This Indian student designed an innovative air freshener named ALVE, recycling 1500 kgs of temple flower waste and challenging the conventional market dominated by plastic-laden and chemical-emitting products. Meet Rajiv Kumar Sharma who has partnered with over 30 temples in Jamshedpur, collecting floral waste daily, and recycling 1,500 kg to date.
When COVID-19 struck the country, numerous households, including the Sharma family in Jamshedpur, Jharkhand, turned to air fresheners and sanitizers. Placed in their living room, the automatic air freshener effectively masked odors, but the family remained unaware of what else it might be emitting.
In 2022, Rajiv Kumar fell seriously ill, experiencing vomiting, nausea, and headaches that landed him in the hospital for two days. After his discharge, he investigated the cause of his sudden illness and realized it might be the air fresheners they had been using.
With a background in carpentry and a knack for innovation, Rajiv decided to create his own air freshener using natural ingredients. He gathered flower waste from a nearby temple and crafted a homemade air freshener using wood and tools available at home.
When his college professors at the National Institute of Design, Andhra Pradesh, heard about his innovation, they decided to help him perfect the product.
Collecting flower waste from nearby temples, Rajiv air-dried jasmine and rose petals, ground them into powder, and combined them with coconut husk waste to create natural fragrances. After several trials and combinations, he crafted a wooden outer cover for his homemade, eco-friendly air freshener, which took over eight months and 20 prototypes to perfect.
Having partnered with over 30 temples in Jamshedpur, Rajiv collects floral waste daily, recycling 1,500 kg to date. He is also committed to animal welfare, having worked with the Jharkhand Animal Welfare Society since 2018.
Rajiv Kumar now runs his startup from his kitchen with his mother, Sonidevi. Together, they have sold over 850 air fresheners in the past five months, earning over Rs 2 lakh.
Rajiv Kumar aims to expand soon. ALVE Green Solutions has teamed up with the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore to develop the product further. The air fresheners are sold offline, online, and through events.
Rajiv Kumar has always been a creator since his younger days. During the COVID-19 pandemic, he designed a comfortable PPE kit for prolonged wear and developed over 50 wheelchairs for injured dogs as a member of the Jharkhand Animal Welfare Society.
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