Established in 1981 by KK Jhunjhunwala, Ayodhya-based Yash Pakka (formerly known as Yash Papers) began its journey as a global manufacturer synonymous with machine-glazed varieties of paper. Today the company is spearheaded by his son Ved Krishna. Under his able leadership, the company has emerged in its all-new avatar as Yash Pakka, transitioning from paper manufacturing to creating sustainable packaging solutions.
Yash Pakka aims to replace single-use plastics by providing sustainable packaging solutions for a cleaner planet. The over 450-member company works towards building a plastic-free future through its holistic approach. “We have a strong business presence across 43 countries and aim to double our production capacity by 2023. We have been recognized as ‘Top 10 Environmentally Sustainable Companies’ by B-Corp, a reputed international organization,’ says Ved Krishna, vice chairman, Yash Pakka.
The company offers innovative compostable packaging solutions to leading players in the food and pharmaceutical industries. Some of its key customers include McDonald’s and CCD, among others. Under the brand name Chuk, the company offers lightweight, flexible and compostable tableware products to several Quick Service Restaurants (QSR) such as Haldirams, HMS Host, Chai Point, and Lite Bite Foods. In addition, Yash Pakka has a strong global presence and exports its products to 43 countries.
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Chuk – lightweight, flexible and compostable tableware products
Speaking about Chuk, Krishna says, “In the world of impact investing, I am ambitious to change the world through sustainable packaging solutions. I took the entrepreneurial mantle at Yash Pakka in 1999. That is when I identified that most of the materials used in packaging, especially food, were either laminated, plastic-coated, or covered in cellophane that was harming the environment.
“So, it was this epiphany about the massive amount of non-biodegradable garbage produced each day that prompted me to conceptualize Chuk in 2014. I was certain, India and the world needed a sustainable solution that could contribute towards a cleaner and greener future. Since then, I started my endeavor to eliminate the usage of single-use plastic and styrofoam products to secure the environment from further damage.
“Through Chuk, our company decided to build a movement towards environmental sustainability. Chuk produces an innovative range of compostable tableware products which are untreated with any kind of chemicals. While plastic takes more than 500 years to decompose, Chuk’s tableware products which are made from sugarcane waste (bagasse) decompose within 60 days. The advantages of using bagasse are that it makes the products lightweight, flexible, microwaveable, and strong enough to prevent leakage. In addition, Chuk recovers 95% of cooking chemicals used in manufacturing, thereby making it even more environment-friendly.”
Sourcing raw materials for Chuk
“Chuk follows the circular economy approach. Our products are made from locally sourced sugarcane fiber called bagasse that is untreated with any kind of chemicals. Sugarcane is produced in abundance in nearby villages. Farmers bring the sugarcane crop to the mill which squeezes all the juice out and then the stalk is left behind. We use that fibrous stalk to make the pulp using which we manufacture our tableware products. We have long-term contracts with the nearby villages within 100 km of our radius and access to raw material is actually one of our strengths. We are looking to double up the production capacity within this year,” says Krishna.
Food industry is the primary focus
“We are focused on the food industry as of now as it is one of the biggest industries that use a lot of single-use plastic and thus also provides a big opportunity and market to be served. Along with the current range, we are also developing high-strength paper bags to replace polybags and greaseproof paper for bakery,” says Krishna.
“There is a rise in awareness regarding sustainable packaging and more and more businesses are looking towards biodegradable alternates in packaging such as restaurants opting for compostable tableware like Chuk, manufacturing companies are looking at Poly Lactic Acid-based (PLA) clear packaging as a substitute to single-use plastics,” concludes Krishna.