Eco-friendly products are widely purchased across the world save the Mother Earth. Chandni Khandelwal, an Odisha native has always been concerned about the use of plastics, particularly in packaging.
They used to receive take-away meals in plastic bags for lunch and dinner when she was in college and living in a dormitory. This disturbed her, and she wondered where these plastics would end up once we discarded them.
She began putting them in her trolley bag after they had been washed and dried. She accumulated two trolleys full of plastic bags in two years. Instead of throwing them away, she turned them into planters and other household items.
Establishment of Ecoloop
Her environmental concerns eventually led her to establish Ecoloop, a company that specialises in eco-friendly packaging. ‘Eco’ refers to the environment, and ‘loop’ refers to the shape that finishes where it started, as Chandni says.
The firm, which was founded in September 2021, has sold its eco-friendly items all over India and generates monthly revenue of Rs 1-2 lakh.
Chandni, a Bhubaneswar-based graduate of the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT), has always been fascinated by arts and crafts. Her mother was the one who encouraged her to pursue her passions.
Chandni had the chance to attend many craft clusters in Odisha while at NIFT, where she worked directly with local craftsmen who created things from natural materials by making it eco-friendly.
Working With Local Artisans
She came across numerous natural materials used for creating eco-friendly products while working with local artisans, including sabai grass, bamboo, palm fronds, paper mache, and others. That’s when she had the idea to use these materials to make packaging. They needed some mechanisation and artisanal techniques, but they were able to create a very sustainable form of packaging that could replace plastics.
Ecoloop now uses natural materials such as sabai grass, palm leaves, paper mache, bamboo, and more to create gift packaging and eco-friendly goods. Baskets, trays, and boxes are among the 20 products produced by the company. They’re creating a sustainable gifting experience from the ground up. They’re also looking into using rice straws as a substitute for styrofoam boards in packaging. They make packaging for baked products like cakes and cookies out of bamboo and leaves.
In Odisha and West Bengal, sabai grass, a natural raw material used to create paper pulp/rope, grows in abundance. This made it easier for her to find it and work with artisans who were already familiar with the material.
She points out that the majority of Ecoloop’s products are created in Odisha by multiple artisan groups. For the past 11 years, the Odisha Rural Development And Marketing Society (ORMAS) have been producing handicrafts out of sabai grass.
She first met them when she was in college, and then again when she worked at ORMAS for a year. So, when she decided to start Ecoloop, she approached them to create her products, and they gladly accepted.
She also collaborates with a few Kashmiri artists who manufacture paper mache objects, as well as some from the Northeast who work with bamboo. Ecoloop now employs around 500 craftspeople.
The craftspeople, who are mostly women, are specially trained to create Ecoloop packaging. Many artisan clusters, including sabai grass workers and traditional bamboo artisans from Sambalpur, have been trained by Chandni. She developed a packing cluster of 15 women in Balasore. They are now running their own business with the help of the government.
Ecoloop’s products are promoted through various social media channels, according to Chandni, who now aims to build a website. They primarily reach out to clients through social media and have sold over 500 units of environmentally friendly packaging around the country.
Started Ecoloop with Rs 20,000; Now makes Rs 2 lakh every month
Ecoloop was her first initiative, and she put in Rs 20,000. They’re now getting in roughly Rs 1-2 lakh each month.
Her spouse, who runs an Agritech firm, has played a key role in the growth of Ecoloop as a brand and has always been a strong supporter of her.
They intend to open a store in Saket, Delhi, in the near future. Currently, all of their products are handmade, but they want to partially automate the business to make it more cost-effective.
If you want to know more about Ecoloop – Instagram
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