Sure, So, I will start off with my name, My name is Purav Desai. I am the co-founder of Recube Circular Solutions and we started off with our company in 2018, primarily with a vision of, you know, eliminating single- use plastic. But it was more by a need. There was a need in the market and we were at the right time at the right place with the right solution. And that’s how we started off. So, the seed was sown in the first year of college when we were part of the Rotaract Club of HR College where we had a lot of activities that were pointed towards social development and that’s where our inclination grew to create a social enterprise that creates impact at scale. That’s where I even met my co- founders, Rahul Batra and Lokesh Sambhwani and we did various activities such as developing wells in watershed regions of Maharashtra where we won the best international project by the Rotary. Then we organised chess competitions for the blind and we organised campaigns to create awareness for different activities. And yeah, that’s where the journey started off where, post graduation, we immediately got into Recube Circular Solutions and yeah, everything else is pretty much known.
Right, so I think I have a very utopian view of the future and a very positive view, a very optimistic view of where we are going. Although these are tough times that we are going through. But, after every tough phase, there is always something that’s going to be better. So the future that I see is a harmonious future, one where people are more conscious of their consumption, of their activities and like just more in tandem with themselves. Apart from that, of course, I see a mix of Sci-Fi and the nature. Technology and nature coming together. Because that is what is coming across, we see a lot of these tech companies being socially responsible. Recently, Tesla stopped accepting bitcoins because they were harmful to the environment. So these are certain things that make me optimistic about the future, that there will be a change and we will be in a better place to tackle climate change than what we are currently.
Yeah right, so basically, when I was an eleven year old and my school was about a kilometer away. I used to walk it up sometimes and while walking, I used to see all of these plastic bags on my way to my house. So, one fine day, I don’t know what hit me, I just started picking it up while going, randomly going on the street. And I was of course a bit, you know, I did it discreetly, because I didn’t want everyone to see what I was doing. So, I used to pick it up with my legs, put it in my pocket and put it discreetly. Because, I didn’t want to show anyone that I am just randomly picking up plastic bags from the street. I picked them up. I then gathered all of them, took it home and put it separately and then gave it off for recycling. So, that’s when my journey started off as an eleven years old. Now that I think of it, and like I did blogging before it was cool.
Right, so, on a personal front, I was always very inclined to create a social enterprise. Right from when I was sixteen years old. I always dreamt of having a social enterprise that creates impact. So, I used to read a lot of these articles in college from like Your Story and different media publications. I used to read about entrepreneurs who were creating impact. A few examples would be Green Sole that creates footwear out of rubber sole which is a simple idea that takes the waste out of it and makes new shoes and creates an impact as well. A few of my college seniors started off, like they started off the hemp industry in India by the name of BOHECO.
Yeah, so, I have been reading about all of these people and that’s where the thing of doing something started creeping up more. And luckily I had two of my college mates and a cousin of mine who shared the same passion or excitement to create that thing and for the last few years, we have been doing that. So, the tipping point was after graduation when we all came together and we were like what next now and we started thinking about different ideas and 2018 was when the single use plastic ban was announced in Maharashtra. So, there was a lot of talk about what is the solution, what is the problem, what new materials we can explore and that’s when we started reading up more, more and more and one thing led to another and that’s where we are today.
So, I would say, in terms of, as you rightly mentioned, just start off with more simple steps although people want to immediately start to live a zero- waste lifestyle. They don’t want to consume anything in plastic, but then they get disappointed that there are no options around, or what more I can do, this is so inconvenient etc. But, start off with simple- simple things, like this would go as basic as everyone would say that like refilling your water bottle and getting it out, then using a reusable bag when you purchase something like starting off with these simple things. Then just be more mindful of what you are consuming. The options of zero waste in India are plenty. We just don’t market them or don’t present them as zero waste. So you just go to your nearby kirana vala and they will be selling stuff in loose or bulk which will be easier to purchase as well as environmentally friendly. So, just keep your eyes open in the entire neighborhood and you will find a hundred ways to go zero waste like such simple simple steps and of course shop from Refillable if you are Mumbai based and soon PAN India as well.
Right, so, actually Indians are very gifted in this space, the zero waste space. We didn’t really think about what we are doing that will be beneficial to the environment. It was inculcated in our culture, in our nature etc, so just to give you a few examples, Indians, we like we as Indians love to hold packaging, we love to reuse packaging. We love to, for example, a t-shirt worn for like the longest of times,and then it becomes a rag for cleaning, and we reuse food packaging, we clean it and we use it as storage containers. The milk that used to come to our places used to come in returnable bottles. So, if we go back and think about the habits which we already had, were super beneficial for the environment and were convenient for us as well, they were not inconvenient. But soon the single use culture and the westernisation, I would say has shifted a bit. But, what we can do is, we can take a few tips from Westernisation such as packaging it well, adding technology, but always remember that the activities that we did earlier were super beneficial for nature. We just have to combine both of them and we get the best of both worlds.
Right, so in terms of the policies, government and corporate policies are in place. The policies in terms of discussions, everything is in place. But the implementation at ground is something that is missing. So, that is something where we need a lot more corporate push or government push in terms of implementation. Because everyone knows what the right thing to do is, or like for example, composting also, and reduction in plastic, commitments to shift to reusable and refillable packaging by 2024. But what are the steps taken to reach there is something that is missing out there. So, if there is more push in implementation through smaller steps, trying out different things and then scaling them up because of course the advantage to corporates and government is that they can bring about systemic change, overnight. Like even if we just see the covid action that corporates and government has brought out, by just coming together is just immense. So that is something we can expect to eliminate plastic as well if the corporate and governments implementatable action comes together, then the impact will be huge out there.
Right, so it is a proper collaborative approach in terms of circular economy also. We need all stakeholders in place, right from your corporates, governments, giving start-ups more chances to you know collaborate with them, do projects with them, try out the newer activities, and then help them scale up, and the community. So all four stakeholders have to come together- corporates, governments, start-ups and the consumers, and when the entire circle fills, that’s when you get impact at scale. So, if there is action shown by all parties together, that’s where we will have proper systemic change.
So, the personal dream will go back to our earlier conversation as well. As a sixteen years old, I always had a vision to create impact at scale. And so that’s the personal dream that even taking small steps towards that, like creating a company, can create impact at scale would give me immense satisfaction. Reaching out to as many people as possible who can create that simple change, make it easier for them to change, rather than changing the whole system, making it simpler for them. That’s the personal dream out here. So reaching out to as many people as possible, and creating that impact would be something that’s a personal dream.
Yeah, so that is pretty straight forward for me, like, since childhood, I would have loved to start my own business and that what I am following right now, I am pretty much happy to stay on this journey, but that is in terms of no demeaning of jobs, because that’s something we need more people. But we need more people to create jobs as well, to create quality jobs, to create meaningful jobs, because that is something that will help other people. That’s the journey I want to stay on. I would motivate as many people who would want to start their own business as it is very, honestly it’s a very fulfilling journey but it’s very tough. It’s a roller coaster journey, many ups and downs. Like even after three years, it feels like it’s just day one. Honestly, it feels like day one itself. I would ask as many people to start their own business and create their own journey. Of course not everyone makes it, but the entire journey is what is fulfilling.
So, I liked the formulation of the interview, because we went from talking about my childhood and then about the journey and different aspects of the company which is not usually covered because it’s more about the company and what we do etc. So, it’s like the overall, just when you look back and ping back, so that’s the exciting part of the interview which we covered. The name is pretty good, like common-uncommon interview.