As a second generation entrepreneur, I started my career in establishing an In-house laboratory for the waste sector. With much enthusiasm and a short-sighted vision, I thought that the stakeholders in the sector agree to what I think. Well, I failed once, twice, thrice and it went on, till I realised that you can’t push it and you alone definitely cannot change it.
It was a mindset, moulded through decades of marketing, branding and pursing to make this sector the one which could yield gold.
‘Waste to gold’ a well aware concept. Not only did everyone jump to try and extract most out of it, but also forgot one thing- it is Fool’s gold. A gold which is way too heterogeneous in nature.
Heterogeneous in its very nature, not a singular process or technology or model can be successful. What it needs is an integrated model of various technologies (simple or complicated), methodologies, and processes for treating each fraction of the waste in a way, specific raw material is utilized for generating a new product.
This can only happen when we all think of waste as a resource and manage it responsibly. We need solutions from a technical, financial, and social viability point of you and not simply financial.
Yes, for any business, finance and cash flow are important, but if you only focus on the numbers for a project, it won’t survive for long and the project soon will see closure. “We have seen examples like this in our country for sure, with N number of projects which never took off”. Some lacked social viability, some technical viability, and some were too overpowered by foreign technologies where they put their bet blindly on them forgetting the financial aspect and ending up ignoring the nature of the waste.
But, I learned one thing, I’m not alone and there are many who think alike. They are speaking, they are being vocal. Because for them, what matters the most is the longevity of their projects and their business plan which contributes positively to the sector.
Because of the entrepreneur old and new, there has been a shift.
- A shift towards a positive mindset, from organizations, talking about standardization in the waste sector to skilling the workforce with defined job roles.
- Authorities focus more on mitigating and managing waste scientifically and in an environmentally friendly manner more than interest in the ROI of a project for a private player.
- Swachh Bharat Mission’s awareness program which helped the sector tremendously and ensured that citizens’ mindset shifted from ‘Not in my backyard to ‘Yes in my backyard.
There is still tremendous scope for improvement and we want people to be vocal and authorities to have an open mind, by supporting the private technology developer, the research institutes, MSMEs, NGOs, recyclers, and stakeholders who are working on the ground and not giving their thoughts through secondary data.
Waste is a resource and Let’s Manage it Responsibly.