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The company name itself, Craste, is a combination of “crop” and “waste.”

There will be a substantial increase in wood consumption in India by 2030, exacerbating an existing shortfall between wood production and demand and increasing the country’s reliance on wood imports, according to an ITTO report published today that analyzes India’s timber market dynamics to 2030. India Timber Supply and Demand 2010–2030, authored by Promode Kant and Raman Nautiyal, analyzes India’s timber market dynamics by reviewing historical trends for 2010–2019 and forecasting the likely situation to 2030.

The report shows that, although India’s forest cover has increased steadily for nearly two decades, timber production is still substantially less than consumption, and an increasingly large proportion of demand is being met by imports. The study forecasts a jump of nearly 70% in demand for roundwood in India in the next decade, from 57 million m3 in 2020 to 98 million m3 in 2030, driven largely by the construction sector. Without policy change, say the authors, India will need to rely heavily on imports to meet this surge in demand because domestic production is restricted by the country’s conservation-oriented forest policy. 

 India’s entire forest cover could be under climate change hotspots by 2050 . Source

India not only imports wood products like plywood, veneer, particle board, fibre board, pulp and waste-paper, newsprint, paperboards and furniture, but also exports most of them, except for pulp and waste paper, and newsprint. The Indian export and import of wood and wood products have shown a growing trend. However, the value of exports is much less as compared to that of imports. High GST is something that is worrying the industry at present with 18% IGST being levied on timber that is imported to the country. 

 Plywood gets its final look by assembling thin layers of wood veneers bonded together with powerful adhesives. A combination of a variety of wood for various applications is required to make plywood. Source

Observing such heavy imports and inflated prices, Craste aims to eliminate this dependence. Craste, founded in 2018 by sibling duo Shubham Singh and Himansha Singh, is a Pune-based startup that purchases crop residues from farmers and recycles them into packaging material and engineered boards. Craste uses crop waste to make materials for packaging and furniture applications, thus reducing CO2 emissions. Being the second-largest agro-based economy with year-round crop cultivation, India generates a large amount of agricultural waste.

Million tons of agricultural residue is produced every year, and a lot of it is burnt, leading to massive environmental damage.In addition to reducing CO2 emissions, the startup is providing additional revenue to the farmers.Purchasing the agricultural waste from the farmers at Rs 6 per kg, the startup then recycles this waste into the engineered boards.The engineered particle boards are free of formaldehyde, a  strong-smelling, colourless gas used in pressed-wood products and that is harmful to human health.Formaldehyde continues to release the carcinogen for a period of 70 years after use in furniture and is banned in most parts of the world. Some of the crop waste that goes into the production of craste include wheat, barley, mustard.

Shubham discovered that machinery to clear the residue was expensive, and manual clearing was time-consuming, and because of this, farmers resorted to burning down the stubble. Shubham also found out that India is one of the largest importers of timber, which propelled him to start CRASTE. Source

Besides managing crop waste, the company expects that for each particle-board panel of 8ft x 4ft size and 18mm thickness produced, it reduces 30kg of CO2 emission. The 1,000 tonne particle board plant will sequester 1,46,000 kgs of CO2.The startup is also building packaging solutions using their patent pending technology to extract Lignin from crop residue. Craste took part in the 2019 class of the Stanley+Techstars Accelerator, and the startup worked directly with accelerator partner Stanley Black & Decker to create sustainable packaging. The team is currently designing clam-shell packaging that will help the corporation to reach plastic-free.

Craste soon plans to commence operations from its maiden agri-fibre conversion unit from Gwalior. The unit will be able to produce 3,000 kg of pulp and 30 boards per day. The pulp obtained is approximately 40 per cent cheaper than the pulp obtained from virgin tree stays in markets. Craste is also in talks with Punjab Agriculture College and has plans of creating models in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Bihar, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh in order to achieve their goals of converting one lakh tons of crop waste yearly by 2025.

Craste developed a patent-pending technology, Fumasolv, to extract a material called Lignin from crop residue to develop packaging solutions. Source


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