Gaia Plas Berhad: How We Started & the Future
Building a company is no easy feat, while the uncharted path to successful business ownership does not guarantee prosperity. But with 29 years of experience in the waste management and manufacturing industry, Norsharina Mohd Shahar, also known as Rina Shahar, managed to do just that with Gaia Plas Berhad.
Raised by parents who held discipline and family-first as their principles, Rina started her hand in business at an early age of 8 selling food at school with her sister to help support her family’s finances. She knew that venturing into business was the only way to help change her family’s future. “My priority is to improve my family’s life, followed by our team’s and the society’s. This is the big WHY we are at where we are today,” said Rina, when asked about her guiding principles.
After starting her career in the banking industry, Rina decided to venture into scrap recycling and waste management. “Why plastic? We were forced to divert scrap plastic and metals into a product with added value. Plastic manufacturing is the answer to sustainability,” she said. She then took the leap to establish Gaia Plas Berhad in December 2006.
It was not always sunshine and rainbows for Gaia Plas. “When the company faced a RM8 million loss after getting swindled by one of our partners, we had to face a court case and pay it all back to our clients,” she shared. Similar to many local businesses, the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns also hit Gaia Plas hard when the company saw a big drop in revenue. “But our biggest strength is our team. We are strongly bonded together and we stay united to pivot in any situation we are facing. We are coming back better than ever!” she adds confidently.
Sharing her insights on the future of the plastic manufacturing industry, Rina added “Climate change and efforts towards Sustainable Development Goals is changing the industry. Gaia Plas aims to be the leader in sustainable plastics production by adapting the principles of circular economy throughout the group.”
Gaia Plas, through its subsidiary company Gaia Greentech, has started venturing into the biotechnology arena. The group’s latest product innovation is eJau™, a biohybrid polymer resin derived from a combination of palm stearin and polyolefin. eJau™ is a practical solution for minimising petroleum-based plastic pollution, while allowing manufacturers to produce bioplastic products using existing manufacturing technologies.
“We have also recently ventured into 3D printing through another subsidiary Gaia Pebbles, to produce Polylacticacid (PLA) 3D filament, a thermoplastic feedstock used in fused deposition modelling 3D printers,” said Rina.
Gaia Plas strives to innovate in both manufacturing technologies and products development in order to stay relevant and get to the forefront of the industry. Visit www.gaiaplas.com for more about Gaia Plas.