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From waste to your stationery

Kritica Lacoul, who runs Jamarko, a paper recycling company, points to handmade recycled greeting cards at her showroom in Kathmandu. (Photo by Deepak Adhikari)

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Jamarko, one of our merchant who has been very passionate about their work and the impact that they make have been recently featured in the Asian Review. The clipping of the article reads as follows

“Jamarko, a company that makes and sells recycled paper products, has been working in Nepal's recycling scene for over 15 years. Founded by two sisters in 2001, Jamarko, which means "effort" in the Nepali language, collects waste paper and turns it into paper bags, photo frames, notebooks, greeting cards and lamp shades.

Frustrated by mere sloganeering by nonprofit groups vowing to protect the environment, Aruna Lacoul and her sister Muna Shrestha decided to take matters into their own hands in 2001. The duo wanted to demonstrate that waste paper -- such as magazines, file folders, envelopes and gift boxes -- could not only be reused but actually transformed into beautiful handmade products. They provided collection bins to government and nongovernment offices, but they quickly realized that transporting and sorting the paper would add to their cost. They collected waste paper from households close to their collection centre.

Shrestha, a co-founder and social worker, noted that "30% of paper needs in developing countries can be met with recycled paper."

The company has also gone through a generational shift, with Kritica Lacoul, a 34-year-old graduate in business administration, taking over the operations. She said she joined the company to continue the family's legacy. "But I was also motivated by the fact that it's an environment-friendly enterprise," she said.

At their small showroom in the posh neighbourhood of Jhamsikhel, recycled notebooks, file folders and envelopes are arranged in rows. An occasional tourist drops in, but most of the customers are locals. Jamarko, which also produces products from handmade Nepalese Lokta paper, employs 10 people, mostly women trained by the company, who work at a factory on the city's eastern outskirts. "Over the years, people have become aware of the need to manage waste, but they don't know how to sort it," Kritica Lacoul said. "We had expected government offices and NGOs to provide us with raw materials and buy recycled products in return, but it didn't happen."

Published by Sudeep Sayami on 2018-12-11 10:10:00 UTC