22-year-old friends Aram Aslanyan and Vachagan Avanesyan established their first business in the field of nature protection. “Eco State” LLC came to solve the problem of nature pollution by polyethylene and plastic in Artsakh.
The idea was born after their participation in the “Visit to Social Enterprises of Armenia" program organized by the Artsakh Republic Ministry of Culture, Youth Affairs and Tourism. Getting introduced with the “Clean Goris” organization the boys decided to have such an organization in Artsakh as well.
Initial investments amounted to about AMD 2 million. For this sum of money the entrepreneurs purchased equipment for the press and obtained a site where the raw material are being collected and then handed over to the companies operating in Yerevan and Abovyan.
Obtaining equipment for crushing the plastic raw material was among the foreground plans of the young people. However, in contrast with the Armenian organization, “Eco State” did not have an opportunity to take part in the EU grant program. “We have registered the organization in Artsakh and at that time we did not think that the place of registration could impede cooperation with international organizations, and when everything turned out, we did not change anything. We rejected the idea of re-registration in Armenia because it was associated with additional financial costs,” says Vachagan Avanesyan, one of the founders.
The problem of funding was solved through opening a credit line. The young businessmen took from the bank AMD 7 million at an annual interest rate of 16%. According to the calculations of the young men, this sum will be enough to launch the recycling process and start the production of sidewalks.
Nevertheless, collecting the raw material is still topical for the young people. Their calculations related to the compensation mechanism (AMD 50 and AMD 100 per 1kg plastic and 1kg polyethylene correspondingly) have not been justified, as this sum is not even enough to cover the cost of transporting the raw material to the organization. “We have understood that people’s pivotal motive is the solution of the ecological problem as the majority refused the money (including those who offered assistance in collecting plastic). However, the problem cannot be solved only through volunteer forces, a wide-scale coordinated approach is needed”, Vachagan remarks.
“We have received calls from various community leaders offering to collect and hand over the raw plastic instead of burying it in the ground”.
The young people are confident that with joint efforts it will be possible to increase the processing rate of the raw plastic from 0% to 15% by the end of the current year. Their goal is to achieve the European index, which is 50-60% of processing.