Meet Tanvi Mittal, The Girl Who Has Been Recycling Plastic To Make 3D Printer Filaments
Tanvi Mittal is an Amani Social Innovation Management Fellow and part of Kenya Class 8. This article was originally published in The Logical Indian by Sromona Bhattacharyya on July 19, 2018. You can view it here.
When Tanvi Mittal went to Kenya for a 9-month-long fellowship programme, little did she know that the practices of waste management in the African country are going to inspire her to replicate the model in India.
After months of hard work, innovation and ideating, 25-year-old Mittal is finally getting closer to her goal — establishing a social enterprise which not only tackles the problem of plastic waste pollution but empowers waste collectors as well. After coming back from Kenya, Mittal set up an enterprise, Grennovations aimed at curbing the menace of plastic waste.
While talking to The Logical Indian, Tanvi pressed upon the plight of the waste workers in our country. She said that the sector is unorganised and with the help of her enterprise, Tanvi plans to “integrate them into forming cooperatives”.
From Waste To Filaments
How she plans to do this is where her ingenuity lies. Most of us usually look at PET bottles and think nothing of them, but Tanvi who is a design engineer by profession thought of shredding them into pieces, only to reuse them to form filaments for 3D printers. Such filaments are known as “Ethical Filaments”. She further added that most of the filaments that are in use in India are made up of virgin plastic.
Explaining the process, Tanvi said that the waste collectors would procure the plastic waste, sieve through it to determine which ones should go for further processing. After this, they will not only shred the plastic into little pieces and produce the filaments. “We are going to try and sell the filaments online to both B2B and B2Cs,” she added.
Six months in and Tanvi is already busy testing the filaments and said that once the product is finalised, she is going to launch her company. Talking about the waste collectors, she said that 56 of them had been trained on how to sieve through plastic and shred them. She has also provided them with safety gears. Some of these waste workers are independent while some others work under the local municipal bodies as contractual wage labourers. Tanvi went to various informal settlements in the National Capital Region of Delhi to identify the waste collectors.
Keen interest in helping the society
However, Tanvi’s interest in serving the society is nothing new. She said that she has always participated in volunteering work. However, something sparked in her after her 15-day long Jagriti Yatra two years ago. The 8000 kms long train travel in India helps participants in meeting change-makers and role models from different walks of life.
“This journey made me realise that I wanted to make a greater impact with the kind of work that I do,” added Tanvi. Her zeal of bringing innovation as well as social impact led her to quit her job and set foot on a path which she thinks will serve a greater purpose.
She feels very strongly for the marginalised sections of the society, especially the waste collectors who live in dismal conditions. With her Enterprise, Tanvi envisions that she will be able to uplift their condition. Although she is presently working out of Gurugram, she wishes to expand her business to other parts of the country as well.
Talking about her goals and aspirations, Tanvi said that she is focused on creating an online presence and get a few good team members on board. She said that going by the pace of work, Greennovations will get things up and running in a couple of months’ time.
Greennovations is one of the four Indian social enterprises which has been shortlisted for the prestigious Young Social Entrepreneurs Programme 2018 organised by the Singapore International Foundation. Tanvi said that her journey with the foundation has been fantastic thus far in the sense that she has received guidance and mentorship in launching her social venture. Additionally, she said that she, along with 15 other teams, have been preparing for the final round of pitching in October 2018 where they could be given the chance to receive funding of up to S$20,000.