Dogs (and Humans) are Saving the Environment With Padma Pandya’s Help
Luckily, I got to meet Padma Pandya, (President & Founder, EcoAdepts) in person. Most of my profile interviews are done over the phone as there are so few Women in Tech entrepreneurs in Miami. As soon as you meet Padma, you feel like you’ve found a cool new friend. She’s warm, smiling, laughs easily and cares as much about what you have to say as you do about what she has to say. But then as you talk to her for a while, you discover that your cool new friend is very intelligent, entrepreneurial and to top it off, environmentally-conscious. EcoAdepts is the parent company to GreenDoggieBags and GreenTrashBags that, after tons of research and uncovering the truth about so-called ‘Green’ plastic bags, offer a legitimately biodegradable way for us to do our part for Mother Earth just by taking out the trash.
TechFemme: Tell me about your path to Green Entrepreneurship.
Padma Pandya: I got my Undergrad Degree in PR from Boston University, a second degree in Fashion Design at the Art Institute and then my Master’s in Industrial and Organizational Psychology at Florida International University. I had another online company that was a wedding portal that helped South Asian brides plan their weddings and learned a lot of my entrepreneurship lessons the hard way during that time. I learned from every mistake I made.
TF: Where does your passion for saving the environment come from?
PP: As a child, I was obsessed with whales. I wonder if I was a whale in a past life. I even adopted one through a conservation society when I was a kid. As I got older and did more research, I read about how whales were dying by consumption of all the plastic floating in our oceans. Then I uncovered more disturbing stuff about the five gigantic permanent floating landfills in our oceans. One of them, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is estimated to be anywhere between the size of Texas at its smallest to larger than the Continental USA at it’s largest.
TF: Where did the idea of Green Doggie Bags come from?
PP: I knew I wanted to build a company that I was passionate about so being ‘Green’ was important to me. I researched that the pet market is recession-proof and dominated by women, who are both conscientious and early adopters as a group. So I started to look into biodegradable bags and found out that there is so much we’re not told about how people are using the term ‘biodegradable’. Converting corn to plastic has a 30 % higher carbon footprint. There are no pesticide regulations for industrial vegetables. This stuff only biodegrades in industrial composts. I wanted to offer a truly biodegradable plastic bag option that biodegrades in landfills as well as composts.
TF: What does your product roadmap look like? What other products will we be taking out of our floating landfills?
PP: Next we’ll be focusing more on our building business for our private label GreenTrashBags. A large part of our business is wholesale. We’re thinking about kitty litter liners too.
Below is a chart taken from the GreenDoggieBags website outlining the benefits of the biodegradable technology vs. other supposedly Earth-friendly materials. Makes me think twice about how certain marketing techniques touting ‘biodegradable’ have been tricking me this whole time.
|Biodegrades in Landfills (Anaerobically)|
|Biodegrades in Composts (Aerobically)|
|Can be Recycled with Regular Plastics|
|No Expiration Date|
|Does NOT Degrade with Heat|
|Does NOT Degrade with Moisture|
|No Harmful Chemicals left behind|
|Produces Methane: used as a Renewable Energy Supply|
My relationship with Miami is hard to describe. Between the 10+ types of Latin food, watching LeBron James doing his thing for the Miami Heat, and the phenomenal weather, I love it here, no doubt. But one of the things I detest about my city is that the ‘going Green’ initiative has taken forever to get here. Let’s look at the 3 R’s:
Reduce: You must be kidding me. This is the land of rampant consumption and excess and filling the landfills with everything once we’ve grown tired of it.
Reuse: Advise most Miamians to do this and you’ll be met with a blank or incredulous stare. After all, why reuse something when we can buy a brand new, shiny one?
Recycle: This mindset is completely non-existent here. I see bottles and cans thrown into trash bins all the time, even when clearly-marked recycling bins are right next to the trash bins.
But Padma is helping change this culture and I’m hoping there are others like her in Miami. I’m hoping that they’re starting businesses to like hers to get the word out and help us all do our part. And even if they’re not starting environmentally-friendly businesses, I’m hoping that at least, their voices get louder, their actions are spreading and others are starting to notice.