“Salon for Industrial Waste is what I run, Here instead of Humans, We Transform Waste into Eco Innovations.”
Dr. Binish R Desai (PhD HC)
Dr. Binish Desai is an innovator and a Social Entrepreneur working on industrial waste recycling and management. He holds a masters degree in environmental engineering and an honorary PhD in Environmental Sci and Technology. He started his journey at a very young age, 11 by carrying out home based experiments with chewing gum and paper. He currently has 150+ eco-products under the EcoEclectic Technologies banner in India. He is a Padma Shri nominee and has received many national and international awards for his contributions such as being youngest to be awarded with “Rotary International Alumni Humanitarian of the Year” award for South Asia, Forbes 30Under 30 Asia 2018 lists of successful Social Entrepreneurs etc. He is known as The Waste Warrior and Recycle Man of India for his works in recycling more than 2,100 tonnes of Industrial waste. He believes that the concept of “Waste” does not exist in Nature, the waste was generated by human consumption, and thus it is our duty to sustainably get rid of it. With a vision to eliminate the industrial waste from landfills; he founded Eco Eclectic Technology in 2016, a lab that focuses on providing cost effective eco-friendly technologies and solutions for various industrial wastes and using them for social impact. His famous quote is “There is nothing useless in this world what might be a waste to you is someone’s asset”
Brand name: E.E. Tech Group, Eco Eclectic Technologies, Eco Lights Studio.
Company name: Eco Eclectic Group.
Brand Tagline: “Nothing is useless in this world; what can be a waste to you is someone’s asset”
USP: Convert waste into eco innovations and luxury and empowering women.
1. What inspired you to Start A Company in Recycling and Waste Management and what was the Purpose behind it? Starting year of business, Mission / Vision.
My journey started at the age of 10, when I got inspired from my favourite cartoons Captain Planet and Dexter’s Lab, those two were my very favourite cartoons. In the fashion of trying to help the captain planet, I started thinking of how I can help save the environment, so my first innovation was actually when I observed my mom’s kitchen and water vapour that was coming out of it and that resulted in my first innovation.
So I created this machine where all the water vapour from the kitchen could be condensed (the evaporated could be condensed) into water for gardening. So that seemed to be a crazy innovation because that’s when I learned about evaporation and condensation. That was my first invention.
And the reason I am here today is actually because of my invention at the age of 11 when a chewing gum was stuck on my pants during a classroom and I had to remove it with a piece of paper. So, it had hardened up and I went back home and did the same experiment again. That resulted in invention of the first brick. Back then it was never meant to be a brick so that was during the same time when I learned the word slums in the class and the negativity that surrounded it. So, I decided to create world’s most cost- effective homes and that’s how the idea of making brick out of that material came into existence.
Keeping that in mind of creating world’s most cost effective home, I started experimenting around and by the age of 14 I had my final recipe that was to be patented. And that was also during the same time when I got selected as rotary exchange student at the United States. So I went there and that changed my life forever because this was the transition period of that one year which made me go from pursuing this as a passion into actually pursuing it as a career.
So in 2010, at the age of 16 after returning back from US, I started my company, the first company of making the bricks out of paper wastes. That’s actually about the journey when I only had Rs.1600 in my pocket because I told my family that I want to start something like this and they said well sorry but we will not support you in this because working with waste was a taboo and when I started talking about it, people thought I had gone crazy.
And that is how the first day at work looked like, in a parking lot of a paper mill which I had went and asked for space. They gave me their parking lot space next to a gutter and I didn’t have enough money to pay to the labours as well so I started making bricks myself and it took me nearly around 11 months to actually create enough bricks to make the first house as I didn’t have money to hire the labourers.
2. What all Challenges / Hardship you faced during the journey?
So the biggest hardship that I faced was while trying to put the word out about how waste could be converted in this eco product because as working with waste was a taboo, that to a 16 year old trying to explain everyone that he has created this brick which is even better than the age old red brick that everyone has been using. So what I started doing was when I would go meet anyone I would take 2 bricks, one red regular brick and another one which I had made. I would tell them that throw as hard as you want, hit it as many times as you want, drive a car over it, put in water for as many days as you like and things like that just so that they can compare the two and they themselves would have a look at it and that brought in trust about the product and that’s one of the ways I cleared the hardships and cleared the hurdles of the acceptance aspect of it.
The second major hurdle was trying to safe guard the technology because the moment your something very unique although you have a patent, a lot of times people try to steal it, even the people you know try to do that and that’s one of the biggest challenges that I had faced back then. But I was able to overcome it by keeping all our ingredients a trade secret and not revealing any of our binders or our recipes to anyone outside. So that was our way to overcome the challenges that we had and we cleared that as well.
But I think now that’s not an issue in terms of what we call it as acceptance because as the first initial times when I created the product now everyone is talking about wastes, everyone knows that Dr. Binish Desai is working towards converting wastes into an asset. So that brand has been created in terms of trust has been created, that ok this is something unique that should be looked upon and I believe in a very strong aspect that until and unless the product is not just, it is not commercially, economically viable I will not put it outside of my lab and that has built up a very nice trust among the industries, among the people, among the consumers. They are even excited and always waiting to see what new products we have.
