Meet Monisha Narke, The Woman Who Converts Trash Into Treasure (VIDEO)

Meet Monisha Narke, The Woman Who Converts Trash Into Treasure (VIDEO)

Pooja PatelUpdated: Monday, May 27, 2024, 11:48 AM IST
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Monisha Narke, founder and CEO, RUR Greenlife |
Annie Arakkal, RJ, TV host and voice artist

Annie Arakkal, RJ, TV host and voice artist |

In 2010, she founded RUR Greenlife, a social environment enterprise, with the mantra my waste, my responsibility. RUR stands for "Are You Reducing, Reusing, Recycling?"

Academically trained as an engineer, Mahim-based Monisha Narke had experience manufacturing technologies for pharmaceuticals, aerospace, biotech, clean environment systems and clean air systems. But it wasn’t until she became a mother that she pivoted towards her real calling. “My daughters were around three or four when I got sensitised to what kind of world they are going to grow up in. That's when I realised that the waste we generate has a big impact on our environment,” says Narke.  

In 2010, she founded RUR Greenlife, a social environment enterprise, with the mantra ‘my waste, my responsibility’. RUR stands for ‘Are You Reducing, Reusing, Recycling?’

The organisation has been working on waste management technologies for 14 years, aiming to create eco-conscious citizens who maximise recycling.

Narke says conventional waste management systems are centralised, stressing on collecting and transporting, adding to greenhouse gas emissions, air pollution and water pollution. “We work closely with community groups, individuals, societies, offices, schools and institutions, to understand the impact of the waste that they generate and how we can set up systems in a decentralised manner — segregation of waste at source, compositing, dry waste collection and recycling, thereby reducing the impact on the environment,” Narke explains.

Bio-composting, waste audits, dry waste recycling, organic kitchen gardens and recycling of used Tetra Pak cartons are among RUR’s services. 

Narke believes innovative solutions are required to change how waste is managed in India, so one of their missions is to design and develop technologies and solutions to maximise recycling of waste.

RUR developed an aerobic bio-composter called the RUR Green Gold Composter. It is a simple solution to maximise recycling of biodegradable kitchen waste like peels, tea leaves, meat, fish, bones, cooked food, all that is generated in a kitchen or in a canteen. This lightweight and compact portable system takes care of all the biodegradable kitchen waste and converts it into compost, which can go back to the earth to grow organic fruits, vegetables and flowers. “We usually send this waste bagged up to the dump yard, which emits a lot of methane and ammonia. With this composter, we're not transporting the waste to the landfill, thereby saving a lot of carbon emissions,” says Narke about this composting technology that won an excellence award from the Solid Waste Association of North America, a first for any Indian company. This pan India project has been set up at around 350 project sites across India.


RUR’s most popular and widely recognised project is the Go Green with Tetra Pak in collaboration with Tetra Pak India. RUR’s flagship programme is an initiative with Tetra Pak, Sahakari Bhandar and Reliance Smart Bazaar outlets, operating for 14 years. “We have set up a unique hub-spoke model for collecting used beverage cartons like Frooti, Lassi, Maaza, Amul Milk etc at 57 different locations in the city, which are sent for recycling. These sturdy aseptic cartons are converted into furniture, desks, benches, school benches, panels boards, auto rickshaw seats, pen stands, mobile holders etc.” she says, proudly, adding that so far, 17 million used beverage cartons have been sent for recycling.

Under their Cartons to Classroom project, for every 10,500 cartons they receive, RUR Greenlife donates one school desk that is fully made from recycled cartons. “So far, we have donated 500 plus school desks and 350 garden benches,” she adds.

While RUR’s work has been bringing tangible change, Narke also recognises the need for younger people to get involved and take charge. “Our eco-edutainment programmes include eco workshops for schools and colleges. We have a Gain Awareness and Action programme, which is an integrated programme for colleges, where we've embedded the Environment Programme in the curriculum, and it's also offered as a course for credit. This way we can get young minds to be ignited to become green leaders of tomorrow,” shares Narke.

Speaking about RUR’s impactful work, RJ, TV host and voice artist Annie Arakkal shares, “I love the consistency with which Monisha and her team is always researching and executing solutions whether it is reusing, recycling or upcycling trash into building tools, stationery, benches, desks etc. This is another set of solutions apart from their other waste management solutions that they provide. A city like Mumbai that's always growing needs such green solutions.”

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