THE INDOMITABLE SPIRIT OF PRODUCT INNOVATION & SOCIAL IMPACT.
Phani Trivedi is a first-generation entrepreneur in her family. She is the Director of Wastengage Pvt Ltd. which is a DIPP registered social impact startup of Startup India since 2016. She is an IGBC accredited professional of Indian
Green Building Council & a Green Building Consultant. Phani held the position of Chairperson of the Business Women Wing at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce & Industry in 2019.
The environmentalist in her staunchly believes in ‘Giving Back to Nature, what belongs to Nature’. It is this mission that drives everyone involved to engage in solid waste management, especially the biodegradables. Being the first Women Entrepreneur of Gujarat to have ventured into biodegradable waste management, she realized that to earn
any blessings and doing good deeds by frequenting temples is not the purpose. Our social message is actionable in
terms of scientifically treating solid waste from this planet, eventually earned us respect and blessings from the larger sections of the society.
She was selected as the top 25 Women Transforming India organized by Niti Aayog, Government of India; United
Nations & MyGov.gov.in, GOI. Our startup Wastengage Pvt. Ltd., has been selected & featured in the Coffee Table
Book of the Top 50 Startups of Gujarat by Government of Gujarat at the Vibrant Startup Summit 2018.
She has been awarded on numerous occasions for her work in social impact, and has won the ‘Women Entrepreneur
of the year 2018 – Green Business from Green Society of India & Ministry of Forest, Environment & Climate Change,
Govt. of India’. Among others are ‘94.3-My FM-Jiyo Dil Se Award’, ‘The Trend Setter Award’ by the Gujarat Innovation Society, both in the year 2016. Articles about her sphere of work have been covered by Business World, Times of India, DNA and Gujarati Dailies. We wish her more success and power, excerpts from her interview with Passion Vista team are here:
How did you get your idea or concept for the business? What was your mission at the outset?
Phani: Preventing cows the holy animal India from consuming plastic was the prime trigger for our venture. We
provide an end-to-end solution to what must be done after waste reaches the households dustbins. Segregation at source, awareness about what is recyclable & what is not, the emphasis for zero waste campuses/areas can only make the swachhta abhiyaan, a success.
Was there a time you messed up and felt like you’d failed? How did you bounce back? How did you learn to embrace risk-taking?
Phani: In my opinion failure is only temporary. Unfortunately, waste management is confined to collection & transportation in our country rather than treatment & safe disposal. The current political climate encourages the waste management transport contractors, instead of operators & manufacturers of equipment for the scientific treatment of solid waste, in particular. Thus, one can infer that the political & economic climate is non-conducive for start-ups like us. We learnt that the Public-Private Partnership(PPP) model will aid us setup, license operators in the context of the solid waste management industry.
What’s the most important leadership lesson you’ve learned and how has it proven invaluable?
Phani: Well, being a self-driven social impact organization, our ventures focus has been the decentralization of biodegradable waste management. We ensure and prevent unsegregated waste from reaching dumpsites. We set up projects in smaller & larger spaces like a factory, industrial unit, hotels, resorts, households where we utilize a small area to set up a greening zone. Our biggest asset and investment is in training the personnel & labour, thus converting canteen food waste, garden waste & stationery paper waste into organic compost & vermicompost. This
set up prevents garden waste from being burnt & zeroes down the costs on transportation of dumping such waste in an unorganized open landfill site.
Since you are a ‘Green Earth’ Crusader, what are a few things you have been personally involved to make an impact?
Phani: We consider ourselves as ‘Change Agents’ and I was awarded the title of ‘Swachhagrahi’ of the Swachh Bharat Mission. We have been working passionately in the area of decentralization of Solid Waste Management for the last 7
years. Currently, we sell TWWINbins for at-source waste segregation, Vermicompost to bungalows, farmhouses, educational institutions and Kitchen waste composting kits, garbage bags, dustbin liners along with dustbins wherever possible in housing societies and industries.
Our efforts have been towards the installation of Waste Compost projects in factories and educational institutions
and sensitization sessions in societies, schools, private clubs, Women Wing of various Chambers.
What is your upcoming project, how ready is it for the millennials, what purpose/problem will it solve?
Phani: We have made efforts to productize waste management and develop waste handling tools. I have personally spoken at various forums on Sustainability, United Nations SDGs and Climate Change mitigation. Of the many projects executed, we conducted an experiential project for a batch of over three hundred and fifty(355), Bachelors of Art students at GLS University, Gujarat to train them on the DIY (Do It Yourself) concept for waste management, recently. The objective is to sensitise and create awareness in the next generations who will shape the environment of the country in future.
How would you describe your style of leadership/mentorship?
Phani: Though I am not an Environmental Engineer nor I have specialized in waste management in theory. Yet, I know that this passion is the very purpose of my life as a social worker. I shall continue making efforts for climate change mitigation until my last breath. My ideology in mentoring is by doing and practising, what we preach, ensuring to get maximum people to reach us and in turn, we reach them with our tools.