National Informatics Centre, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, and BSF’s Medical Directorate to name a few.
The waste paper collected from various institutions is systematically graded at the unit before it is transported to a recycling mill where it is processed to make different qualities of recycled paper and board, by using Elemental Chlorine Free (ECF) bleaching technology.
As per standard industry parameters made available on the USEPA Website, one tonne of recycled paper saves 17 trees, 26,281 litres of water, 264 kg of air pollution, 1,752 litres of oil, 4077 KW hours of energy, and 82.62 cubic feet of landfill space.
“We have helped recycle close to 17,00,000 kg/1,700 tonne of waste paper so far. Before discarding waste paper in a general dustbin, you may do well to remember that paper doesn’t grow on trees, but rather about 17–22 full grown trees are cut to make one tonne of paper” says Vasudha.
Vasudha Mehta, Co-founder of JAAGRUTI Waste Paper Recycling Services was featured as an Expert on a Panel Discussion on “Waste Management woes plaguing all Indian Metros” on NewsX Channel.
She spoke on where exactly the Waste Management budget allotted to the Municipalities gets spent on, “its majorly spent on paying salaries to street sweepers, door to door garbage collection and hiring dumper trucks to dump the collected waste to landfill sites. There is no budget allocation on ‘Processing and Recycling of Waste’ at the Municipality or Government level”.
We use paper every day and as a nation 11.5 to 12.5 million tonnes is used each year,as per statistics made available by Indian Agro and Recycled Paper Mills Association (IARPMA) in India. But in India, with the bulk of waste management budget being allocated to transportation and collection, there is no money left to grade waste in different categories and reprocess/recycle it efficiently.
We at ‘Jaagruti‘ help organisations in India recycle their waste paper effectively by grading it at our recycling centres, before getting the same processed at mills for recycling.
To know how, we at Jaagruti can help you organisation in India do this, contact us.
Now, let us tell you what happens at a Recycling Plant:
At the paper mill it is pulped in a tank containing chemicals such as hydrogen peroxide, caustic soda, soap and water which separate out the various fibres.
These fibres are then screened to remove various bits of debris such as paper clips, staples, sticky tape and plastic.
In a floatation tank the fibres are cleaned and deinked several times and as a result the fibres get whiter and whiter. Whitening agents are added at this stage and the pulp, which is 99% water and 1% fibre is then pumped onto a paper machine.
It is then passed over a vibrating machine or through rollers which remove most of the water. The water is sent back to the beginning of the process, the remaining material now contains half fibre and half water.
The sheets are then passed through a drying section on heated rollers where the temperature reaches 130 degrees and water is reduced by 5%. The process makes the paper whiter, smoother and more useable.
The paper is then dried and then run through a machine that acts like an ironing board and then wound into huge rolls that weigh up to 30 tonnes.
The paper is then tested to make sure it reaches the correct standard and quality for strength, gloss and brightness.
These rolls are then divided into smaller reels or sheets, packed and stored before despatching to printers.
The quality of paper produced through our recycled paper is comparable to that made from virgin raw material.
Paper, it is said, can be recycled up to seven times. Taken with the fact that recycled paper is also cheaper and easier to convert to pulp than wood, it makes an ideal candidate for collection and reuse. But what exactly are these seven cycles, and what happens to paper after this point? In order to answer these questions, we need to examine the paper-making process more closely.
Learning Curve: Definitions & Grades
First, it’s important to know that “recycled” can mean many different things. For example, paper companies used to consider mill scraps from lumber cuttings recycled content. The key phrase to identify is post-consumer. This refers to content that comes from used paper products.
Second, you should know that when it comes to paper, grades count. There are five main grades of paper according to the EPA, but you’re most likely to find these four in your home or workplace.
• Newspaper: Not the same as magazines or catalogs. Only newspapers fall into this category
• Office paper: Generally high-grade white printer and copier paper, envelopes and letterhead.
• Corrugated containers: These include boxes of all kinds, from shipping to food and shoe boxes
• Mixed paper: This category is a catch-all for the other types of paper, such as phone books, magazines, junk-mail or colored papers
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While lower grade paper, such as a cereal box, can be turned into another cereal box, it cannot be recycled into a shiny piece of office paper; however, if office paper is kept separate from low-grade papers, then it can be turned back into office paper. For this reason, sorted paper gives companies more versatility in what they can produce.
Once sorted, the paper is broken down in much the same way, regardless of type. Batches are soaked in a water and chemical bath in order to break them down into “pulp,” the small fibers that make paper. Next, the pulp undergoes several stages of cleaning in order to remove contaminants like glue, plastic, staples, and finally, ink. Once paper is re-bleached, if necessary, it is ready to be mixed with virgin fibers and made into paper once more. At this final stage, recycled pulp is no different from virgin pulp. So why only seven cycles?
And The Answer Is…
The answer boils down to size. Each time wood fibers are reprocessed (chopped, heated, pressed) they break down a bit. After about five to seven cycles, the pulp bits are so small that they simply slip through the filtering screens and end up in the wastewater. In this manner, the quality of recycled paper is not affected by pulp that is no longer useful.
Most products today, especially corrugated containers, contain recycled post-consumer content, but consumer demand, more than federal or industry standards, is what drives paper companies to increase recycled percentages. When it comes to paper (all kinds), purchasing or requesting recycled goods maintains a steady demand for this product.
Contact us to help understand how we at Jaagruti can help recycle your Organisation’s waste paper in India