The Bruneian

Keratas.bn: Turning recycled papers into a profit

- Nurhana Diah BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN

Saving the environmen­t one business at a time, Keratas. bn is all about collecting and recycling paper waste and turning it into new paper products such as bookmarks, business tags and envelopes, among others.

The business is run by students from Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) Muhammad Zahin Zainudin, Siti Nur Sabrina Juppry, Nur Haziratul Hafizah Tahirudin, Fatin Syahirah Iswandi, Fatin Haziqah Jumat.

The inspiratio­n behind the local venture came from a previous workshop they attended that was conducted by LiveWIRE Brunei called ‘Becoming a Successful Owner Manager’. The session emphasised five core ideas to do a business and one of them is waste management.

“So, we made our research further on top waste in Brunei. We found that by 2025 there will be about 400 to 500 tons of waste at the Sungai Paku landfill in Tutong District. As economic and population growth continues to escalate, waste is extremely rising beyond our limited landfill capacity,” said Sabrina.

Due to this issue, the group managed to find out the top four waste in Brunei and one of them is paper at 10 per cent.

Their decision to do a recycling paper start-up business with intentions to contribute back to the country as responsibl­e youths and help the country reduce waste.

Keratas.bn may not be seen as

a major part in reducing global warming, at least, not yet, but they are saving up some space for other garbage, creating awareness for people to start using recycled paper.

“We do believe in what we are doing by taking small steps towards reducing paper waste could help people to realize how important it is to save the environmen­t before it is getting worse,” said the project co-founder.

Indirectly, with this business, the students are contributi­ng to Brunei’s economy by selling finished products from paper waste.

For the homegrown business, the initial process is paper waste collection which is gathered from family and friends or anyone who wished to throw away their papers.

The next stage is recycling which shredding the paper, blending, soaking, filtering, drying and ironing before cutting and designing into finished products.

For their products, Keratas. bn currently offers recycled bookmarks, tags, cards, envelopes and A4 papers.

They also are open to customisat­ion services whereby customers can request different designs based on availabili­ty.

Apart from that, they also offer services of collecting paper waste from people who wish to throw away their papers such as old books, school notes, exam papers and more, however, there are limitation­s as they do not accept religious books or notes containing religious verses such as old AlQurans.

“We chose to do this business because we want to do something different from other businesses. Despite most people seeing this business as difficult in gaining sales, we believe if we make it right, and with the support we get from other companies that is in the same field, this business can be successful,” said the youth.

Although there are some similar businesses in the local, the students believe that they are different as they are not just producing recycled paper but turning them into varieties of finished products.

The price range for the products is between $0.25 to $10.00 depending on products and customisat­ions.

The products of Keratas.bn is currently only available through social media @keratas.bn as they believe that it is the best platform to reach out to consumers.

However, being students and new to the entreprene­urial world, the youths are still learning to navigate through challenges daily and one of the struggles is the manual work of recycling.

Recycling paper manually and by hand takes up a lot of effort, time and energy, especially if there is high demand. Should there be some damage to the papers, they would have to re-do the process to ensure all products are of their finest quality.

Weather is also another challenge for them as the papers need to be fully dried under the sun followed by space whereby, they need ample area to cater for big batches of recycled paper, catering to increasing orders.

Moreover, their customisat­ion service has also brought them some difficulti­es to complete in time as some designs require a longer period to complete.

“As we are part-time students and entreprene­urs, our time is limited and there are other things that we need to do apart from this business. However, from here, it teaches us how to manage our time with our business,” said the entreprene­ur.

For the youthprenu­ers, all of the challenges act as their learning curve, teaching them to the basics of managing a business and enhancing their skills.

Now, Keratas.bn is only focusing on their existing products, but hoped to offer new products in the future. They are in the midst of identifyin­g and articulati­ng market requiremen­ts.

Support this local business and make a difference by buying products of recycled paper made via Instagram @keratas.bn or simply join the cause of recycling waste paper and support their entreprene­urial journey.

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