Minus – crafting plastic waste

by Team Conscious Carma

A young team headed by an IITian and Niftian, launched Minus Degre, with a wish to change the perception of plastic to the world. As the name suggests,  Minus Degre, Minus stands for Reducing the impact of plastic pollution While Degre for Closing the loop by recycling of Plastic waste.

“The plastic that we use every day and throw can yield as products and profit like gold. If the resource is channelized by recycling and upcycling. We want to create product keeping in mind the aspect of sustainability, a community which is of the people for the people and by the people”, says the duo Rahul & Vikas. Everyone at Minus Degre firmly believes in a beautiful quote by WILL.I.AM that “Waste is not until we waste it”

The Motivation

There was a time, plastic was not in trend. We used fabric bags, glass bottle, tin cans and what not. That was the time when people were believers of reuse, regenerate and recycle. My grandmother is example of it. she used to craft product out of the single use plastic like plastic wrapper & shopping bags, old clothes and also she used to use single use items till the time it’s not usable like using plastic bottle for storing oil & salt, coconut shells for storing spices etc.

Now things have changed, we moved to a faster culture, where we left behind the “Regeneration” culture. That is what we plan to bring with Minus degre “Regeneration culture”. In India we generate 25940 tonnes of plastic waste every day, making us largest contributor of the plastic waste in packaging sector. More than 1/3rd of total ” branded plastic ” ends up in the landfills: milk pouches, wrappers, etc. which is majorly from household.

At Minus, the short-lived household plastic waste is converted into product which can help not letting the plastic to end-up in landfills. We aim at reducing the genesis of virgin plastic by replacing it with reused and recycled plastic products of superior quality. We believe in a more realistic approach to the plastic problem. Plastic is not waste as long as we create value from it. Which is why we believe that the world should move from the misuse to reuse of plastic. It is the wiser thing to do – for our planet, for our businesses, for our communities. We want build sustainable future around it.

The Process

It all starts with collecting plastic waste from industries, ragpickers and kabadiwalas, washing them to remove dirt’s & label, drying, and then segregating based on grade of plastic and colour. Then these are shredded into small flakes which are again properly cleaned to remove left-over dirt. They are dried to remove every bit of moisture from it. These flakes are then moulded into required shape and products are then sanded and polished to give smooth finish.

The Inspiration

Before the COVID plastic pollution was high but with the onset of COVID there have been drastic increase in the plastic consumption in form of mask, PPE kit, food packaging as we preferred safety over environment concern. That is not the problem, the real problem is that we disposed them irresponsibly and this irresponsible behaviours of ours that is mounting additional stress on already stressed situation of plastic pollution.

Plastic is one of the most versatile material that we have ever developed. It uses expanse from simplest one like spoon, toys to most intricate one like parts of airplane. It takes around 400 years breakdown plastics so why not utilize its durability rather than just letting rot and pollute the environment.

We see this situation as an opportunity as thing that is trash for other is gold for us. The vast untapped potential in current situation, durability & versatility of plastics and the positive impact that our initiative will bring to environment and society inspire us in present moment and is also wiser thing to do – for our planet, for our businesses, for our communities. We want to build sustainable future around it.

The Accomplishments

Now, we have an online community of 1k+ people, our own live website, and our products are listed on 10 sustainable e-com platforms. Our solution has already given us a footprint in India as well as in Europe, UAE, and North American countries. And our recent collaboration with the US Retailers- Anthropology and with KIA helped us venture into corporate giftings. Moreover, Minus has been featured in numerous prestigious newspapers like The Indian Express, Platform Magazine, etc. for our work.

We are quite positive about the coming future because people are realizing how our activities impact the environment. Most importantly the “culture of Regeneration” is back. We have been seeing the shift toward the sustainable approach and this gives us hope.     

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