Delightful. Earth-friendly.

Astu Eco

3. Good Health and Well-Being 9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure 11. Sustainable Cities and Communities 12. Responsible Consumption and Production 13. Climate Action

Overview

Astu Eco is in the pursuit of decreasing the use of disposable plastics globally and helping reduce environment pollution. Astu Eco is a Bangalore based start-up started by a couple of friends with an intent to rid India of the plastic menace that is rampant today.

Authors

Vineeth R

Vineeth R

Naveen S

Naveen S

Tushar K P

Tushar K P

Supriya A R

Supriya A R

Siddivinayaka M S

Siddivinayaka M S

Neha K S

Neha K S

PRAJWAL M N

PRAJWAL M N

NAVEEN ANCHI

NAVEEN ANCHI

Monitha N

Monitha N

Pavana SP Pavana

Pavana SP Pavana

School

Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Department of Management Studies

Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering, Department of Management Studies

Professor

Rahul Kargal

Rahul Kargal

Innovation

The Astu Eco is not just replacing the plastic with alternatives, but in a pursuit to reduce the human addiction to the use of plastic. One such instance is a carry bag: To keep the vegetables separated people use multiple single use bags made out of plastic when they shop, out of this only 1% of the bags are returned for recycling and up to 80% of the same ends up in ocean resulting in the deaths of 100,000 marine animals annually, the average lifespan of a plastic bag is 12 minutes. The company came up with a product named Veggie to Fridge a bag made out of 100% cotton with no plastic zips or Velcro, instead it comes with metal snaps and segregation pouches with a convenient draw string and a sturdy handle. The shopped veggies go straight to the fridge post shopping with sprinkle of water, extends the freshness of vegetables by at least 7 days. This bag could reduce the use of approx. 500 plastic bags per year per person.

Another innovative product is the Hip Hydra a funky sling bag that can hold your reusable water bottle, cell phones keys and cards but most importantly a water bottle to keep you hydrated at all times. This reduces the need for you to buy bottled water which uses one of the worst kind of single use plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET). A study reports that on an average humans buy about 1,000,000 plastic bottles per minute and only around 23% of the same are recycled, that’s around 770,000 plastic bottles left behind every minute. The idea of carrying the sling bag is more than a fashion statement, it’s a reminder.

These are just a few examples how Astu Eco is fighting against the single use plastic. Their products range from straws to shopping bags, from plates and trays to fashion wearable, but each of them are purposefully built to solve a critical on-ground problem and helps consumers ease into a lifestyle of zero plastic usage.

The organization has a dedicated research center called The Good Earth Astu Research (GEAR) CENTER which is constantly endeavoring to find newer, better products and designs that are closer to earth, biodegradable, compostable, nontoxic and safer for man, animal and earth.

Delightful. Earth-friendly.

the chart shows the green quotient of various raw materials.

Inspiration

From armchair green supporters to active environmentalists. The founders Anitha Shankar and Tejshree Madhu used to be mates while in college and when they reunited in 2015 they had something more in common, they both were deeply disturbed to see plastic litter everywhere, from the sidewalks to the parks, and landfills to piles next to schools. The story was almost the same in every large city. Elsewhere, innocent beings were falling victim to the plastic menace created by humans. This epidemic pushed them to move from their chairs and be the part of the change they always wanted to see.

Overall impact

The products by Astu Eco don’t just try to replace the plastic alternative available in the market but creates a better version of the same. It’s not just about selling a product but the idea of using an Eco-friendly and bio degradable product and raising awareness.

It is estimated that 4 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide annually and only 1% of this is recycled, all that waste can be eliminated by adapting to these reusable shopping bags. One such product from Astu Eco is the Forget-Me-Not-Bag. It comes with a reminder system to help people to REMEMBER to take reusable carry bag. Another interesting facet is this bag is made out of 100% recycled PET bottles and can be folded to a compact size that comes with a ‘clip-on’.

Astu’s latest launch, the “Zero Plastic Lifestyle-Starter Kit” is a gateway for an individual trying to adapt an Eco-friendly lifestyle. It contains 13 everyday items that would otherwise use plastic and helps reduce more than 1,100 pieces of plastic per person per year.

The container box made out of areca by Astu Eco has been appreciated globally for substituting 48,600 tons of single use plastic.

Business benefit

The material plastic runs deep in our lifestyles. The corporations produce and use more of it because it’s the cheapest and one of the best things that happened to economy. Although Millennials are well aware of the plastic toxicity, they have failed to figure out an alternate to plastic in most of the scenarios. Such population could be the potential consumers for a biodegradable start-up and that is not a small number. While 66% of global consumers are willing to adapt sustainable goods, a full 73% of Millennials are willing to pay more for bio-degradable goods.

When it comes to Business to Business (B2B) since the ban on single use plastic in India many retailers are in search for an alternative to plastic which is Eco-friendly and able to meet their standards. This decision from the government to ban single use plastic opened up a huge market for sustainable products. Assuming that an average Indian shops twice a week and takes home a couple of plastic bags every time that adds up to a rough 200 bags per person per year, replacing these single use bags with a biodegradable carry bag could generate a higher revenue just by selling them to the retailers.

Astu Eco is an e-commerce company, 30% of its business comes from online side the rest comes from its distribution network in several retail stores.

Social and environmental benefit

Plastics are neither safe for us nor our surroundings. The entire cycle of manufacturing of plastic to its disposal is detrimental to our well being.

At Astu, the research team has found some of the best materials that can be used in manufacturing various single use products such as bowls, plates, cups etc.

Areca is one such material. Palm leaf sheath tableware are considered to be the most natural solution to the non-biodegradable disposable plastic. It is made from the fallen palm leaf sheath of Areca tree. It is handy, non-toxic, chemical free, odor free, 100% biodegradable and compostable. It is born of earth and after its use, quietly goes back into earth and becomes food for plants and microbes.

Bagasse is made from sugarcane fiber and is a natural by-product. Bagasse products are 100% biodegradable and compostable and biodegrade within 60-90 days.

Paper products have been used for many years way before plastic was introduced. Paper products have a far smaller negative environmental impact than plastic. Unlike plastic, paper products are manufactured from a renewable resource. Paper is easily recyclable. It is made of wood pulp and thus is biodegradable.

The company aims to impact a billion people in India by 2027 providing alternatives and awareness of plastic.

The Astu Eco is also providing employment opportunities in rural India and specially providing opportunities to women in rural and empowering them.

Interview

Anitha Shankar, Founder

Photo of interviewee

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Astu Eco

Astu Eco

Bangalore, Karnataka, IN

Business Website: astueco.com

Year Founded: 2016

Number of Employees: 501 to 1000

Astu Eco is in the pursuit of decreasing the use of disposable plastics globally and helping reduce environment pollution. Astu Eco is a Bangalore based start-up that produces Eco-friendly alternatives for single use plastic.