Published: 27th July 2020
This IIM-K alum's subscription-based waste management service can dispose of COVID's PPE waste safely
Noval India offers complete support in waste management on a subscription basis that will take care of collection, segregation, recycling and more
We neatly tie up covers of yesterday’s dinner and our old Amazon courier boxes and hope that we’re not contributing to the mess that we constantly complain about. The two different-coloured buckets for plastic and non-plastic waste in our apartment complexes sum up the extent of most our knowledge around waste management. For the speed with which our lives march on, Noval India, founded by an IIM Kozhikode alum has found what looks like the most promising way to stay accountable to the environment.
The engineering enterprise focuses on comprehensive waste management and environmental services. It’s as simple as Netflix with a world of added benefits: For a fee of Rs 180 per month, the company will take care of your waste collection, segregation, recycling, composting and everything in between. Founder Siva Sankar says, “Waste management machines are expensive. I wanted to democratise the process and make it more affordable.”
WASTE PACE: The company shifted its headquarters to Mumbai
The idea came to Siva Shankar when he had just stepped out as a graduate from NIT Calicut. At his first job in Hindustan Petroleum, he realised exactly what India needed the most to manage the waste that was piling up within: homegrown machines. A majority of the machines that are used for the purpose are imported. After completing his post graduation from IIM Kozhikode, he set the project up in Kochi with the support of public bodies like the Kerala State Electricity Board and the Kerala Tourism Development Corporation. The very next year, Noval introduced its very first composting machine.
By 2016, the company shifted its headquarters to Mumbai with branches in Pune and Bengaluru as well. Siva asks, “What comes to mind when you think about waste management? I personally always think of something green, earthy and vague. While NGOs have done an excellent job in spreading awareness, it is not sustainable to depend on donations for such an important utility to the country. On the other side, we have huge public projects like Brahmapuram which are actually creating more issues than it solves.”
FIRST STEP: The idea came to Siva Shankar when he graduated from NIT Calicut
The subscription-based Green Lease services was introduced by the company in October 2019 with the intention to build an alternative for those who lived within this spectrum. Siva decided to learn from the Netflix model to offer a variety of options for low prices. Once a resident or committee member of an apartment or society avails the subscription, a full set of machinery including an automatic segregation array, a conveyor belt to place the waste and other automated machines are installed within the next 15 days for a demonstration. For the next seven days, you can see the functioning of the machinery and decide if you want to keep it or not.
Siva explains the inner workings. “The cooked or uncooked organic waste is automatically converted into organic fertiliser. We have a micro-shedder, which is a plastic processor that converts everything into smaller, compacted chips. Other types of waste that cannot be recycled or converted like sanitary napkins and diapers are sent to our green incinerator, which uses an extremely high temperature which helps burn them with very little exhaust.”
Siva expects a whole new category of waste to present itself in our homes over the next few years. As we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and the precautions around it, biomedical waste will need to be rid of in a careful manner. For this, Noval is currently awaiting a certificate to offer households their PPE incinerator which can safely incinerated within the building itself. Since last October, the services have been availed in 12,000 apartments in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Kochi. Currently, they are working on a prototype that can be installed in individual houses.