Whenever we think of waste management, the first thing that crosses our mind is the 3Rs which stands for recycle, reuse and reduce. You all will be glad to discover that this startup called HelpUsGreen from Kanpur does just that. 

What Does It Do? 

HelpUsGreen is the world’s first such startup that has discovered a solution to floral temple waste. They have developed “flowercycling” technology which recycles the floral waste from temples and prevents the Ganges from getting polluted.

Collecting floral waste from religious places

They assemble 2.4 tons of floral waste from temples, gurudwaras and mosques in Uttar Pradesh every day. Then they convert this floral waste into thermocol and fragrant incense sticks. 

How They Made It Happen

The duo, Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi, became friends at a tuition centre in Kanpur. Though they went to pursue higher studies, their love for the city and environment brought them back to Kanpur. Hence, they co-founded HelpUsGreen in 2015, with a vision to preserve the Ganges.  

Co-founders, Ankit Agarwal and Karan Rastogi

During their research, they became acquainted with the fact that the Ganges was the “most polluted” river in the world and had infected 400 million people as they developed infections such as dysentery, cholera, diarrhoea. These infections caused due to drinking polluted river water was a major reason for child mortality in India. 

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Indian population offers flowers in the temples, mosques and gurudwaras to show their devotion to God. This floral waste couldn’t be discarded in garbage and, thus, it was discarded in the river Ganges.

However, this “sacred” floral waste turns out to be dangerous for the aquatic flora and fauna and for people who survive on the water from Ganges. Hence, the duo came up with recycling the floral waste of temples as they were significant pollutants of the River Ganges. 

But, the family of the duo were resistant to the idea and stood against it. Ankit’s mother’s reaction was, “Now they will quit their jobs and collect flowers!”

Their entire family persuaded them to drop the idea. But the duo was determined and continued against their family’s will. 

The Impact and Acknowledgement 

To date, 11,060 metric tonnes of floral waste has been recycled. They have also successfully been able to provide a livelihood to the underprivileged women of 85 families residing in Kanpur. These women are now financially independent and get regular and stable wages. 

Underprivileged women working at HelpUsGreen

They have wonderfully come up with a solution to recycle floral waste, and they wish to replicate the same throughout India. They desire to uplift 25,000 women and contribute to the education of underprivileged children. They have even ceased pesticides infused flowers from polluting the river Ganges. 

The duo was recognised by the United Nations as exceptional leaders, to contribute to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in September 2018. In the same year, they won the “World Changing Ideas” award from Fast Company. 

They are being appreciated internationally. Ankit recalls, “We’re receiving dozens of calls and emails every day from people across the country–and Bangladesh and Nepal–who want to replicate our model. The world needs 10,000 startups like us.”

The duo further says, “More is yet to be achieved. Everything is possible if you just take the plunge and arm people with your trust. That is true magic.”

Image Sources: Google

Sources: HelpUsGreen, Business Line, Fast Company, Your Story

Connect with the blogger: Palak Dogra

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