Meet the 5 firms picked by H&M Foundation, Social Alpha for waste management programme

Meet the 5 firms picked by H&M Foundation, Social Alpha for waste management programme
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21 Apr, 2021

H&M Foundation, the non-profit arm of the Swedish clothing retailer, has picked five waste management startups for its programme Techtonic – Innovations in waste management.

The programme, in association with multistage accelerator Social Alpha, aims to help entrepreneurs develop solutions to accelerate waste management.  

Winners were selected from over 100 applications, based on a set of criteria focusing broadly on technology innovation, impact, operational scalability, and business sustainability. The programme is a part of the fast fashion brand’s Saamuhika Shakti initiative in India.

“Innovation is fundamental to improve the waste management system, but it is also crucial to improve the life of waste pickers. By reducing the amounts of waste that end up in landfills waste pickers are true heroes, and new technologies can increase their income opportunities as well as highlighting the recognition they deserve,” Maria Bystedt, strategy lead, H&M Foundation, said in a statement.

The winning startups will be a part of Social Alpha’s Waste Innovations Accelerator – a one year immersive venture development program where they will be provided with access to resources to become growth-ready.  

The support includes helping startups implement their business in a new geography with Urban Local Bodies (ULBs), public or private institutions for a year to help them validate and refine their business model and prepare for scale. These startups will be provided marketing and digitisation support for their operations.  

Social Alpha will be offering mentorship from qualified global and local experts in the waste management sector, go-to-marketing strategy support, opportunity to pitch to a large investor and donor network and potential opportunity to access Social Alpha’s seed support.

“The need to usher innovations all along the value chain is crucial to solve the complexities of waste management problems. The winning innovations have demonstrated the potential to create impact and scale across geographies,” Manoj Kumar, founder and CEO, Social Alpha, said.

Here are the winning startups:

MuddleArt, New Delhi: Founded in 2019 by Sanjay Chauhan and Ruby Khan, MuddleArt has created backward and forward linkages to streamline the flow of pre-consumer textile waste and create recyclable material and upcycled products.

Phool, Kanpur: The Kanpur-based startup was founded in 2017 by Ankit Agarwal, Phool collects 7600 Kgs waste flowers from temples and mosques and 97 Kgs toxic chemicals daily, preventing it from getting into the river. The startup is upcycling floral waste into cruelty-free bio alternative to animal leather called ‘Fleather’ which will cut down several traditional downstream leather tanning processes that are highly unsustainable.  

Loopworm, Bengaluru: Founded in 2019 by Ankit Alok Bagaria and Abhi Gawri, Loopworm is producing sustainable food and feed by bringing food waste back into the circular loop. The startup is producing protein rich diet for fisheries and poultry farms by farming insects to feed them using food waste which currently lands in landfills.

ZeroPlast Labs, Pune: Founded in 2019 by Aditya Kabra, ZeroPlast Labs is working on developing sustainable materials to replace plastics. ZeroPlast collects and upcycles biomass waste into compostable bioplastics and composites, which can be used as a sustainable alternative to oil-based and non-biodegradable single use plastics.

Swachha Ecosolutions, Bengaluru: Founded in 2017 by Vinay Raghavan, Victoria Joslin D’Souza and Rajesh Babu GM, Swachha Ecosolutions has developed an innovation that processes formulated grades of multi-layered plastic and low value film waste; and adding them to asphalt for road construction. The start-up is also providing waste management consulting services and recycling waste streams across businesses, commercial complexes, municipalities and residential societies.