Himanshu Jain deflects the credit. He says it’s his job to generate ideas that will help his company prosper, and in turn benefit India. But there’s no underselling his feat.
The President of Diversey APAC is the architect behind a urinal system transformation that is drastically improving hygiene and sustainability in the subcontinent.
The invention is called Flush-Me-Not! It’s a waterless urinal end-to-end solution that Himanshu and his Diversey Care team (a division of Sealed Air before it was sold to Bain Capital as Diversey) devised and recently rolled out at one of India’s busiest airports.
“At Mumbai Airport [!chhatrapati!] we’ve converted 400 men’s urinals to waterless,” he explains. “We use a bacterial enzymatic cleaner, along with a specially designed urinal screen, and the urinals only need one water flush a day.
To bring a waterless solution to one of the most water-starved countries in the world is hugely important, and we are very proud of that.
“It typically gives you savings of 15,000–25,000 litres of water per year per unit, which means a total of 10 million litres is being saved at one airport alone. That figure rises to 1.2 billion for the year when we include all our customers, and we expect it to jump to two billion this year.
“To bring a waterless solution to one of the most water-starved countries in the world is hugely important, and we are very proud of that,” he gushes. Sealed Air even picked up the prestigious Porter Prize, which celebrates strategic acumen in Indian companies, largely due to the cutting-edge innovation.
Diversey is transforming the hygiene industry
On top of the water savings, the cleaning solution also eliminates odour. Considering that the previous method was to mask bathroom stenches with essential oils like lavender and lemongrass, it is a noticeable advancement.
“At the end of the day, we are a technology company, but not a technology company in an iPhone way; we are dealing with urinals, so that makes us a mundane technology company. But we’re still using technology to make our customers’ lives easier,” Himanshu says.
“What we’re trying to do in this part of the world is transform the cleaning and hygiene industry. We’re bringing in the concept that cleaning and hygiene is a scientific process rather than a chore. It’s more about disease prevention than dirt removal.
“I mean, male and female cleaners may have smaller earnings than in other professions, but there’s absolutely no reason for their dignity to be any lower than anyone else’s. If you ask me, their job is no less important than that of a doctor, because a doctor cures you when you are sick, and cleaners prevent illness in the first place.”
Himanshu Jain is determined to engender societal change
Himanshu is so determined to alter the perception of janitorial work that he’s established a program called Garima – Diversey School of Hygiene [!garima!]. “We are trying to bring about a societal change through this program. For too long, cleaners have been seen generally as nameless, faceless people,” he says.
We are trying to bring about a societal change through this program [!garima!].
“So we are trying to give them training to become what we have termed ‘hygiene technicians’. We certify them up to a level-three technician, teaching them about safety, simple chemistry, basically the scientific way of cleaning. The program has only been running for a year and we have already trained 2,500 people. The best part is that everybody who completes the Garima program is guaranteed job security.”
Another of the company’s initiatives that creates employment opportunities and improves hygiene is Soap for Hope. Basically, the used soap bars in hotels are recycled by community groups using technology and equipment supplied by Diversey. It effectively puts soap in the hands of kids from disadvantaged sections of society, the demographic that Himanshu believes will be key to delivering societal change.
And that’s how Diversey will unlock its enormous potential in India. “With a population of 1.3 billion, our per capita consumption of professional cleaning products is very, very small – it’s about one-tenth of the global. That’s why, if we can overhaul the country’s attitude to cleaning and hygiene, we are well-placed for a sustainably strong journey.”