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”.
From banning plastic bottles on campus, to recycling waste, installing solar heaters and promoting use of bicycles, Delhi University colleges are taking a number of eco-friendly initiatives to protect the environment.
Ramjas College has introduced a green cycle project to promote the use of bicycles within the campus and nearby areas.
“We have tied up with Delhi Cycles Private Limited (GreenRide Public Bicycle Sharing Service). We are the first college in Delhi University to do something like this. As a part of the project, Delhi Cycles will be providing cycles to us, free of cost. Two stands – On our campus and at the Metro – will be built. Students can swipe a smart card to access and drop off the cycles. Services will be available from 8 am to 8 pm, says Nalini Nigam, associate professor, department of botany in Ramjas.
From the past three years, the college has also been sending all its waste paper to Jaagruti waste paper recycling services. This year, waste paper sent totalled 2,230 kg, Nigam says.
We at JAAGRUTI Waste Paper Recycling Services were interviewed by EUmIND Go Green Ecological Companies group from Bal Bharati Public School, GRH Marg. The link to the interview can be accessed on http://eumindgogreen15.weebly.com/bal-bharati-public-school-grh-ecological-companies.html. Screenshots of the interview on their Project website are shared below and the Video Interview with Vasudha Mehta, the Co-founder of JAAGRUTI Waste Paper Recycling Services, that the Team has uploaded on YouTube can be viewed as well.
Our Work at JAAGRUTI Waste Paper Recycling Services was covered in a Spanish Publication named ‘Publico’.
The English Translation of the story is shared below:
Recyclable paper for recycled paper
Given the low rate of recovery of paper in India, a small company proposes to return recycled paper in exchange for collecting paper that would end up burned or in the trash.
DELHI.- A cargo van awaits at the doors of a school in downtown Delhi. It does not come to supply but to take away. Textbooks, notebooks or notebooks whose destination would be the common rubbish bin have a new place to go: direct to the recycling factory. In exchange for the delivery, their owners will receive notebooks and paper sheets already recycled. And everything, without any cost.
In a city like Delhi, where almost the entire population throws organic and inorganic waste to the same place, this idea is at least novel. “For each kilo of paper that the client gives us, we, according to a previously agreed conversion table, return a quantity of recycled paper . It is not an economic exchange, but of products. “, says Vasudha Mehta, co-founder of Jaagruti, the young company that makes this service.
“We have a blog where we wrote a post about paper recycling and, suddenly, he started contacting us people asking how we could help them recycle.”
The idea arose almost out of necessity. Just over four years ago, Jaagruti was already a charity that worked both in the field of helping street animals and in the creation of alternatives for solid waste management. “We have a blog where we wrote a post about recycling paper and, suddenly, he started contacting us with people asking how we could help them recycle. That’s when we saw that maybe there would be a business opportunity for us, “explains Vasudha.
A few months later the work began. In December 2011 they accepted their first orders. They work with institutions or established companies that accumulate immense amounts of paper that ended up either in the trash or, if it is confidential documents, burned in a backyard. Jaagruti designed a healthier, more sustainable alternative that is beneficial for the environment “and for which they also get something in return”, says Vivek Mehta, the other pillar of the company, while we accompany him to one of the collections.
Jaagruti is responsible only for large quantities (the minimum collection is 300 kilos) provided by companies or institutions. “There is already a sector, although informal and disorganized, that collects paper in the houses.Our objective is not to occupy the position of someone who is already making a living , but to reach where it has not yet arrived, “explains Vasudha.
It refers to the so-called ragpickers and khabari-walla : the collectors who go door to door picking up all kinds of garbage and make up the start of a network of buying and selling recyclable material. It is estimated that, thanks to them, India generates 1.3 million tons per year of paper ready for recycling . But due to the laxity of the rules, it is an informal sector that escapes control: the material is lost in an endless number of intermediaries.
Before the school, the Mehta siblings and their five workers have been in a large publishing house. Going through the corridors Vasudha happily points out the posters hanging on the wall where the benefits of recycling are explained. “The first times we came here those posters were not there , ” she says proudly as she sees the changes their presence has brought.
They warn that it is not just about earning a living with this, but above all to sensitize the Indian society about the need to recycle. “People are not really aware that paper can be recycled and reused: you have the idea that someone will pick it up from the trash and it will. Even if you have an awareness, you are unwilling to make an effort and worry. “
But the change is noticed and in its four years of existence, Jaagruti already has more than 200 regular clients. Their website and word of mouth is what has worked for them. “It’s not about convincing anyone, it’s about creating in this system but above all in the need to recycle to reuse the paper.”
They emphasize the importance of paper quality for better recycling: it should not be dirty, nor wet and of course free of moths. From the place of origin it is transported to a small warehouse where it will be ordered according to the type of paper and will wait until it has enough quantity to transport it to the recycling factory.
The last step
Before the sun is too hot, the trucks are already loaded. A total of 12,855 tons of newsprint and magazines leave the Jaagruti warehouse, and link their way to the outskirts of the Indian capital, where the recycling factory depot is located. The benefit of the Mehta brothers lies precisely in the money they receive from the plant for the delivery of paper.
“In Delhi, due to the amount of water that this type of industry needs, paper recycling is not allowed,” explains Vasudha. So the role that Vivek and his team is delivering today in the warehouse will reach the state of Punjab, northwest of the country, where it will be recycled and returned to Jaagruti in the form of notebooks or paper to print.
It is estimated that there are 550 plants in India that use waste paper as raw material to produce recycled paper, cardboard and newspaper. The data are diffuse, but according to the latest available published by the Indian Association of Paper Producers (IPMA) in 2011 the paper recovery ratio in India was between 20 and 27%, a very low level if compared with Germany (73%), Japan (60%), Europe (56%) or the United States (49%).
It is estimated that the Indian recycling factories import 4 million tons of paper ready for recycling per year.
In the absence of its own material, it is estimated that Indian recycling factories import 4 million tons of paper ready for recycling per year, according to the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. ” 80% of the paper we are dealing with comes from the United States, Europe and the Middle East,” confirms one of the workers at this recycling plant who prefers not to reveal his name.
The place does not stop arriving trucks that must go through the scales before being unloaded with patience by the group of men who work from sunrise to sunset . In about two weeks the Mehta brothers will receive the recycled paper they will return to their customers.
Do you need stronger laws in India that advocate recycling? Vasudha thinks a few seconds before answering that the responsibility is not only of the government but of Indian society as a whole. “It has been placed on the shoulders of the ragpickersthe job of separating recyclable products, the rest of the population disregarding that task, and that is because people have not yet understood that waste has value: recycling a product is saving on resources . “
The full story in SPANISH can be accessed here or by clicking on the screenshot below.