Doing his bit for the environment, Akshay Manerikar decided to introduce Katho, the eco-friendly scrubbers to the people of Goa. Not only is Katho eco-friendly but bio-degradable as well. The concept of using coir to scrub vessels was an age-old tradition in Goa. One that is still rampant in many villages, especially where cooking is done on wood fires. This was the time when gas stoves were a luxury. Vessels were scrubbed with wads of wet coir, dipped in the ash. The outcome was even better than all the scrubbers and detergents put together.
Having chanced upon this enterprising young man, Akshay Manerikar, on Facebook, I was curious to know more about his venture as it took me back to my roots.
Interestingly, Akshay brought back this age-old tradition in a more stylish and modern-kitchen-worthy fashion. This 26-year-old youth from Marcel, North Goa, working as an E-Commerce Manager, decided to ‘Be the change’, to save his homeland – Goa. Curious to know the how’s and why’s, I got him to answer a few questions.
How did the idea come into being?
“As we all see lots of pollution everywhere in all forms and which is also increasing day by day I was always in search of eco-friendly alternatives to our daily-use products. Hence while searching I came across one article which mentioned various products manufactured of coconut coir by some communities and hence I searched and got in touch with them for the coconut fiber scrubber. “
Well, of all the probable ideas, why Scrub Pad?
“The utensil scrub pad is one of the most widely used household products in India or even the world. It’s there in every house, hotel, restaurant and more. Hence the amount of pollution we create by using the sponge/nylon scrubbers which are non-degradable, noncompostable, only adds to the already grave pollution crisis. Hence I thought of initiating a small change by introducing the natural coconut fiber scrub pad to the Goan market to help in a small way to go back to our roots and help to reduce the pollution.”
How well is the product doing so far and who are your customers?
According to Akshay, “When introducing these natural scrubbers into the market my main focus was making it affordable so that more people start adopting the natural scrubbers and replace the harmful green synthetic scrubbers. I am currently selling a pack of 3 scrubbers @ Rs.50 only, with a very very thin margin for myself making it very affordable for everyone to try out and switch to this. I just made a small post on Facebook and the response has been phenomenal, not just from the urban eco-conscious people but also from village households.”
Says he, “I have also been getting lots of calls and queries not only from different parts of Goa but also from Mumbai, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and even some international calls from UK and Dubai asking me to deliver them.”
Currently, Akshay is outsourcing the Scrub Pad. So my next obvious question to him was:
Are you coming out with your own product?
Akshay was prepared for the question. “ I am planning to introduce these scrubbers with our own brand with eco-friendly packaging. The process has already started and we plan to introduce the brand soon. Also, I plan to keep these products at all the popular stores and supermarkets in Goa to increase the reach. If the demand is good, I also plan to manufacture these scrubbers in Goa itself.”
Let’s support Akshay Manerikar, our own fellow Goan, to save the environment. Going back to our roots won’t hurt! Use the Katho, a cheaper, eco-friendly, bio-degradable and compostable alternative to the non-ecofriendly, non-biodegradable and non-compostable synthetic scrubber.
A small step is all it takes to save our planet and our land.