3. What all opportunities & Achievement your brand received till date?
I think the biggest achievement for my company and the brand is basically us trying to touch lives of many in the villages and into rural India and uplifting them. I still remember an incident when an old grandma came to me and just hugged me and started crying saying that the reason why my granddaughter is getting married is because of the construction that you’ve done to our house and the toilet. And that is till date, one of the most special moments for me. I consider that as an achievement, the group’s achievement, because we are able to not just recycle a headache that is there of the waste due to the manmade creation but also finding a way how to make it useful to be able to change lives of the people in need and that’s exactly what my brand has achieved and overall as you are aware of I’m known as ‘The Recycle Man’ of India that comes along with a responsibility, although it’s an achievement but It always comes with a responsibility of ensuring that no waste gets wasted. So I always use the tagline ‘Waste No Waste’ and to think, that’s exactly what signifies this entire concept.
4. What has been your approach towards product innovation? Research & Development strategies? % share kept for innovation…
We are actually a research driven company, in fact one of the group of companies is purely towards creating eco economical products through research and development so our strategies are very simple. We follow the triple bottom line concept. We are assessing the products in three stages, environmental impact, social impact and also economic viability and not just economic viability, it also has to be easily economically available for the consumers as well. So through these approaches, we keep balance of all these three things in mind while we are creating something new.
We have around 150+ products from 70+ different types of waste that we are working on and we have created these products. We work on very unique projects as well where we are customizing a project, for example of a salon where we are taking up all their waste and converting that into products that are of use to them itself. This creates a circular economy where their waste becomes their treasure!
5. How has your company kept pace with technological up gradation over the years?
So as we celebrate the 10th year of the formation of the company, we are very glad that we have been copping up with the technologies. In fact we are very excited to be able to develop new and new products using the current technologies. Right now we are working on three different things on houses made out of materials, that would be a very unique project and we are very excited about it. The new types of pollutions that are coming up every day for example PPE Pollution, it has taken the world with a storm during the pandemic.
We are very happy to announce that we are now recycling PPE kits as well into brick 2.0. It’s an updated version of the previous brick that I had invented when I was 11 years old, that’s what was the result of thousands of houses and toilets and today we have launched brick 2.0 which basically has 52% of PPE waste and we are very happy to recycle that. So we are always getting updated with the new technologies, the new challenges that the world keeps giving. In terms of the waste management, we are very happy of being able to solve it. In fact our 2025 goal is to make India waste free by having solutions to all the waste that is generated from different industries.
6. What are the current issues being faced by textile and apparel industry? Do you have any suggestions for improvement?
I think a lot of fashion industries and textile industries need to move towards from the linear cycle into circular economy, not just recycling economy but actually circular economy. I think that’s where the challenges are. In fact, overall textile and apparel industries is one of the most polluting industries that we know off and I think reducing the waste will help them become much more eco friendly in terms of the waste being generated. But I envision that one day there is no waste generated at all, that it may be post consumer waste, during post manufacturing, post production waste, all need to be taken care of in the right way and I think before that also finding eco friendly alternatives to the materials that are being manufactured is also a key, that I feel needs to be kept in mind for improvement in this particular industry.
7. What is your take on the future scenario of recycling, up cycling, sustainability and waste management segment in the domestic as well as global market?
Talking about this, domestically I see India as a leading solution provider of zero waste technologies that we are making locally and selling globally because I feel that India has always had in them, in its rich culture the ideology of recycling. We at times name it as jugaad but that’s also a type of upcycling and recycling itself. So not just that but also innovations and startups are coming up in an amazing way to solve the environmental crises specially related towards waste and I think understanding the right meaning of recycling and waste management will be the key towards finding solutions to that. Not just domestically but also globally and with this pandemic I think it’s more important than ever to discuss waste being an asset and start taking waste seriously.
8. How important is sustainability to you?
Sustainability is the core ideology of our company as I said we believe in triple bottom line where we take sustainability as a balance of environmental impact, social impact and economic impact. Considering all these things, sustainability is the core idea that I personally believe in and as well as my group of companies believe in.
9. Where do you see your company in next 5 and 10 years?
We see my group of companies expanding all around the world globally finding solutions to various types of wastes that are generated in all these countries, not just domestic but also industrial waste. The technology we have is being used to put in the right places according to the SDG goals and I see that we are globally creating an impact where every year we are recycling more than 20,000 metric tons of wastes. That’s our goal for the next 5 to 10 years.
10. Branding Strategies in Indian and International Market.
Eco eclectic technology believes in converting wastes into eco economical and social innovations. The mere purpose is making waste an asset in a way that it can be useful to the one in need.
I think by now the name Binish Desai has been strongly associated with recycling and I think that itself is the branding that has happened and that helps the overall E-Tech group create products that are directly impacting the market, not just locally but also globally.
So that branding has helped us create products that people can immediately start adapting to it. For example recently we have launched two new products, one is eco-jewelry which is going to be handmade out of coffee waste and the other is eco-crockeries that we are launching on Diwali day. And I think these two are going to be in the segment where they became a brand of you know waste being a luxury, waste being handmade and reaching out to each and every person, each and every household. And that’s the idea we want, waste that can be used as a raw material to create something new and which is also there in everyone’s house as an eco product. So just re-defining waste is what we are working on in ways of branding it.
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