What can one do with empty cartons and old newspapers? One can throw them away along with garbage, or sell them in bulk to make some money.

But finding a working business model out of the paper-waste is what two entrepreneurs from the city have done.

Abhinav Gangumalla from ‘Hyderabad Goes Green’, and Renu Rao from ‘Deckle Edge’, a designer store, have recognised the “social enterprise” opportunity hidden in paper waste and worked together to build ‘WE Recycle—Women Empowerment thru’ Recycling’, which was launched here on Monday, the Earth Day. Displayed at the Deckle Edge, Begumpet, the product range of ‘WE Recycle’ included lampshades, candle stands, chocolate boxes, vases, keepsake boxes, trays, clutches, bags, pen-stands and dry flower holders—all made of paper waste.

If one assumed there was a huge workshop behind the creation of these products, one would be in for a surprise. All these products were outsourced from two poor women Parveen and Haseena, who worked from their homes in the Rasoolpura slum in Begumpet. “We provided them raw material such as cartons, newspapers, magazines, and paper strips, and trained them in making these products according to the prototypes given. We are aiming to extend the enterprise to include all women from Rasoolpura slum,” said Ms. Rao.

Eco-friendly

As of now, the two women are being paid a monthly salary of Rs.2,000 each, she said. In the offing are the plans to export the products too.

“Our family members would not have allowed us to go out and work. This way, we are able to supplement the family income without having to go out,” says Parveen, whose husband is a painter. Social activist Amala Akkineni launched the initiative and lauded it as eco-friendly.

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