“The Prime Minister wants a Swacch Bharat, a clean India. You want a clean India. We want a clean India. At Daily Dump, we believe that for this to happen, Indians must change their perceptions and behaviour – around waste”
Poonam Bir Kasturi is a Bangalore-based entrepreneur and the founder of Daily Dump, a pioneer in designing and building products and services for decentralized waste management.
Kasturi’s father was a patriot and also a designer. He encouraged Kasturi and her siblings to work for the country, to solve immediate issues with design. “Growing up in such a family and then being privileged to study at NID (National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad) at the time it was just awakening, did a lot to building a sense of purpose,” said Kasturi in an interview.
As a trained industrial designer, Kasturi started out with the designing and marketing of industrial products. However, the huge problem of waste generation and disposal haunted her every day. More than half of the waste generated in urban Indian households is wet waste. This ends up in the already-overflowing landfills. Daily Dump was founded aiming to make composting a regular feature of India’s households and tackle this huge problem.
Daily Dump is essentially in the business of changing mindsets – mindsets about waste, about marginal livelihoods, and about whose job it is to care about waste. They live by the motto “Make waste visible, make it beautiful”. The handcrafted terracotta pots used for composting are not hidden away, but are shown off with pride, promoting individual effort.
Daily Dump keeps twenty thousand tonnes of waste out of the landfills everyday – a feat that won Kasturi the 2015 Schwab Foundation Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award. The organization has also been one of the top nominees for the Index Design Award in 2007.
While any enterprise has its own challenges, Kasturi and her team have the added obstacle of trying to make themselves and their products be understood and accepted by people. Her mantra is to surround herself with good, strong-willed people, dedicated to the cause of eco-friendliness, who can make a difference.