“When I used to go for a morning walk, the garbage and so much waste on the lanes used to strike me every day. I felt that we could do something about it. We can manage it better.” This one thought, and relentless efforts to develop a solution for garbage management lead Nidhish Shetty to start up Green Nerds. His idea is innovative, solution is simple, and the problem that can be solved with it is approximately 69 million tons per year large.
Nidhish has engineered a patent pending idea into an automatic garbage machine to segregate waste into easily manageable blocks. The machine can be custom designed according to the quantity of waste to be managed. Organic or biodegradable waste can be converted to compost and used as an alternative energy source. Non biodegradable waste’s volume is compressed to occupy less space bringing down the operational and transportation costs for supplying it to recycling industries.
All the trash can be converted to treasure by careful management and conversion of it to other forms. Compost can be used in fields or sold and non-biodegradable waste can be sold to specialized industries. Nidhish sees trash as a treasure of renewable energy in just a hidden form. His innovation adds a lucrative value proposition to waste – making money out of it by selling it.
Nidhish has been an environmentalist all his life but an entrepreneur for just the last 2 years. He has always been an environmentally responsible person and has headed multiple initiatives related to environment and sustainable living during his IT career. While working for eMids Technology, he had been researching about sustainable waste management. About 4-5 months into his research, he came across a competition ‘Take Care, Take Charge’ by Times of India inviting ideas for sustainable waste management. He submitted his concept of managing municipal solid waste and his life took a different turn from there.
In 2011, Nidhish decided to quit his 15 years long IT career and start up. It was a big transition for him and his family. He had worked in smaller firms before where he used to look after multiple things and not just his own role. He had handled multiple responsibilities apart from just doing his duty at these firms. Nidhish believes that these experiences have really helped him in this shift. He spent close to 6 months developing the prototype in his friend’s workshop in Maharashtra and after the first prototype was developed, his ex-colleague Abhiman Shetty also joined him as a co-founder. Abhiman had been interested in the idea but Nidhish advised him to quit after seeing some substantial results on the field.When Nidhish had decided to start-up, waste management solutions existed catering to the needs of individual households and big cities municipal corporations’ waste management. He found a gap in the market and started designing a machine to cater to the needs of communities, villages or smaller districts’ municipal corporations who handle waste in the range of 1-50 tons. The design is such that the solution can be customized based on specific needs and fits in the budgets of Panchayats and District Municipal Committees (DMCs).
Their first machine was deployed by Belapu Panchayat of Udupi district in Karnataka. Officials from Bangalore and more than 50 other Panchayat heads from across Karnataka visited to see the sustainable waste management solution deployed, word spread and it was adopted by other Panchayats and DMCs as well. It has been 2 years and Green Nerds have closed orders for more than Rs 1.5 crores. To boost sales and get access to a broader set of customers, they have tied up with distributors now. The plan to deploy automatic garbage machine has been proposed to 8 districts in Arunachal Pradesh as well.
They have been speaking to builders but it have bagged any conversions till now. To builders and corporates, they are offering organic waste composting machine to handle organic waste in the range of 150kgs to 2000kgs. This solution is already available in the market from other vendors as well.
Adapting to the changes has been the most interesting and challenging part of entrepreneurship for Nidhish. He had started with just a concept, an idea on paper completely based on research but lacking somewhere on the rules and regulations which exist in reality. He had to keep modifying his design to abide by these rules. He says, “I learned a lot about waste management laws on the go. I had to adapt the design to cater to them.”Managing cash flows has has been an issue for Green Nerds and he admits that it continues to be a challenging till date. But Nidhish seems to be enjoying and learning from every part of starting up. He says,“It is exciting. It is not like my routine IT job like earlier. I meet a lot of new interesting people. Understanding the market dynamics is challenging sometimes. I feel somewhere we all are disconnected from the ground realities and I am trying to contribute to fill this gap. I want to create a cleaner and greener India and I want to contribute whatever I can.”
He shares that once they have the financial capacity to expand, they will surely expand to other parts of the country. He also plans to establish a production workshop soon. Currently, the machines are being manufactured by ordering in other factories.
Featured Image Credits: growingagreenfamily.com