Anish Malpani, a recent University of Texas BBA graduate, decided to leave his lucrative career in the US and return to India to engage with rubbish pickers for a humanitarian cause.
By converting chip packets into stylish spectacles, he is on a unique quest to alleviate environmental issues.
Anish, 34, has created a novel method for turning Multi Layered Plastic (MLP) from chip packages into plastic that may be used to make sunglasses.
His environmentally aware business, WITHOUT, is the first of its sort in the world and sells sunglasses manufactured from recycled MLP.
During the test phase, the business sold 500 pairs of sunglasses online, one model going for Rs 500 per pair. After only one week of operation, the business made Rs 11 lakh in revenue.
After noticing the plastic garbage and difficult working circumstances encountered by waste pickers at Mumbai’s Deonar dump, Anish was inspired to launch a humanitarian venture.
He made the decision to research trash management and collaborate with rubbish pickers in order to have a good influence. People start recycling businesses to make money, he claims, but he intended to use the repurposed materials for good.
In 2020, Ashaya Recyclers Private Limited was established as a result of Anish’s discovery of a recycling gap in MLP packaging. He employed a chemical Ph.D. to test the viability of making high-quality material from MLPs.
They occupied a 1,200 square foot location in Chinchwad, Pune, and set up a lab and a small office there. The 400 square foot office comes equipped with two seats, two desks, and a laptop. The lab space, which occupies the remaining 800 square feet, is where the recycling procedure takes place.
Anish oversees administration, human resources, finances, and product development at Ashaya with assistance from a group of five full-time employees and five part-time rubbish pickers who make twice as much money than they would otherwise.
Anish also works with the Pune Waste Picker Collective, a group of 13–14 women-run business that sells empty chip packets to the firm for Rs. 6/kg.
To make enough plastic for one pair of sunglasses, it takes three to four days and around five chip packs.
Before becoming successful, Anish had to overcome a number of obstacles, such as skepticism, trouble finding empty packets, and difficulty adjusting to Covid-19 lockdowns. Over the course of a year, the team persisted and ran over 1000 experiments.
Anish was raised in a diligent household and moved to Dubai with his medical father in pursuit of better prospects.
Anish earned his BBA in finance from the University of Texas and afterwards worked in the US till 2017 for a major media and entertainment firm. Anish suffered with despair despite his professional achievements and wanted to have a good effect on the world.
He left his job and spent the following three years working with several social companies in Guatemala, Kenya, and Tanzania. As a result of his collaboration with NGOs in these nations, he got insightful knowledge.
Anish quips, “I joined all these NGOs because I didn’t want to be the guy from the US who knew everything.” His involvement with these groups has been extremely beneficial to his new business.
He recalls the difficulty they went through to recycle the chip packets and manufacture the fundamental raw material as being the most important and difficult aspect of the first time they made high-quality plastic from them. The hardest job is now, in my opinion, behind us.
The business supports the children of rubbish pickers with 10% of revenues and plans to do so in the future.
Anish’s key worry is keeping the same level of care and control while growing the business as the firm takes pre-orders for the upcoming phase of sales.
Anish is significantly improving the lives of garbage pickers and the environment with his creative thinking and commitment to social impact.
By turning chip packets into stylish sunglasses, he not only contributes to the reduction of plastic waste in landfills but also empowers and betters the lives of others who are less fortunate.
In order to expand their activities, Ashaya Recyclers aims to raise money and build new industrial facilities.
Anish is also willing to look at new product categories and business opportunities that would help to advance the usage of recycled MLP and other environmentally friendly materials.
As a result, the business will be able to have a greater positive influence on the environment, increase the number of jobs available to garbage pickers, and support a greener, more inclusive economy.
Anish Malpani’s transition from a well-paying profession in the US to a mission-driven entrepreneur has had a profound impact on not just the environment and the lives of garbage pickers, but also on himself.
Ashaya Recyclers is a brilliant example of how social companies can combine profit with purpose and significantly alter the world as it expands and changes.