There is this widely-held perception that jute and paper bags are more eco-friendly than plastic ones. But Makrand Appalwar, a firstgeneration entrepreneur, and Managing Director of the Rs 102-crore polymer - that is, plastic - packaging material company Emmby Polyarns, wants to dispel this notion. Plastics may not be bio-degradable, but so what? "Why not recycle plastics smartly like we do, so that it doesn't have to be put into the earth's crust," he says. "Not only is re-cycling easier and cheaper, plastic occupies little space. One can save hugely on fuel and transportation." Jute and paper weigh more and are more bulky.
Emmby Polyarns manufactures 600,000 jumbo polypropylene - one of the common kinds of plastic - bags every day across four manufacturing facilities at Silvassa, a three-hour drive from Mumbai, and packs close to 75 per cent of all the detergent and tea and coffee brands in India. The company also sells packaging materials to customers in more than 45 countries.
Appalwar's ambition is to scale up his turnover to Rs 700 crore in the next five years. To achieve this, he hopes to make the most of waterconservation initiatives in the country.
His factory at Silvassa also makes 500 portable polypropylene water tanks every day. He has sold more than 100,000 of them in the last year. These tanks which look like jumbo bags can store more than 1,000 litres of water at one go, and are popular in the rural areas.
Appalwar's business appears to be on a very sound footing.