Aluminium cans are far better to recycled after use than plastic bottles: Ankur Chawla


India struggles to collect 15,000 tonnes of plastic daily, with 40% remaining uncollected, causing land and water pollution and posing a serious environmental threat. With an aim to solve this problem, Ankur Chawla came up with aluminium Water Can.

A startup that sells premium natural spring water in aluminium cans in response to the ban on single use plastic bottles. It will eradicate plastic completely and provide an alternate solution with quality water at an affordable rate.

1.Give a brief intro about your journey towards building Responsible Whatr.

I started my career with Hotel Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai post which I moved back to Delhi. I worked with some of the biggest luxury hotel brands in India before quitting my job to start a Food and Beverage consultancy business. At that time, the hospitality industry was only beginning to see the value of sustainability and minimising plastic waste. Because PET bottles were still in their early stages of development, glass bottles were the only option that people could come up with.

Sadly, even though India is one of the countries that uses packaged drinking water the most, the bulk of these PET bottles are never collected or recycled. As a result, they end up in landfills or bodies of water and present a serious environmental risk. This was the time when I made my first move towards building Responsible Whatr, as India’s first natural spring water beverage packaged in an endlessly and infinitely recyclable cans.

2.If not Responsible Whatr what was the other carrier option you could have opted for?

 I’ve always been keen to do something of my own and towards making a sustainable future with  the endeavour of giving back to the planet. This is how the idea for Responsible Whatr first entered my thought process.

If not Responsible Whatr I would  have still focused and aligned my efforts to do something around conserving the environment to make it a better place of existence.

In addition to being an entrepreneur, I am an author of the best selling book “14 Hours: An Insider’s Account Of The 26/11 Taj Attack,” a wine sommelier, beverage expert, and a survivor of the terrorist attack on the Mumbai Taj Hotel on November 26, 2008.  I speak at TEDx events in addition to being a contributing author and love doing some consulting assignments. 

  1. How do you package aquifer water in aluminium cans ?

 The water is drawn directly from a natural, unpolluted subsurface source. It is further filtered and canned at our state-of-the-art plant at Solan , Himachal Pradesh. It has a natural pH of 7.4, and is rich in naturally balanced essential minerals.

After being retrieved from a natural spring, the water is filtered seven times. We don’t make any changes to the pH or TDS of the water. The water is then packaged in aluminium cans, which are made with more than 70% recyclable material.

  1. Why is aluminium a better choice ? 

Aluminium cans prove to be a superior choice over PET bottles for various reasons. Firstly, aluminium cans are infinitely recyclable without any loss of quality, promoting a more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging solution. They have a higher recycling rate compared to PET bottles, reducing waste in landfills and oceans. Secondly, aluminium cans offer superior protection against light and oxygen, preserving the freshness and taste of beverages for a longer duration. Moreover, their compact and stackable design optimises storage and transportation efficiency, reducing carbon emissions. Overall, aluminium cans emerge as a greener, more practical, and effective packaging choice when compared to PET bottles.

  1. How does the company’s business spread across ?

The prices for the two sizes of canned water sold by Responsible Whatr are at an MRP of Rs. 45/- and Rs. 75/- for 250ml and 500ml, respectively.

We started in 2020 and though the initial one and a half year was a bumpy ride due to covid etc. but we have been able to ship Responsible Whatr cans pan India in more than 20 states. Glad to mention that We have crossed a benchmark of crossing more than a million cans.

We have been fortunate to be a part of various prominent events like the G20 currently going on, Apple stores launch in India, few prominent celebrity weddings etc.

Responsible Whatr was also fortunate enough to be chosen by the Indian government as a sustainable startup to be showcased at the Expo Dubai 2020 at the Indian Pavilion.

  1. What is the motto of the company ?

As the name suggests, we are a “Responsible” beverage company in every way possible. We are enthusiastic about sustainable practices when it comes to water and believe every step towards it will make a difference. Keeping this in mind we only gather water  from an aquifer’s flow rather than extracting groundwater. At our facility, we collect a lot of rainwater, and we actually return more water to the environment than we take.

Our goal is to create a sustainable item that has the highest recycling rate and currently we are using cans made with more than 70% recycled aluminium and lowest carbon footprint of any beverage container. It is the only naturally occurring mineral water in India that is now available in environmentally friendly aluminium cans, keeping it fresher for longer as metal is not damaged by light or heat. We firmly think on giving more back to the nature and firmly believe in our company motto CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE