This female entrepreneur has made it her mission to make citizens eco-responsible

This year, India recorded the hottest March on record, an anomaly now 30 times more likely due to climate change, according to a World Weather Attribution study.

The world also faces a waste problem, which further strains natural resources and increases greenhouse gas emissions. According to the World Bank, with rapid population growth and urbanization, annual waste generation is expected to reach 3.4 billion tons by 2050.

Based in Mumbai Monisha Narke decided to do something when she became a mother.

“My daughters are now well into their teens, and when they were born, all kinds of maternal ‘antennae’ kicked in, and I became more observant and connected to my surroundings,” she says. His history. Monisha became more concerned about her immediate surroundings, including air quality and road safety.

In 2009 she started in Mumbai RUR Green Life as a volunteer forum. The social enterprise vision is to make citizens eco-responsible through a range of products and services.

RUR stands for “Are you Reducing, Reusing Recycling?”

Monisha ticked off all the goals she set for herself, including attending an Ivy League college. However, the Stanford University engineering and industrial management master’s graduate says RUR GreenLife was the one thing she didn’t plan for.

Change starts at home

Monisha started by looking for ways to make her home and family environment more eco-friendly.

In the first two years, she formed a group of volunteers – career-breaking professionals – who went door-to-door and educated people on the benefits of sorting waste, composting and recycling, and on reducing the use of single-use disposable products. .

“Today, one in two people knows about climate change. At the time, sustainability was not widely known and we organized various awareness programs around sustainable living,” she recalls.

Today, it operates on a dual business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) model.

In 2010, Monisha visited a recycling plant for the first time and saw packaging from multinational food processing and packaging company Tetra Pak being recycled, with an entire conference room made from recycled materials.

This convinced it to enter into a B2B partnership with Tetra Pak and launch its flagship Go Green recycling program. It was later recognized in 2013 by Limca Book of Records as a unique recycling initiative.

Today, more than a decade later, Monisha continues to run the scheme: collecting Tetra Pak waste from 54 collection centers open to all Mumbaikars to drop off their boxes, clean and flatten them, and recycle them into products usable as coasters, pen holders and picture frames.

So far, the initiative has collected and recycled nine million boxes, according to Monisha. She has also designed aerobic composters that can be used at home to recycle everyday waste. The design is now patented and certified by the Indian Green Building Council.

Available on its website and marketplaces like Moglix and Amazon, recycled products are priced from Rs 150, while community composters can go up to Rs 65,000.

On the B2B side, the company formulates environmental education for schools and colleges, and organizes workshops for company employees to raise awareness about sustainable living units and the Sustainable Development Goals, among others.

Incubated and funded by Unlimited India, the organization has ten employees, operates mainly through volunteer support and Monisha herself has not received a salary so far.

The initiative aims to target everyone as waste generation is universal and Monisha hopes to bring about change through partnerships and collaborations with like-minded organizations.