There’s a pile of cardboard boxes found in almost every household, thanks to the growing online shopping trend these days. The packaging that comes with even the smallest item is really overwhelming. Covered in two boxes, a smaller and a bigger one, and then wrapped in a bubble wrap. It sure protects the item inside, but the packaging, which is of no use once unwrapped, is making it hard to protect our environment. These packaging wastes end up in nowhere but the landfills, which we all know is so not good.
Hardik Shah, an instrumentation and control engineer based in Ahmadabad spotted the problem and his entrepreneurial side kicked in. In 2017, he launched his cleantech startup Innovate Green Technologies Private Limited, where customers can use their waste to buy recycled products.
During one of his visits to Japan in 2011, he was awestruck by how Japanese people approach to waste and waste-related problems, and most importantly, how they come up with effective solutions to solve such problems. The trip inspired him to do his own research on environment-related issues and what workable solutions are already out there. And since he was all about tech, he used his skill to create his app.
According to Hardik, quantifying something makes it much more visible and crucial in people’s eyes. Adding numbers to a topic makes it seem way more genuine and practical. Hence he wanted to create a system that could solve environment-related problems through quantification, and aimed at starting a cleantech company that could make environmental conservation a priority in people’s eyes.
A circular economy is a system of production and consumption by which we can easily extend the lifecycle of a product through conscious actions like reusing, leasing, refurbishing, repairing, recycling, and sharing existing products and materials as much and long as possible.
In linear economies, transactions are usually closed with the delivery of the products, but in circular economies, there is a constant activity of exchange going on. The app developed by Hardik’s team is currently available on the google app store and brings waste collection partners, recyclers, product delivery partners, consumers, zero waste product manufacturers, artisans, sellers, and manufacturing brands, all under one roof. Users can sell their waste and buy recycled products through the platform.
“You can get just about anything with the waste you exchange on the app. For example, you can get a pizza by paying in waste. Not just that, ensure you save the pizza box so that the next time you want something you can use it as barter.”, he said while explaining what people can buy selling their waste on the platform.
The app also has an interesting feature of accumulating credits base by selling waste, which can be used later for future purchases. Subscribers can build their wallets and use them at a later date.
Recycle.Green, a subsidiary of Innovate Green Technologies Private Limited, has tied up with several corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, and subscribers also have an option to donate the money towards the activities. What’s interesting here is that it not just ends with an online donation, subscribers are officially called when the activity takes place. So far, it claims to have helped in saving 56,490 kg of carbon emission, 279.56 trees, 54,356 sq mt of land pollution, and 37,59,645 liters of water pollution.
And as for the app, which started in 2017 with just recycled products, has more than 5000 active subscribers and around 80 different vendors now. The pickup service for waste is only available for Ahmadabad at the moment, but the team is planning to expand to other cities very soon.