[Startup Bharat] This cleantech platform lets users sell waste, buy recycled products
Entrepreneur Hardik Shah says he rejected three to four business ideas before launching Ahmedabad-based cleantech startup Recycle.Green.
In an interaction with YourStory Media, Hardik says, “It took me almost six years to create a business model. It is easy to plant a tree or make people aware, but when you want to earn from it, it needs a huge effort.”
In 2017, Hardik Shah launched Recycle.Green, which offers an eco-friendly circular economy-based app. The app, available on Google Play store, connects consumers, waste collection partners, product delivery partners, recyclers, zero waste product manufacturers, sellers, artisans, and manufacturing brands with each other. It allows users to sell their waste and buy recycled products from the platform.
Hardik explains that Recycle.Green is looking to build a circular economy where people can sell their waste for recycling. The recycled waste is then used to make new products, resulting in lower usage of environmental resources and also avoiding dumping of waste.
“Before understanding the circular economy, let us understand about the linear economy. In linear economy, we consume resources of nature, deplete them, turn them into waste, and build waste mountains. We are losing on both ends,” he says.
Recycle. Green is solving this problem by building a circular economy that reduces dependence on natural resources and also tackles waste management troubles.
The startup provides a mobile application that can be used to purchase recycled products such as stationery, bags, kitchenware, and other items sold by both Recycle.Green and other brands. For products that have lived their life, customers can use the same app to schedule doorstep pickups for recycling.
The sustainable startup also partners with other brands to get packaging wastes picked up from their customers’ doorstep and get them recycled. Services are currently offered only in Ahmedabad.
“We intend to divert all waste created by mainstream materials towards innovating recycled products in our lifestyles. All our products are recycled, and recyclable zero waste products. When the usage is over, customers can give us used products back and even earn cashback from them,” Hardik says.
Illustration: YS Design
Rewarding customers for saving the environment
The startup also offers a patented feature, Environmental Saving Value (ESV), which helps people realise the environmental impact they are making while purchasing any recycled products from the platform.
The founder explains that the ESV is measured in numbers on the basis of how many trees are saved by upcycling the product, reduction of the carbon footprint, reduced levels of pollution among others. This helps buyers understand the positive environmental impact of purchasing a recycled product.
“This helps us track the consumers’ positive environmental footprint. We track products being purchased by the users and the ESV. Thus, we can reward users on the basis of their ESV points. For example, a user purchases a product worth saving one tree, we can reward him with Rs 1,000. This is a unique reward scheme that we are running; we have a patent for ESV,” he says.
It also offers a PayByWaste feature, which users can use to encash the waste they are selling to buy new products from the platform.
For its corporate clientele, the startup provides certificates that endorse their contribution to saving the environment. It currently works with about 30 brands in Ahmedabad.
Speaking about the shift in consumer mindset, he explains that the younger generation is actively looking to switch to sustainable products and services to ensure nature’s wellbeing.
Image Credit: Recycle.Green
Recycle.Green positions itself as an aggregator. Its business model including selling its own products and it also charges a commission from external sellers. The revenue channel also includes the selling of the waste for recycling, and the startup operates on a cost-sharing module with partner brands.
The startup currently has over 1,000 downloads and claims to be recording about 50 to 60 orders per month. Earlier this year, the startup raised undisclosed amount in its seed funding round from India Accelerator.
According to a report by Mordor Intelligence, the Indian waste management industry has huge potential, as only 30 percent of the total 75 percent recyclable waste is being currently being recycled. Similar to Recycle. Green, several other startups are coming up with innovative ways to tackle the waste management problem.
Image Credit: Recycle.Green
Pune-based Craste is also operating in the same segment. It purchases crop residues from farmers and recycles them to make packaging materials and engineered boards for furniture.
Speaking about future plans, the founder says that Recycle. Green is planning to expand its services to Vadodara, Surat, Rajkot, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, and Hyderabad in the coming years. “We aim to go global by 2025.”