As a child, Mayank B Nagori grew up in Bangalore, surrounded by the lush greenery and diverse wildlife of India's southern state of Karnataka. It was a childhood that instilled in him a deep love and respect for nature, one that he has carried with him into adulthood, and which has inspired his mission to create a more sustainable world.
Nagori is the founder of Gud Gum, India's first plastic-free and natural gum. It's a product that was born out of extensive ingredient research and kitchen trials, a labor of love that took on a new urgency during the COVID-19 lockdowns of 2020.
"During the lockdown, we had ample time to develop the product in our kitchen," Nagori explains. "We wanted to create something that was both delicious and sustainable, something that would allow people to enjoy chewing gum without harming the planet."
For Nagori, sustainability is more than just a buzzword; it's a way of life. He and his team at Gud Gum carry their own metal straws to parties, use wooden toothbrushes, and bring their own mugs to cafés. They even carry their own shopping bags to the market. "Quitting isn't in our blood," Nagori says. "But we wanted to find a way to indulge our love of gum without contributing to the plastic waste problem."
The inspiration for Nagori's switch to sustainable living came when he saw a landfill for the first time. "It was a shock to see the amount of waste that we as a society produce," he recalls. "I knew then that I had to do something to make a difference."
Since then, Nagori has faced a number of challenges on his sustainability journey. One of the biggest obstacles has been the shelf life and cost of sustainable packaging. "It's a tricky balance," he admits. "We want to create products that are both sustainable and affordable, but sometimes that means sacrificing a little bit of shelf life or paying a bit more for materials."
Another challenge has been educating consumers about the importance of sustainability and the reasons why sustainable products can sometimes be more expensive. "As a society, we're used to cheap, disposable products," Nagori says. "But we need to start thinking more long-term about the impact our choices have on the planet."
Despite these challenges, Nagori has persevered, building solutions that he would like to see in the world. Gud Gum is a prime example of this; a biodegradable, plastic-free, and all-natural chewing gum that is both delicious and sustainable.
But Nagori's commitment to sustainability doesn't end with his company. He practices what he preaches, carrying his own bag, cutlery, and other essentials wherever he goes. "I believe that leading by example is the best way to make a difference," he says. "When people see you living sustainably, it can inspire them to do the same."
For Nagori, living sustainably has had a profound impact on his life. It has made him more thoughtful, reducing his urges for unnecessary spending on fast food and fashion, and making him feel more grounded and rooted to mother earth.
And he's not content to keep this knowledge and experience to himself. Nagori intends to use his resources and expertise to help others who are willing to live sustainably. "By sharing content and conducting workshops, I hope to encourage people to live more sustainably," he says. "I want to give them examples that they can learn from and show them that living sustainably is not only good for the planet but also good for our own well-being."
You can find his collection here:
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