Nepali Times
Making A Difference
Papier-mache initiative

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.

Recycled paper notebooks : Rs 95 to Rs. 550
Lacoul and Shrestha visited a few paper making factories and then applied to the Department of Cottage and Small Industries for a trainer. The duo took the paper recycling training and also trained other 10 women to begin their venture.

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.

Stationery set: Rs. 1200

"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.

Newspaper bags: Rs. 5 to Rs. 30
The sisters say that over the years, interest in recycled paper has risen, especially among young people. And it's no surprise that Lacoul's young daughters Kritica and Ritica were the ones to take the initiative to open Jamarko's first outlet. Says Kritica: "At present, we are just managing the store and marketing, but I would like to contribute to the production process soon with creative ideas."

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.

Photoframes: Rs. 225 to Rs. 360

Half moon lampshade: Rs.600

Cutwork greeting cards: Rs. 50

Paavan Mathema

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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

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)