Raju Mupparupu is a well-known innovator from Warangal’s Gopalapuram village who has built several low-cost innovations, including sensors for street lights and a battery-operated bicycle. On 27 April, the 30-year-old launched his latest innovation — pens made using corn husk.
“In the agricultural fields surrounding my village, several farmers cultivate corn. However, after the harvest, they are left with the corn’s outer husk which they remove before sending to the market. This husk is usually burned as it is not used for any purpose. So, I wanted to find a solution that would prevent corn husk burning,” says Raju.
Remembering a skill that he learned during his school days, he decided to mould the corn husks into cylindrical shaped-holders for pen refills.
“This would help to reduce the plastic waste generated from disposable pens and prevent burning of the corn husk,” says Raju who has made over 100 pens.
Writing with corn husk
Two weeks ago, Raju went to a corn farm located five kilometers away from his home to bring back a few husks.
“I picked only a handful and cleaned them using a damp cloth. I flattened each husk with my hand onto the table. Then, using a cutting machine, I sliced them into rectangular shapes,” says Raju.
Elaborating on the technique, he says, using a metal rod as a mould and as a measuring tool, he rolls the husk over it.
When the rod is removed, the husk forms a cylindrical shape with two open ends. The refill is inserted through one end and Raju tightens the husk until it grips the refill. Finally, he pinches the other end of the husk to close the gap.
To make the cap, Raju rolls a smaller piece of husk into a cylindrical shape and ensures its diameter is larger than the pen to fit over it.
Once he finished making his first pen, he wrote with it and said it felt like writing with a regular pen. Raju spent the next few days making more pens and began distributing them among neighbours and his friends.
“I make the pens myself and it takes me only 10 minutes to finish one piece,” says Raju.
A few days ago, when he had met the Warangal Greater Municipal Corporation commissioner, IAS Pamela Satpathy, he gifted her one of the pens made from corn husk.
Pamela tells The Better India, “I was intrigued by his innovation and l loved the idea. I asked Raju if he could make small changes such as adding higher quality refills. Once he agreed, we placed an order for 1,000 such pens for my office.”
For Rs 10 a piece, Raju has already delivered 100 pens and is working on making the other 900 pieces. He continues to receive more orders after his innovation was appreciated by the Telangana State Innovation Cell (TSIC) on their official Twitter handle.
If you wish to purchase Raju’s zero-waste, eco-friendly pens, you can contact him on 9502855858.
Edited by Yoshita Rao