The Weekend Leader - Abhishek Agashe, Kashyap Devulapally, Nagaraj Yadav, and Mohit Kumar V Build ELIMA into Rs 80 Crore Waste Management Powerhouse

First-Generation Entrepreneurs from Middle-Class Families Turn Waste into Rs 80 Crore Turnover Business

Rama Devi Menon   |   Hyderabad


Vol 15 | Issue 21

In November 2021, Abhishek Agashe (32), Kashyap Devulapally (35), Nagaraj Yadav (38), and Mohit Kumar V (32), all first-generation entrepreneurs with experience in waste management, founded ELifecycle Management Pvt. Ltd. (ELIMA).

ELIMA began its operations in February 2022 and in just around two years processed over 42,500 metric tons of waste and built a Rs 80 crore turnover business.

Abhishek Agashe, Kashyap Devulapally, Nagaraj Yadav, and Mohit Kumar started ELIMA in 2021 (Photos: Special Arrangement) 

As a fast-growing player in the circular economy sector, the company follows the principles of ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’, aiming to extend the life cycle of products and establish a more efficient and sustainable production model.

“Each of us entered this field with a belief that the future of goods and services would rely heavily on raw materials sourced from above-ground resources, or materials extracted by reusing or recycling end-of-use products,” says Abhishek.

“We recycle or upcycle products from various categories to either enhance their life or convert them back into their base forms. We produce ferrous metals, aluminium, copper, compounded plastics, oil, and paper.”

Their captive generation is as follows: 400-500 MT of iron, 70-80 MT of copper, 100 MT of aluminium, and 200-300 MT of plastic. These end products are utilised by industries as inputs to manufacture new products.

“We supply our end products in various forms depending on the type of material and the requirement of customers,” says Abhishek.

“For example, plastic is supplied as chips or granules; iron in the form of sheets, pressed/baled form, or sometimes in as-is condition; aluminium and copper are supplied in baled form or as ingots; and paper and other plastics are supplied in baled form.”

The company collects two types of plastics: post-consumer plastics, which include PET, detergent, and shampoo bottles, and multi-layered packaging like chips packets and wrappers.

Coca-Cola bottles are 100% recycled, says Abhishek

"PET bottles go to PET recyclers, where they are either made into yarn used to manufacture clothes, dry fit T-shirts, etc., or converted back into drinking bottles. For example, Coca-Cola bottles are 100% recycled," says Abhishek.

“The plastics you see in electronics items, such as ACs, washing machines, etc., are high-impact polystyrene and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene. Our e-waste recycling plant converts them into chips.”

Iron scrap is sent to large foundry smelting units, which typically convert it into sheets or thermo-mechanically treated bars used for construction. Rubber is shredded into crumb rubber.

"E-waste is completely handled by us. We also make ingots from aluminium and copper. We have a small furnace in our plant. We convert plastics up to the chip level and are working on granulation as well," explains Abhishek.

"Right from the kettle in your home to large MRI machines, we handle everything, including ACs, refrigerators, washing machines, TVs, laptops, and phones."

ELIMA works with multiple stakeholders, including manufacturers, brand owners, major corporates, IT parks, retail and e-commerce companies, warehousing and logistics companies, and the HoReCa (Hotel, Restaurant, and Catering) sector.

“We have served more than 150 clients so far and are completely B2B. We procure waste from large corporates, manufacturing companies, and retailers, and sell our material to foundries, other recyclers, and manufacturing companies,” says Mohit.

The company collaborates with scrap collectors and aggregators, including waste pickers through NGOs or smaller aggregators.

ELIMA works with rag pickers and kabadiwallas who supply around 500-600 kg waste daily

“For our Hyderabad materials recovery facility centre, we collect close to 500-600 kg from rag pickers and smaller kabadiwalas daily,” says Kashyap.

Empowering waste pickers is one of ELIMA’s flagship initiatives. “We consider them the unsung heroes of waste management,” says Nagaraj. “We provide training, resources, and support to enhance their livelihoods, ensuring they play a pivotal role in our circular economy efforts.”

ELIMA’s head office is located in Hyderabad, with material recovery facilities for dry waste segregation and pre-processing in Hyderabad and Bengaluru. The company also has sales and customer support offices in Mumbai and Delhi, with employee strength of more than 110 people.

“We currently operate five trucks on our own, but also have tie-ups with logistics providers across India,” says Abhishek.

The integrated e-waste processing and plastic waste pre-processing plant in Hyderabad is situated on a seven-acre land. These material recovery facilities are the primary points where all the materials collected are brought, sorted, and segregated into specific categories.

After segregation, the products are either baled or transferred to recycling facilities for further processing.

“We do not have any franchisees yet, and we operate through our empaneled partners for waste collection in other states. We are currently operating across Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Maharashtra for our integrated waste management services,” says Mohit.

ELIMA founders reinvest their earnings into the company to fuel growth

ELIMA is entirely bootstrapped, with initial investments from the founders and support from friends and family. “We have been profitable since inception, allowing us to reinvest our earnings to fuel growth,” says Abhishek.

“Additionally, we obtained certification as a startup from the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade, which granted a loan of Rs 1 crore under the Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises scheme,” says Nagaraj.

“This loan was particularly beneficial as none of the founders had personal assets to pledge as collateral, addressing our working capital requirements effectively.”

Originally from Pune, Abhishek hails from a middle-class family that valued education. His paternal grandparents were both Ph.Ds, and his sister also just obtained her Ph.D. from the US.

“My father is a marine engineer, and my mother is a homemaker. I completed my Bachelors in Electronics Engineering from Vishwakarma Institute of Technology in Pune and have a Masters in Energy Conversion Systems from the University of Nottingham in the UK," he says.

After working with Indpro Engineering, he started his own e-waste company in 2015. "My family was shocked when I told them that I wanted to work in waste management. Despite ups and downs, they always supported me."

Mohit, an MBA graduate from Jawaharlal Nehru Technological University, has 12 years of experience in waste management and recycling. Kashyap, who also holds an MBA, has 14 years of experience in the same industry.

Nagaraj, another Co-Founder, also worked with Mohit previously and had his own waste management and recycling firm before joining ELIMA. "Nagaraj was one of the contractors that I used to work with," laughs Mohit.

ELIMA has more than 110 people on its rolls

All are first-generation entrepreneurs. "None of our family members have ever ventured into business," says Nagaraj, who is also the Head of Dry Waste and a commerce graduate from Hyderabad.

Looking ahead, ELIMA aims to enhance its processing capabilities and strengthen its position in Hyderabad and Bengaluru before expanding to other southern states and Maharashtra.

With a tagline of “Reuse, Refurbish and Recycle,” ELIMA continues to drive efficient resource utilisation and contribute to sustainable development. -©TWL

Milky Mist Cheese

Trending Now: