Turning trash to treasure, these eco-friendly entrepreneurs found a way to scale the problem of waste (and profit from it) by using items that would otherwise have been discarded.
Long ago, a wise person aptly stated, “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.” Such instances can be found all over the world, and here is a list of innovators in India to ignite your inspiration to lead a more sustainable life!
1. Madhuri Balodi’s Kavi The Poetry-Art Project
Madhuri met Amit Singh — the co-founder of their company — while working in the media industry. Both of them wanted to live and promote a more sustainable lifestyle. Their thoughts aligned and ‘Kavi The Poetry Art Project’ was born out of it.
The venture upcycles glass bottles into home decor and utility items, helping combat India’s glass waste issue. Their journey started in 2013 with converting bottles into lamps and jars, gaining popularity through Facebook campaigns.
2. Neli Chachea’s husk dolls
For as far as Neli Chachea remembers, she has woken up to the sound of chirping birds all her life in a sleepy village in Manipur. As a child, she would spend her time playing with the husk (the dry outer covering of some fruits and seeds like maize and coconut that is usually thrown away as waste), oblivious that the same husk would become a part of her life’s purpose — creating pure beauty.
Presently, she makes stunning dolls using discarded silk and maize husks. The true definition of ‘from trash to treasure’, Neli earns about Rs 45,000 a month by selling these dolls.
3. Angeline Babu and Rituparna Das’ Silver Nut Tree
Angeline Babu and Rituparna Das were presently surprised when their children asked them the meaning of the word ‘recycle’. The duo tried to explain to them the textbook meaning, but they were received with unsatisfied looks. In a bid to show them the meaning of the word, they started the ‘Silver Nut Tree’.
The business continuously experiments, working with various discarded materials like rubber tubes, bottle caps, and CDs, transforming “trash” into remarkable, eco-friendly jewellery and handicrafts.
4. K Sankar and Senthil Sankar’s EcoLine
Imagine jackets, blazers, T-shirts, and bottoms made using recycled PET bottles. Sounds weird? But father-son duo, K Sankar and Senthil Sankar, have made this a reality. Together the duo has not only recycled 15 lakhs of PET bottles every day but also earned an annual revenue of Rs 12 crore.
The brand gained recognition when Prime Minister Narendra Modi wore a jacket made from 25 PET bottles to Parliament. Their use of ‘dope dyed technology’ conserves water and aims to change consumer perceptions about eco-friendly products.
5. Madhu Kargund’s coconut waste business
When Madhu Kargund told his parents that he wanted to quit his 9 to 5 in Bengaluru and turn to farming, they thought he had lost his mind. However, Kargund was set on starting a coconut business that uses waste parts of the nut to make sustainable products.
With his zero-waste business Tengin, Kargund not only uses the obvious parts such as the oil and flesh of the fruit but parts such as shell and husk that are otherwise considered waste. He makes products such as cups, bowls, and spoons out of coconut shells and coir dish scrubbers, and cleaners out of coconut husk earning a revenue of Rs 4 lakh per month.
(Edited by Padmashree Pande)