Fascinated with the idea of turning waste into a valuable resource, National Institute of Design (NID) student Shashank Nimkar established Earth Tatva. During his industrial visit to Khurja – a major ceramic production hub in India – he witnessed heaps of ceramic industrial rejects thrown on the roadside outside the industries. Intrigued with the thought of this waste generated, Nimkar decided to address the humongous natural resources consumed and wasted in the ceramic manufacturing process by turning the landfill waste into a patented re-useable material to make more durable and recyclable products.
The fired production rejects are procured from nearby ceramic manufacturing industries.
What is TatvaMix?
Titled TatvaMix, it is a recycled ceramic material that can be used to make any existing ceramic products through the slip casting process. Made under the zero-waste manufacturing process that adheres to the principles of circular economy, TatvaMix reduces mining for natural resources by up to 60 per cent through recycling of post-industrial fired ceramic waste.
TatvaMix reduces mining for natural resources by up to 60 per cent through recycling of post-industrial fired ceramic waste.
Touted to be the first-of-its-kind innovation, the material is 35 per cent stronger than traditional ceramics and consumes lower energy during the firing process. Its aesthetics are on par with conventional ceramics as well. Additionally, the material has a 50 per cent quicker casting rate and offers twice production. The material is 100 per cent recyclable and vegan, and is food-safe. TatvaMix converts the non-renewable ceramic waste into a renewable reusable material, thereby reducing mining for natural resources by 60 per cent. Other than microwave and dishwasher safe products, TatvaMix has also earned credentials for green building projects and furniture.
The material is 35 per cent stronger than traditional ceramics and consumes lower energy during the firing process.
The ambition to not settle for composition below 50 per cent of recycled content turned out to be a major challenge for Nimkar. However, persistent testing with organized formulations and deriving objective inference after each try-out helped him to optimize TatvaMix.
The material is 100 per cent recyclable and vegan, and is food-safe.
The fired production rejects are procured from nearby ceramic manufacturing industries. This pulverized form of waste (grog) forms nearly 60 per cent of the raw material (TatvaMix) with a very little portion of virgin clay. TatvaMix is then cast into moulds to make products of various shapes and sizes, which are further bisque fired and applied with glaze. In the process, the clay acts as a natural binder. “Clay after firing turns into ceramic, which means we are essentially working with a mono-material allowing us to recycle TatvaMix for multiple production cycles,” adds Shashank Nimkar, Founder and CEO, Earth Tatva as he highlights the upcycling and recycling properties of the material.
Other than microwave and dishwasher safe products, TatvaMix has also earned credentials for green building projects and furniture.
What started as a graduation project for Nimkar’s master’s programme at NID is now a full-fledged brand in itself. Not to forget bagging the James Dyson Award that augmented several opportunities and raised credibility. Reminiscing on the feedback on creating the prototype, Nimkar recollects, “We received an overwhelming response from various stakeholders of the ecosystem. Consumers have been inquiring where can they buy our products from, multi-national brands have been getting in touch to explore synergies on how their products can be made using TatvaMix, manufacturers wanting to make products for their clients with TatvaMix and stores and distributors willing to list/display our products in their catalogue/shelves.”
TatvaMix is a recycled ceramic material that can be used to make any existing ceramic products through the slip casting process
Today, Earth Tatva offers recycled ceramic food-safe tableware products including mugs and bowls in six different colours each, while TatvaMix is primed to be used at scale for production. Nimkar has plans to pilot production using TatvaMix with other ceramic studios and offer architectural products for green building projects. As the future seems very productive with opportunities, Nimkar cites, “We plan to establish our D2C vertical and alongside help other ceramic brands and manufacturers to turn their products into less harmful products for the planet by offering the use of TatvaMix either as a pre-mix or licensing the innovation for their respective production.”
Designer Shashank Nimkar
About the designer
Shashank Nimkar is a multi-award winner, a cross-disciplinary designer who enjoys working with materials and developing solutions that add value to our society. He innovated TatvaMix as a part of his graduation project for his Master’s programme at the National Institute of Design, Ahmedabad, India. Using this recycled material, he aims to turn the linear ceramic production into a circular process so that the industry and studios can collectively reduce the carbon footprint while continue making high aesthetic and functional ceramic wares.
Image and video credits: Earth Tatva