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November 30, 2019 06:03 pm | Updated December 02, 2019 11:28 am IST
It has been a productive year for green-minded organisations, especially those based in Hyderabad where the state government has been supportive of such initiatives. One of these companies is Recykal which won a NASSCOM Emerge 50 award at the NASSCOM Product Enclave held in Bengaluru on November 5, and, before that, the Most Influential Sustainability Leaders of India award at the India Sustainability Leadership Summit 2019 held in Mumbai on June 12.
Recykal is a city-based tech firm which leverages the digital to engender green initiatives. Their end-to-end cloud-based, full-service waste and recycle-enabling technology focuses on sustainability by connecting generators, processors and recyclers. “Our technology assures 100% transparency and traceability in supply chains,” sums up Anirudha Jalan, co-founder and vice president of the company, over the phone.
Essentially, they want to instigate more recycling, as well as reduction and reusing, while offsetting the carbon footprint. Households, aggregators, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), enterprises, municipal corporations and FMCG brands (among other entities) can come to the Recykal online platform and list their old goods and link up with active recycling entities.
Following the high of the award wins, Anirudha says, “Since we’ve started, we did not really focus on building an infrastructure for Recykal but rather connecting what is already around us; this includes bulk providers of e-waste, active recyclers, as well as digitising existing operations of various bodies. We just make the exchange system more seamless and comprehensive on a very large scale. The pioneers are the recyclers and the platform furthers a smoother integration of the suppliers into this ecosystem.”
Their model is centred around Extended Producer Responsibility, a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility — financial and/or physical — for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products; in other words, everyone should be held accountable for the circulation of recyclable products.
Speaking of supply chains, the ecosystem for e-waste is only growing as awareness, in correlation, grows as well. Recykal works with names such as Spar, Suzuki, TVS, Brand Factory and more. But the supply chain also has to be effective at a small scale, too, which is why the company also works with households which want to purge themselves of redundant clutter. Anirudha explains that a year ago they dealt with 40 to 50 tonnes of dry waste, but this year they’ve worked with 10,000 tonnes of dry waste a month from various aggregators. This model of reverse logistics has made Recykal’s work successful so far.
But how does one know where the offsetting really happens? The data-driven side of Reckyal is the real kick: one can see the empirical value of the potential sustainability impact of their trade-in. For example, if one were to send off 55 kilograms of waste, a screen will load with the amount of water, energy, trees and oil they would have saved in production of the same material… as well as the eliminations of pollutants and the amount of landfill. And, because this is the digital age, one can share their achievements on social media.
Anirudha says Recykal has an incentivisation programme where trade-ins can produce points which can be buy new goods. Ask him if incentivisation can be omitted in the long run and he says, “I don’t see a point right now in which people of the current generation will not need an incentive for something… maybe some day in the far future, but not any time soon.”
So what comes next after these wins? Abhishek Deshpande, co-founder, adds, “These awards motivate us to perform better and match up to the expectations of our clients and work towards creating a sustainable environment.” Anirudha says Recykal works closely with the dairy industry — names such as Amul India and Heritage — around their packaging policies around pricing and material, adding, “In that B2C pipeline, we want to continue to encourage responsible channels of recycling as well.”
Speaking of policy, Recykal wants to send signals to government bodies not just about their work but the bigger picture of digitisation-ready recycling platforms across all scales.
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