Vaibhav Anant quit his job to launch a startup that uses bamboo and wood pulp to make eco-friendly packaging. Bambrew supplies its packaging to top companies like Amazon and Nykaa.
When Vaibhav Anant was working for a Delhi-based ed-tech firm in 2018, there was a lot of buzz about the Government of India’s public commitment to phase out single-use plastics by 2022. This, he claims, piqued his interest in the subject of single-use plastic (SUP) and its negative consequences.
Vaibhav, founder and CEO of Bambrew says, “During my study, I also came across a viral video of a marine biologist extracting a plastic straw lodged in the nostril of a sea turtle.
Seeing the animal suffer was heartbreaking, and it spurred me to develop a remedy, given the prevalence of SUP straws in the meal delivery industry. In August 2018, after quitting my work, I founded Bambrew to provide alternatives to SUP straws. Eventually, I ventured into packaging.”
According to Vaibhav, the Bengaluru-based green tech sustainable packaging firm is “dedicated to reducing the usage of SUP.” It uses natural plant fibres and pulp to “produce viable packaging alternatives” to hazardous plastic (mostly SUP) that are “eco-efficient and sustainable.”
Bambrew takes pleasure in being a company that targets leading giants that contribute significantly to global plastic waste generation in traditional areas such as e-commerce, retail, FMCG, F&B, pharmaceutical, and so on.
Amazon, Nykaa, 1MG, Puma, Chumbak, Big Basket, Myntra, Flipkart, Aditya Birla, and Accessorize London are just a few of the companies that have partnered with the company.
Vaibhav adds, “We currently generate monthly earnings of roughly Rs 1.5-2 crore and produce more than 10 million items (mailer bags, boxes) per month.”
Vaibhav grew up in a typical middle-class family in Hazaribagh, Jharkhand. His father, an English professor at a nearby university, and mother, a social worker, had no entrepreneurial experience.Following high school, he attended the National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) in Bangalore and earned a bachelor’s degree in fashion technology (B.FTech).
Vaibhav started his own company after more than five years of corporate experience. Bambrew began by creating a variety of eco-friendly packaging products made from bamboo, sugarcane, and seaweed. Furthermore, their products were were entirely handmade and obtained from various native tribes around the country.
Regardless of excellent intentions, there will always be concerns regarding scalability. Bambrew no longer sources from tribal tribes, instead relying on specialised machines to make a variety of goods in-house and with other partners.
Vaibhav says, “The goal of developing a substitute was to make it economical and scalable while preserving quality requirements. As a result, we changed to a machine configuration rather than a handmade setup, as our reliance on craftsmen was considerable and the quality of handmade products was uneven. More than 55 percent of global plastic waste is generated by the packaging industry, which cannot be recycled or decomposed. Our goal has always been to eliminate plastic in a sustainable manner. We have over 174 manufacturing partners in addition to our own factory, which can produce more than 75 million mailer bags every month.”
He asserts, “Our total capacity is more than 50,000 tonnes of sustainable alternates every month, which corresponds to more than 100 million pieces per month.” Bambrew employs 30 employees from a variety of disciplines, including production, package design, and supply chain management. He says that the company expects to grow to a workforce of more than 100 people within the next six months.
But, more specifically, what materials does Bambrew utilise to create their sustainable packaging?
According to Vaibhav, they employ Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified bamboo and wood pulp. FSC is a widely recognised certification system that recognises products sourced from “responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscientious, and commercially viable” forests. It’s similar to a fair trade certification for forest-sourced commodities.
Vaibhav says, “We are currently considering using hemp as a raw material as well, as it is the quickest growing plant other than bamboo. In India, we collaborate with many mills to produce our own raw material. However, some of our raw resources are imported, such as bamboo pulp. Furthermore, when our exclusive and indigenously developed coating process is put to paper, it imparts plastic-like qualities while retaining all of its biodegradability. In other words, Vaibhav asserts, “we can transmit the qualities of plastic onto paper without affecting its degradability or recyclability.”
According to Vaibhav, Bambrew has received two rounds of external funding, the most recent Pre-Series A round raising USD 2.35 million. They hope to work with 100 significant organisations from around the country by the end of current fiscal year, he says.
Vaibhav Anant says, “Bambrew has successfully reduced over 10,000 tonnes of plastic by developing viable substitutes that are ideal natural replacements for single-use plastic in the B2B and B2C domains. We hope to expand the organization’s business footprint throughout several Indian cities and foreign marketplaces in the future, and become the world’s first and largest eco-friendly organisation.”