Amid Jhamel's booming eatery row is Jamarko, a retail store for recycled paper artifacts by sisters Aruna Lacoul and Muna Shrestha.
While the store is barely a year old, Jamarko Handmade Paper Products has been around for more than a decade. The company has been collecting and recycling paper that would otherwise have just added on to the pile of garbage Kathmandu produces.
"I was running an adhesive factory then," says Lacoul. Weary of problems regarding imported raw materials and high risk of the production process, Lacoul wanted to start a venture that used local resources. "That was when my sister and I came up with the idea." While many suggested that they open a NGO and gather funds from donors, the sisters were firm on their idea of a sustainable business.
Now, Jamarko recycles an average of 20 tons of paper every year. The company collects waste paper from a range of organisations, recycles it, and transforms it into usable items. Soaked overnight and mashed into a gooey pulp, waste paper is strained, sun-dried and ironed according to thickness in their factory in Gokarna. On a good day, Jamarko can manufacture up to 800 sheets of paper.
"The paper produced is of a fairly good quality and can even be used for simple printing," says Shrestha. With the paper, Jamarko produces folders, envelopes, letter pads, notebooks, invitation cards, visiting cards, handicraft items as well as A4/A3 size papers. On the side, the company also produces creative Nepali Lokta paper products. Newspapers are turned into paper bags as the quality of recycled newspaper is not up to the standards required.
Anyone is welcome to contribute to their paper collection and a few INGOs and NGOs have become regular suppliers. Jamarko's policy is that corporate suppliers should also be buyers. "Our objective is to return their waste in usable form," explains Lacoul.
Jamarko in Nepali means "initiative". Lacoul and Shrestha encourage Kathmandu residents to make an extra initiative to go green, dispose their waste paper at Jamarko and see what unfolds.
Out of sight is not out of mind, BHRIKUTI RAI
The plastic bag you threw in the garbage today will be around for 10,000 years