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A circular and sustainable solution to cater to the exces cardboard and plastic packaging waste produced by the work from home lifestyle



*Incase this doesn't work out a pdf of the project is provided here*

PUNARJANAM, '' Because everyone deserves a second chance'' (Rebirth in Hindi)

TEXTUAL SUMMARY - In a post-covid world increased sanitization, improved hygiene, doorstep deliveries etc. imply a multifold increase in waste packaging material. A sustainable solution to avoid environmental disaster is imperative. In India, most packaging industries have the option of going circular. Poor waste segregation and disposal leads to 1/3rd of the recyclable waste getting contaminated (coming in contact with biowastes). Circularity in our economy could introduce an additional trillion dollars and considering the population of India we can make a huge difference.

PROPOSAL - Punarjanam is an app and a system that helps people upcycle cardboard packaging in their own homes while also offering people an opportunity to recycle their plastic waste into bowls, buckets or plates at half the price of new ones. The products come in beautiful mosaic and marble patterns.

* The reason we're using phones to intervene is that as of 2019 India crossed 500 million smartphone users and this number is growing exponentially. And this introduces an additional point of intervention to reach the user and avoid middle people/systems *

HOW DOES THE APP WORK? The app has 2 main features,

  1.  Cardboard upcycling -  Helps users upcycle cardboard waste packaging into useful products like furniture, organizers, educational games for children etc. This is done by providing the user with plans for an item that they would have chosen previously from a list of products shown to them based on the amount of waste cardboard packaging available to them. Items are ranked in order of the complexity of crafting.
  2. Plastic recycling - the app calculates the total amount of HDPE and PP plastic a user has based on the data fed into the app by the user. The app then suggests a list of recycled products for which the user can exchange their plastic, along with a recycling fee (<< market rate of the product given to them). After selecting a product the app navigates them to the nearest ‘Punarjanam’ recycling station where they can pick up their previously selected product, in exchange for their waste plastic and a small recycling fee. The cumulative amount of plastic of the products being exchanged has to be the same. This business model eliminates the need for fresh raw material for making new products thus creating a circular economy. 


AUDIENCE - Our audience not only includes lesser privileged society [Families with an annual income <INR 3.4 Lakhs (USD 4619) ,which comprise of over 900 million people ] but also preivileged people who are environmentally conscious. 

PROPOSAL FOR SPONSORS - Companies like Reckitt Benckiser's Dettol and ITC's Savlon can have their company logos debossed on plastic packaging - for subconcious advertising, in exchange for an interest free capital investment. Sponsors will also have a bold brand logo/name front facade of the punarjanam station.

REVENUE MODEL ( Also covered in ' What are the projected costs' question ) - The target area has a population of 7000 lesser fortunate families (Annual income < INR 3.4 Lakh (4619.79)). Each family has an avergae of 5 members. The approximate HDPE and PP waste discarded by one family in a month is 2000 grams

Average material required for one product = 267 grams

Raw material available for recycling= 20% of total raw material = 2.8 Tons/month = 10,000 products/month

Therefore, Conservative Projected Demand = 10,000 products/month.

1. Capital Investment = INR 7 Lakhs ( USD 9,511.33 ) 

2. Monthly Running cost = INR 97,400 ( USD 1323.43 )

3. Punarjanam's recycling fee per product in comparison to the market (Amazon) rate.

  • Plastic Buckets = INR 70/unit - Market rate = INR 199/unit
  • Plastic Bowl = INR 45/unit - Market rate = INR 100/unit
  • Plastic Plates = INR 20/unit - Market rate = INR 40/unit

4. Monthly revenue = INR  3,14,955 (USD 4279.49)

5. Monthly Profits  = INR 2,17,555 (USD 2956.05) --> 223% of running cost

6. break even time with capital Investment (No Interest) = 3.25 months = 3 months and 6 days.


  1. Conservative estimate of recyclability: we have taken the recyclability factor is 0.2 (20% of the plastic consumption). This factor is bound to go up with time due to word of mouth and ad campeigns by sponsors.
  2. Conservative Projected Demand = 10,000 Products/month  
    Demand being met currently = 7000 products/month ( explained below in ' What are the projected costs?' )
     The current infrastructure once increased will be able to meet the conservative projected demand.


Lesser privileged person

privileged person



PLASTIC PROOF OF CONCEPT The following image (on clicking 'Plastic proof of concept' ) shows am ecperiment condocuted at home as a proof of concept. A dettol (PP Plastic) bottle was cut into tiny 1cm x 1cm bits using metal sheers and melted using a sandwich griller. The molten plastic was then placed between tqo bouls which were clamped in a makeshift mould  to produce 5 recycled bowls as proof of concept. The first three prototypes were uneven in thickness and measured between 3mm and 5mm and weighed 30g, 28g and 27g. After reducing the raw material the 4th and 5th bowls were reletively uniform in thickness and measured 1mm throughout. They were light and strong (survived a drop of 7ft multiple times.


1. Top Left Image, cardboard packaging open to show the layout of the box. Protoype page 3 explains how this information will be convayed to the punarjanam app so that the user can be presented with products that can be made with the amount of cardboard they have. 

