Usage of plastic has many adverse effects on the environment, however, its usage cannot be banned completely due to many reasons. Hence, many environment-conscious people have been exploring ways to reduce its usage. For instance, a Mumbai teen makes low-cost grow bags from recycled plastic bottles.
In July 2021, Jinay Gada (17), a student of KJ Somaiya College of Science and Commerce, Mumbai, launched ‘Planteria’ that manufactures lightweight grow bags. These grow bags are made of non-woven fabric extracted from plastic bottles and covers.
The grow bags are sturdy, regulate water drainage and promote air pruning. To date, Gada has sold 200 bags through social media. Gada started gardening at home when the first lockdown was announced in March 2020. He grew various flowering plants like roses, some plants from cuttings like money plants, and even tried growing fruits and vegetables.
However, when he wanted to purchase lightweight planters for his balcony, they were either made of all-plastic or were too expensive. So, he took matters into his own hands and decided to make grow bags.
After researching a bit, he came to know that grow bags were also manufactured using fabric. In April 2021, through suppliers in Surat, Gujarat, he acquired non-woven fabric made from discarded plastic that was collected in landfills. Jinay said;
Many people were offering this material, so I had to test how much weight the material could hold, how porous it was and how sturdy it was before finalising a supplier. All the grow bags, for trial, were stitched by local tailors near my home.
He also distributed some bags among his close friends and relatives to test them. The grow bags made by Jinay are lightweight and sturdy. They can drain water from the bottom and sides. As they are porous, they have good air circulation from all sides. Once he was satisfied with one of the suppliers, he purchased the material in bulk.
He had the material made into four sizes for the grow bags, and priced them between Rs 50 for the smallest to Rs 120 for the largest. Within two months of the launch, Jinay received 200 orders from all over the country.