Low Tech Still Has Its Place
Waste tyres in Nepal are generally sent to brick kilns for use as fuel, or deposited on the banks of the Bagmati. However, an attempt to change attitudes has been developed by two Nepalese women - Ojaswi Baidya and Loonibha Manandhar.
Tyre Treasures Aim to Reshape Tyre Recycling in Nepal
They are co-founders of Tyre Treasure, a company that turns old, used tyres from cars, trucks and buses into recycled furniture.
Baidya and Manandhar come from two very different backgrounds—Environment Science and Business Administration, respectively—but they struck a chord with each other when they met at the ‘Greenovation Start-Up Challenge’, a competition organised by WWF and the Nepal Entrepreneur Hub, to find innovative ideas that had a sustainable ‘green’ component to them. Having pitched and listened to various green and progressive ideas during the four weeks of the competition, Baidya and Manandhar initially wanted to get into solid waste management.
Their first idea was for a digital app that would help people divide and manage their waste. But they scrapped the idea once they started looking into what happened to old discarded tyres.
“There had to be a way to reuse these tyres and prevent them from causing further harm to health and the environment,” says Manandhar.
Tyre Treasures officially started in November 2017, and the duo have been hard at work filling indoor spaces in Nepali households and restaurants with recycled furniture. The primary components of their products, apart from the eponymous tyres, are wood, metal and rope. They started off making tables and chairs, called ‘dhukutis’ and ‘sar jayanthis’, with wood or metal for the legs and rope to cover the tyres. These tables and chairs added a homespun and rustic look to living rooms, bedrooms and lobbies.
One initial problem was the acquisition of the tyres themselves. The tyres, which are purchased from local automobile shops in Patan, were hard to come by, as shop owners received a bigger payout from brick kilns. Baidya and Manandhar now partner with a number of auto workshops as ‘Green Partners’ who sell them tyres for reasonable prices as part of their ‘social responsibility’.
After receiving positive feedback from customers, Baidya and Manandhar have now decided to fabricate their items to fit into the ambience of offices. “We stopped using ropes and rather, focused on building the artistic look of the tyres so that they would fit into lobby areas, gardens and terraces,” says Baidya. Their range of products now include tables, chairs, mats, pet beds, wall hangings, and room decor materials. The cost of their products range from Rs 9,500 to Rs 14,000, depending on the level of customisation the product underwent, and are available at various Neplese stores.
“We hope that this growing interest for upcycled and recycled products isn’t just a fad,” say Manandhar and Baidya. “We are capable of preventing the harm done to Mother earth through the small steps we take. Tyre Treasures is just one of these steps.”
Source: Khatmandu Times