2. Bottom Left Image, product plans can be printed and stuck onto the open cardboard box. Each page is numbered so as to avoid confusion while sticking the pages.  

3. Top Right Image, Individual pieces can be cut out from the plan and assembled like a jigsaw puzzle using the Punarjanam app for the reference image. For complex products instructions will be provided.

4. Bottom Right Image, the assembled object is a tablet/Book stand. 



The intellectual property rights (patents, registered designs, unregistered design right, copyright, etc) of the following project is shared between : Yohaan Kukreja - 55 %, Organisers of the competition for which the following project was initially developed (Wacom, DIC-IITH, CDC) - 45 %




Who will take these actions?

Product film to understand roles -

An image to understand the steps for both plastic and cardboard is provided here

1. The User needs to use the Punarjanam app to enter information regarding their waste packaging (plastic or cardboard)

1.1. In the case of Plastic 

  •  Punarjanam provides the user with products that can be recycled from their waste ( we start with buckets, plates and bowls and then expand as our business grows).
  • The user needs to go to the nearest Punarjanam recycling centre and exchange their waste plastic packaging for the product previously chosen by them.
  • Staff at the Punarjanam recycling centre will give the user the product of their choice from the stock (previously recycled plastic) this facilitates an over the counter exchange and eliminates waiting time. 
  • After handing over the product, the staff would then recycle the user's waste to replenish the stock.

1.2. In the case of Cardboard

  • Based on the information regarding waste cardboard packaging available, Punarjanam provides the user with product plans which have to be printed out on A4 sheets
  • The user must then print the plans, place them on the open cardboard waste packaging layout, cut them into individual components and assembled them into a product.


What are the projected costs?

Revenue Model Image


Cardboard plans will be given away for free. These not only serve as advertising for Punarjanam but also encourage circular economies isnce user's can upcycle their cardboard waste into useful products, at a cost far lesser than the actual cost of the product.

The cardboard model does add more paper waste in the enviornment but the overall carbon footprint is much lesser than producing new products. This model turns a lot of linear industries circular ( depending on the products being upcycled from the waste cardoard packaging)



1. Capital Investment (provided by sponsor) = INR 7 Lakhs ( USD 9,511.33 ) 

2. Monthly Running cost = INR 97,400 ( USD 1323.43 )

  • Commercial rent in target area = INR 30,000 ( USD 407.63 )
  • Utilities (as per consumption of machines and space) = INR 37,400 ( USD 508.18 )
  • Salaries ( machinist and factory worker) = INR 30,000 ( USD 407.63 )

 Punarjanam's recycling fee per product in comparison to the market (Amazon) rate.

  • Plastic Buckets = INR 70/unit - Market rate = INR 199/unit
  • Plastic Bowl = INR 45/unit - Market rate = INR 100/unit
  • Plastic Plates = INR 20/unit - Market rate = INR 40/unit

Average (conservative) time required by one compression machine = 5 minutes

*considering we work 8 hours a day for 25 days a month*

Number of products made by one machine in a month = 2400 

Number of products made by all 3 machines /month= 7200 ---> 7000 (conservative figure)

* Lets assume for the first month an equal number of all 3 products are made = 2,333/ month of each (plate, bowl and bucket) *

3. Monthly revenue = INR  3,14,955 (USD 4279.49)

  • Plastic Buckets = 2,333 x 70 = INR 1,63,310 ( USD 2219.99)
  • Plastic Bowls = 2,333 x 45 = INR 1,04,984 ( USD 1426.48)
  • Plastic Plates = 2,333 x 20 = INR 46,660 (USD 634)

4. Monthly Profits = Monthly Revenue - Monthly Running cost = INR 2,17,555 (USD 2956.05) --> 223% of running cost

5. break even time with capital Investment (No Interest) = 3.25 months


1. Setup time = 3 months

2. The Break-even time for capital investment of INR 7 Lakhs is 3 months and 7 days. (mentioned above)

3. Spreading awareness and promotional activities (on setting up and as we grow) 

  • Talks about recycling, upcycling, circularity and Punarjanam at schools ( private as well as Municipal/Gov level) because children are Influencers within their families. And we can make a difference at a grass root level and influence a new generation to think about the environment and circularity. 

  • Have tie-ups with like-minded NGO’s so as to not only reach all sectors of urban society but also penetrate rural markets within India.

4. Future propositions 

  • To enhance our brand value we can conduct activities such as beach cleanups where we use the waste as raw material to produce products that can either be sold or donated to the lesser privileged.

  • Make Punarajanam a part of CSR (Corporate social responsibilities) activities where we collect waste from the upper part of the pyramid and convert it into new products which can be donated to the lower part of the pyramid.

  • Multiple brand tie-ups because all we have to do is deboss company logos onto our products in return for an investment etc. 

About the author(s)

Yohaan Kukreja is a Multidisciplinary designer, who is inclined towards learning, applying, and experimenting with knowledge garnered from multiple streams in order to develop tangible solutions/products and work towards developing and applying materials ( both upcycled and Bio-based) which not only address the adverse contributions of unsustainable Industrial processes but also promote symbiotic living.

Eventually, he would like to work at the point of intersection between biomimicry, digital fabrication, and computational design.

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