Mumbai startup Ecosys is reducing plastic waste by producing eco-friendly cleaning solutions
Established in 2018, Ecosys is a Mumbai startup that provides eco-friendly cleaning products in the form of Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) capsules.
Entrepreneur Sumit Goyal was on a visit to Mumbai for his CA internship when he saw plastic all over the Juhu beach. He realised that plastic was not the problem, but the misuse of plastic-based products was the real problem.
“I come from a family where there is no concept of single use plastic. We never used to throw plastic bottles after use. Hence, when I visited Juhu Beach, I was shocked to see the situation. I understood that people here have the nature of use and throw,” says Sumit, who comes from Shrimadhopur in Rajasthan.
To tackle the increasing plastic waste issue, Sumit joined Prachi Bansal to establishin 2018. The startup aims to introduce smart and innovative products, which help drive the goal of an eco-friendly and sustainable ecosystem.
Ecosys has designed a soluble cleaning capsule packed into a PVA film (Polyvinyl alcohol), which is a water-soluble and biodegradable substance. These 10 ml capsules make 1 L of cleaning solution when dissolved in water.
The company claims that by using this capsule, consumers will not have to purchase a new cleaning solution, packed in plastic materials. Through this, a total of 1.92 kg of plastic consumption per month in each household will be saved, leading to zero tolerance against plastic waste.
After completing his CA internship, Sumit started a textile export company in 2013. He connected with Prachi through a friend a year later. Prachi was studying fashion management in Milan, Italy, and they both spoke about the problem of plastic pollution in India.
Sumit then learned from Prachi about the production of Polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) detergent pods for laundry washes in the West. She mentioned the businesses were only making detergent, and that they might cooperate to make surface disinfectants, cleansers, and other items instead, Sumit recalls.
Sumit and Prachi sought mentorship from professionals such as chemical sciences and engineers to understand and build cleaning products using PVA Packaging that was non-toxic and did not involve plastic.
Selling the product
After starting Ecosys, the co-founders launched the products across ecommerce channels such as Amazon and Flipkart. They had six different capsules under the cleaning range, including glass cleaner, floor cleaner, kitchen, and utensil cleaner. Each product is priced differently starting from Rs 75 for glass cleaners to Rs 199 for floor cleaners.
“Initially, customers were reluctant to shift to our product. No one wanted to test or use capsules as they were already using products from established companies like Lizol, Colin, etc.,” Sumit explains.
However, the team then came up with an idea where customers could return the PVA capsule if they found it ineffective. This was a hit among customers, and there has been no looking back since then.
Sumit adds that Ecosys sold about 500 bottles in the first year, but with great difficulty. Today, he claims to have saved more than 80,000 bottles from reaching the landfills.
“In India, no one is selling the entire range of products like us. Customers are preferring quality and innovative products at home today, which is an advantage for us,” he adds.
Competition and plans ahead
Plastic has become one of the most pressing environmental issues that we are facing today. Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav recently said that India is generating about 3.5 million tonnes of plastic waste annually and the per capita plastic waste generation has almost doubled in the last five years.
Like Ecosys, there are many startups in India that are trying to combat plastic pollution. While Beco (Be Eco) manufactures sustainable alternatives to single-use plastic products such as facial tissues, toilet rolls, and kitchen towels; ZeroPlast Labs offers tailor-made lightweight bioplastic compounds and 100% biodegradable, water-soluble plastics.
Going forward, the Ecosys team wants to launch more products, especially in the laundry and handwash segment. Furthermore, it plans to go to different households and educate them to reuse plastic bottles.
Edited by Megha Reddy