A pair of childhood friends, and one in debt. The other joins hands with a university buddy too. This was the early 2000s in the bustling megapolis of Dhaka.
The univ buddies — Abdur Razzaque and Ibrahim Sajib – studied to be textile technologists, one doing his Masters in Recycled Fashion Design, and the other in International Business.
The one in debt (Kajol Bahadur) had been collecting textile waste for long and knew the lay of the land, but somehow found himself in despair as his business grew knottier and unmanageable.
Expertise and knowledge on the business of collecting textile waste and garments also came in from Abdur’s father, who had been into this profession since the time the “informal syndicate” ran the entire ops. “It was very unorganised. Plus, the recycling then was traditional in nature and limited in scale with mostly downcycling being done. This meant low quality yarn majorly and home textiles.
“My father used to buy from the existing network of middlemen, segregate according to colour and composition, and sell those to a third party to scale up. But, there was no guarantee of quality and both the quantity and capacity was small,” says Abdur, the Managing Director at the Dhaka-based Recycle-Raw Limited.
Spearheaded by the trio, with Ibrahim as the chairperson and Kajol as director, Recycle-Raw claims to be the only compliant waste-sorting company in Bangladesh today, sourcing textile waste from the key industrial zones in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Chittagong, Gazipur and Savar, all located not far from the other.
The aim at Recycle Raw is to make the waste management industry more formal and organised. “Our long-term vision is to move ahead together. We want to work not only in circular fashion but also gradually expand to circular economy.”
With capacity to handle 2000MT annually, the $3 million company says it is a one-stop solution for the following services: scale up, exact quality feedstock, traceability and logistics.