India Recycles - Sustainable & Zero waste management solution that creates affordable market for the poor while promoting social change
About the team
Renu Pokharna, founder of India Recycles, holds a degree in Public Policy from Columbia University, she has a decade long experience working in public policy and development across India, Africa and the USA. Her stints including serving as a Chief Minister’s Fellow with the Government of Gujarat and working in Uganda, Africa with an educational start up. She has also been published in Wall Street Journal and other national newspapers.
Pranav Gupta, co-founder of India Recycles, is a dedicated social entrepreneur with seven years of experience. He excels in designing sustainable CSR policies and programs. His journey includes working as a CSR consultant on diverse projects encompassing farming, advocacy, healthcare, education, sports, heritage, and handicraft.
He works with the Senior Management and various stakeholders at India Recycles for seamless execution of the initiative. He has been instrumental in setting up and managing sustainable partnerships with various stakeholders.
During the covid19 epidemic, our organization Mazdoor.co was born that worked with labourers, we had sent thousands back home from Gujarat but we wanted to work with them during peacetime too, not just during wartime. Different interventions were done - education, healthcare, skilling, and more. To continue working for informal workers residing in slum areas & promote environmental sustainability we launched India Recycles, an idea born out of eco-consciousness with principles of equity & access that works for poor & informal workers residing in slum areas and promotes reusing & recycling through innovative sustainable model. We collect second-hand items and resell them at subsidized prices through slum markets that are organize on weekends. This approach gives the poor a chance to buy essential goods at their doorstep with ease and dignity.
How does it work?
India Recycles brings recycling and thrifting to the masses. The initiative is driven by a desire to help the poor experience dignity and choice. The team collects everything that can be reused or resold, from clothing to household items, and resells them at a subsidized price through a network of slum markets that are organized every weekend. These sales are entirely run by volunteers who are passionate about making a difference in the lives of the poor. The collection of secondhand items is done through a network of collection centers across the cities that we operate in.
With helping the poor, we also strive to create a positive impact on the environment. By reusing and reselling items, we keep waste out of landfills and reduce the carbon footprint of the cities where it operates.
In addition to the slum markets, our brand Revibe trains and empowers women to manufacture stuffed mattresses from old clothing, jewelry, diaries, and stuffed animals from unsold stock. This empowers the very same women who are customers getting them a source of income.
We are into B2C business model. Our platform is committed to promoting sustainability and reducing waste by encouraging households to give away items they no longer use. Through slum sales, we take markets to the doorstep of low-income families, providing them with essential items at low prices while saving them time and money. We also promote thrifting culture among the urban populace, particularly college and university students, by offering vintage and branded items at affordable prices. (This we do through a separate yearly market called “City Bazaar”)
To further our sustainability efforts, our homegrown brand Revibe addresses the issue of waste. The project provides training to women members from slum communities, offering them opportunities for financial independence and upskilling while earning revenue through equal distribution of profits from Revibe products sold at City Bazaar. Our initiative has created a market for secondhand goods in a country of 1.2 billion consumers and producers.
India Recycles generates revenue through various sources, names weekly slum sales, city bazaars sale of Revibe products at city bazaars and corporate orders and Diwali gifting from Revibe. Corporate orders and Diwali gifting account for a major portion of the revenue during the festive season. In addition, India Recycles conducts recycling workshops to generate revenue and create awareness about sustainable practices.
We have pioneered a sustainable approach to gathering unused items from households, offices, and organizations and making them accessible to disadvantaged communities and informal workers in the slums of Ahmedabad and Vadodara, right at their doorsteps, and at affordable prices. This initiative has successfully cultivated a market for secondhand goods in a country where 70% of urban population resides in informal clusters with no access to affordable markets.
So far we have conducted more than 100 sales across two cities in India targeting more than 10,000 customers who come from the informal sector – househelp, auto drivers, cleaners and so on. The sales have seen an uptake of 70% of stock within the first hour. The impact of this is tremendous both on demand and supply – more affluent households are working on discarding unused items and poor in the absence of markets addressing their price points are thronging to the markets set up by us.
Our commitment to sustainability is exemplified through the development of our in-house fashion brand Revibe. Through Revibe, we have create a range of designer products, including jewelry, diaries, stuffed toys, and home decor items, all crafted from old clothing, achieving a 100% sustainable cycle. We have incorporated 48 women from low income communities into Revibe and manufactured 39 types of products from old clothing.
We have made purchasing of preloved items a cool trend by encapsulating the values we promote, we sell preloved items to young urban consumers thereby teaching them value of recycling.
- Linkages with funders and like minded organizations - India Recycles plans to connect with national & international funders, donors and organizations to promote a sustainable movement towards less consumption and more recycling.
- Optimization and Business development - The organization is committed to enhancing its systems, sale cycles, and business development to stay up-to-date with the latest innovations in recycling and reusing.
- India Expansion - India Recycles plans to expand its social enterprise model to 5 cities in the next five years by forming partnerships, training communities, and organizing collection drives
Renu Pokharna - Instagram - https://instagram.com/renu.pokharnaigshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==
Pranav Gupta - Instagram - https://www.instagram.com/thats_pranav/
India Recycles - Instagram - https://instagram.com/india.recyclesigshid=MzRlODBiNWFlZA==