A 19-year-old high school student in rural Ukraine started working on a science project to turn fallen leaves from trees or plants into the paper. After working on it for three years, Valentyn Frechka is now heading an initiative called "Re-leaf Paper".
With this initiative, he has started producing paper bags and packaging material from fibre which is extracted from dead leaves.
The project is based in the city of Zhytomyr, which is situated 140 km west of the capital Kyiv. The main objective of this project is to reduce the environmental impact of paper production.
Frechka was also a research and development specialist in 2018 by a cardboard manufacturer in the city, and he has partnered with it for "Re-leaf Paper" initiative. Frechka believes that his idea is quite and waste could be reused or recycled for multiple purposes.
"Leaves are waste that needs to be removed from parks because they emit a lot of carbon as they rot," Reuters quoted Frechka as saying. With environment-friendly paper bags produced by Frechka, it has even given an opportunity for the customer to make eco-friendly purchases.
In October, Re-leaf Paper produced its first batch of solid paper, made from leaves collected in large bags in Kyiv and other cities. With this initiative, Frechka is planning for venturing into commercial production.
Forbes magazine in Ukraine included Frechka on its list of the 30 most successful Ukrainians under 30 years of age in 2020.