This Mumbai startup is making tearable laundry sheets, bamboo-based facial tissues and more to replace plastic
Becoclaims to be one of the most affordable and sustainable home products companies in India.
- India overall generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day, according to State of India’s Environment 2022 report.
- The startup claims that it uses cornstarch, bamboo, sugarcane, coconut and other natural alternatives of single-use plastic.
- D2C companies like Forest Essentials, Godrej Consumer, Colgate-Palmolive and Hindustan Unilever have also been coming up with
AdvertisementThree friends Aditya, Anuj and Akshay, who graduated together from BITS Pilani, were regular participants in beach clean-ups in Mumbai. During one of their rounds, they found an orange wrapper of a chocolate bar Marathon, which was discontinued in the 1990s. Surprisingly, that plastic wrapper was well preserved and was still on the beach.
That chocolate wrapper stuck in their minds and that’s how the sustainable home products company Beco was born in 2018. Beco captured the markets of Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai with its plant-based products like tearable
Fast forward to 2022, their company Beco is now one of the most affordable and sustainable home products companies, they claim. Their mantra is simple – make products more sustainable and affordable; make sustainability a household habit.
“The problem that we're trying to solve is to help make sustainability convenient. As a businessman, I look at myself as a consumer. Just making smarter, leaner choices today is actually not burning a hole in your pocket,” said Aditya Ruia, co-founder of Beco, in a conversation with Business Insider India.
Almost everyone in day-to-day lives uses products that are made out of plastic or are not good for the environment and these small products become a larger plastic waste nightmare. The country overall generates 25,940 tonnes of plastic waste every day, according to State of India’s Environment 2022 report by Centre for Science and Environment.
But since the pandemic, the awareness for sustainability and related products among people has risen as people have grown more environmentally conscious and are gradually shifting to sustainable products.
“After the pandemic, I think home became the center of people's lives. Many ended up spending a lot of time at home. General awareness of what they were using at homes increased,” said Ruia.
The startup claims it uses cornstarch, bamboo, sugarcane, coconut and other natural alternatives in place of single-use plastic.
And by using these alternatives and adopting sustainable production and manufacturing practices, the company has been able to save over 500 tonnes of plastic waste.The maximum cost of the 53 different home products it makes is under ₹1800.
Advertisement“You are using those garbage bags when throwing your trash in your kitchen or in your common spaces. There is a compostable garbage bag available for that. Today, there are solutions for using eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes, instead of a plastic one,” said Ruia.
Celebrity investors, expanding partnerships
Bollywood celebrities like Ranbir Kapoor, Aamir Khan, Dia Mirza and Bhumi Pednekar are already Beco’s investors. Beco was also one of the vendors for actress
“So, when we are working with all of these partners, they have so much consumption in- house, whether it's in their salons, or in their co-working spaces, or in the hotels. We want to give an ESG (environmental, social, governance) push internally and promote sustainability,” Ruia said.
D2C companies like Forest Essentials, Godrej Consumer, Colgate-Palmolive and Hindustan Unilever have also been coming up with similar sustainability initiatives.
For instance, cosmetics and skincare company Forest Essentials has been using recyclable air-filled paper pouches or paper cushions for the products inside the cartons and for orders placed online via the company’s website, instead of plastic bubble wrap.
AdvertisementSimilarly, Hindustan Unilever has initiated the usage of rHDPE, which is a plastic made from recycled High Density Polythene (25% recycled HDPE), in their personal care product bottles like TRESemmé, Sunsilk,Vaseline lotions, Surf excel laundry liquid and comfort fabric conditioner; and rPET (80% recycled PET) in blister packs for personal care brands such as Pepsodent toothbrushes and Vaseline lip care products.
Beco recently raised $3 million in a series A round that saw participation from Rukum Capital, Priyavrata Mafatlal, Better Capital, Prashant Pittie, Titan Capital and others.
It plans to use these funds for research and development and product innovation, to build visibility and marketing, and for driving customer acquisition.
“In terms of growth for the business, I think the funds are being deployed to grow. And we feel that to grow, we need to innovate on products. And we also need to spend on customer acquisition and help tell the customer, share that story. If they relate, they can make that switch,” Ruia added.
Beco, like any other company, is also facing challenges in hiring the right talent and from rising costs in the digital marketing space. “Overall, I think it's a very common challenge. I don't think we are in the FMCG space. So, you know, obviously, building a retail presence becomes a tad bit more challenging, but I think we're getting there,” he added.
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