The Bartan Company was launched in February 2019, in the Nallagandla area of Hyderabad by 4 friends. Waste Reduction is their primary aim. They provide utensils for events, which are not toxic to the environment and enable 'celebrations that leave behind fond memories, not waste'. They have generated 2,500 kg of compost from wet waste and 50,315 disposables have been diverted from the landfills, across 58 events. They began their journey with 10 guests’ birthday parties and have catered to 5000 guest weddings in just 1 year. The one theme that stands out is that people want to change, they just need guidance!
Two partners were friends from the same apartment complex- Nidarshana and Madhumita. It began when Nidarshana was appalled by the enormous piles of plastic waste that she was left with after a home party. It left an indelible mark on her mind that she lamented to a friend Madhumita, and they got started by having stainless steel cutlery rentals for parties to replace single-use plastic disposables.
"Reena and I joined them soon when we found out about this idea from a common group, as we were also on a similar journey of sustainable living," said Sushoma.
Although the venture started with stainless steel rentals, as they scaled up to larger events, it became clearer that the logistics of rentals did not work for large events. And hence opted for biodegradable cutlery that goes right back into the soil as compost and nourishes it.
“The purpose of our organization was to control waste that gets generated at source, from parties, celebrations that add to the overflowing landfills. With the obsessive attachment to convenience, the repercussions on our environment have been actively kept out. TBC wanted to bring what has been pushed out of our collective consciousness back into the customer's awareness, so that they start going beyond just convenience and look at the holistic picture of all their purchasing choices says Nidarshana.
The Bartan company wishes to engage, through 3 key focus areas:
Awareness: To make people aware of the harmful effects on us, our planet, because of our wasteful and mindless way of living.
Accessibility: To provide people with easy and affordable access to earth-friendly options to eat, shop, live, celebrate, and more!
Action: Get people to go for sustainable living choices that do not affect people and planet health.
TBC are on the constant lookout to make it easier for people to embrace sustainable living. To solve any problems they face, they believe in looking back at the past- ancient and indigenous cultures from around the world who lived in perfect harmony before the advent of plastic. This usually gives them the much-needed inspiration to work any idea into the contemporary context.
The team at Bartan Company learns from similar ventures running across the globe and it has always helped them find innovative solutions to pressing waste management issues.
“When clients come to us, almost each engagement is unique. Our endeavour is to always understand what the client’s needs are, their special asks, challenges, budgets etc to suggest options they can consider. More than providing the service, our intent is to seed the thought of earth friendly celebrations and how their small choices make a big difference!” adds Reena.
"This was a not-for-profit organization, and we covered the bare minimum charges to cover for cleaning by domestic help and logistics through rentals. Now, we consult for events, have packages for various needs that are still super competitive when compared to options in the market. So, yes, affordability has been our key principle for pricing. We provide additional support of domestic help at a small additional cost, or clients clean and return the cutlery. Charges are very nominal for rental and biodegradable cutlery. Refer flyer for specifics" said Madhumita.
"All 4 of us when we started had full-time work of our own, but the will to come together and make a difference prevailed. So we stole some (actually a lot) of our personal and family time to make this work. It has been an amazing and a roller coaster journey for all 4 of us juggling multiple roles. Women are creative and resilient people by nature, and we needed a lot of both for this enterprise, so it has worked very well for us so far! Add to that, that we had families backing us at every step, we really could not ask for more! It has been terrific. We have only grown organically, no marketing, advertising spends, no employees, no office, etc. yet we have saved 50,000 items from the landfills from our efforts. It surely says the society has welcomed us with large hearts and wide-open arms! All our services are for the environment, so even our lowest denominator is one that imbibes best for us and the earth and says no to landfills rule" said Sushoma.
COVID has worked differently for The Bartan Company, Reena adds, "The pandemic has obviously, rendered events redundant. So, our focus has turned now to creating awareness about waste reduction and management. We take webinars on various topics related to sustainable living and waste management. We have a new range of products for home composting and managing wet waste. Well, fewer events and less plastic surely is a good thing for the environment! We believe this is our big call by nature, telling us to wake up from our slumber and treat the earth and its beings with respect and dignity. We at The Bartan Company, hence, have used this period as a time for reflection and for educating en masse. No one wants this to continue! But our efforts have been at ensuring humans don't go back to their 'normal' selves because that wasn't normal in the first place!"
While sharing tips and tricks, TBC women unanimously say, "if you asked us: where does one begin? Begin by looking into your waste bins. Reflect on what you could have avoided throwing in, how long did you use the packaging for, what better use can the vegetable/fruit peels put to? It's a good place to start!"
Written by: Rujuta Kakade