The rePurpose Story
From side streets in Mumbai’s largest slum to corporate HQs in New York, here’s how 3 young social entrepreneurs hailing from 5 countries came together to launch the world’s first Plastic Credit Platform.
Where We Came From
Svanika Balasubramanian, Co-Founder
"I'm Indian, raised in the Middle East. I grew up surrounded by the Arabian shores and fell in love with the ocean. I'm optimistic about our future because I believe creative conscious entrepreneurship can break barriers and support underinvested innovations."
Peter Wang Hjemdahl, Co-Founder
"Growing up between urban China and rural Norway, I witnessed first-hand the economic & environmental disparities so pervasive in our world. A Wharton global module took me to the recycling quarter in Mumbai’s largest slum, opening my eyes to the human potential to adapt in the face of climate change."
Aditya Siroya, Co-Founder
"Known as the Garden City, Bangalore, India was my home for 18 years. Rampant growth brought poor sanitation & overflowing landfills, and along with it, sewage workers & waste pickers. Growing up, we would see these men and women everyday, yet those with means brush them aside as second-class citizens."
The three of us met at Wharton, and research for an honors thesis brought us to Deonar East, one of Asia’s largest landfills in Mumbai, India. There, we stood between mountains of plastic and the booming skyline of India’s financial capital - we realized something needed to change.
How We Got Started
We got our feet off the ground when we won the President’s Engagement Prize, a $200k seed grant awarded by UPenn (largest prize of its kind in higher education). Armed by a social entrepreneur’s toolkit and mesmerized by urban India’s enduring energy, we packed our bags and moved to Mumbai to pursue our venture full-time.
"This (waste picking) industry was especially vibrant in India, but despite turning over billions of dollars every year, it was incredibly unfair towards workers at the base of the pyramid."
Where We Are
We embedded ourselves into informal recycling supply chains across Asia and searched for solutions that could end our plastic epidemic. We understood the gaps, connected the dots, and pioneered plastic neutrality. Today, we are an energetic 15-person team pushing full throttle to enable our transition to a climate neutral world.
"rePurpose Global, a Bengaluru-based social enterprise, is using an algorithm to help people calculate their plastic footprint and telling them how much plastic they use. It also provides a roadmap to help them reduce the usage."
"They (rePurpose Global) understand that empowering waste workers to deal with the mess we’ve made is the first step of investing in the circular economy of the future."
Where We're Headed
Plastic crediting is a revolutionary financing instrument that will dramatically accelerate our world’s transition to a circular economy. As we continue to expand our global community and impact, we are constantly looking ahead at what’s next. Sign up for the Circular Pulse Newsletter and keep in touch with our next innovation!
"A new paradigm is entering the environmental zeitgeist, and that paradigm is plastic offset. So what is it really, and how could it stem the global tide of plastic pollution?"
Appearances and Features
2019 Boston Finalist Cohort
Top 12 Green Startups (2019 Innovation Summit)
Winner of '19 Social Ventures Competition
2nd Wave Ocean Solutions Accelerator
2018 President Engagement Prize Recipient
Sublime Magazine Good Brand Award