The co-founder of Sustain and Save, Ankita Shroff, connected with a very inspirational couple Yogesh and Ashwini Shinde from Bamboo India, an enterprise that is revolutionizing the sustainable bamboo products which are eco-friendly and naturally obtained. They believe that they are working not for income but for outcome!
Bamboo India wants to change bamboo’s common perception from “the poor man’s timber to the wise man’s timber”.
Inspiration to start up Bamboo India
Entrepreneur Yogesh Shinde’s journey started when during his travels across Europe he had been stunned by the economic disparity between western farmers and their Indian counterparts. Now he decided to act on addressing it. He says, “Everyone wants to do something for their society, people, and country. I am not an exception. We cannot keep blaming the government and society all the time. But what about what I am doing for them? I must act and use my education the best way I can”. Having brought up in Pune, Yogesh found that the bamboo cultivations are in huge numbers in Maharashtra to be apt for his intentions. Upon further study, he discovered using bamboo would be serving the dual purpose of helping the farming community and targeting the plastic epidemic that has consumed our lives. Yogesh and his wife, Ashwini Shinde, founded Bamboo India in the village of Velhe near Pune in 2016. Their idea is to move away from the dominant handicrafts and furniture industry and use bamboo to manufacture viable alternatives to household plastic products.
The couple’s take on sustainability
The founder is satisfied not merely satisfied in earning income, but in creating impact across the value chain. Over the centuries, human beings have been cleaning their teeth in a variety of ways. But the non-biodegradable plastic toothbrushes we use today were introduced in 1938. Every single one ever produced since then sits rotting in a landfill somewhere while we continue to buy a new one every three months to make our dentists happy. The toothbrush is second only to plastic bags in the plastic pollution generated. In India, more than 150 million toothbrushes are thrown away each month. Bamboo India’s product catalogue contains an array of sustainable products ranging from speakers, notebooks, cloth pegs, pens, desk organizers , to of course, the much vaunted toothbrushes. Yogesh is convinced that consumers are waking up to the alarming degradation of the planet’s resources and are willing to make sustainable choices in their lifestyles. Failure is not an option for Bamboo India because, he says, “The farmers are looking to us with great expectations.” And also bamboo helps a lot to reduce the plastic epidemic.
For Yogesh, the best part about starting up has been the feedback from his customers. “They feel that they are doing something positive for society just by making a conscious purchase and it is a thrill to connect with them on this issue,” he says. “There is also nothing like the realisation that we are a bridge between the farmers and society. This elevates our sense of purpose.”
His advice to aspiring change makers: “Believe in your dream and focus on what you are doing. The rest will fall in place.”