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Self-belief, positivity and collaboration: how to deliver systemic change – Garvita Gulhati, Founder, Why Waste?

About This Episode

Garvita Gulhati is an Ashoka Young Changemaker and founder of the ‘Why Waste?’ campaign. She has lived up to her own quote for life that change starts alone, but happens together, dedicating the prime of her youth to causes that bring people together to make the world a better place for future generations.


Having started ‘Why Waste?’ at just 15 years old with the aim of tackling global resource waste, at 22, Garvita is showing no signs of slowing down. She was awarded the ‘Young Social Changemaker of The Year 2021’ and is continuing to build communities and projects focussed on creating systemic change for the better.

Garvita Gulhati, Founder, Why Waste?

In 2015, Garvita learned that 14 million liters of water is wasted every year at restaurant tables. Moved, she started Why Waste? From struggling to be taken seriously by restaurateurs, she and her team of ‘waterpreneurs’ have reached out to over 500,000 restaurants across India, prevented over 10 million liters of water from being wasted, and impacted over 6 million lives. The idea continues to grow today with chapters in eight countries. 


Called the “Water Girl of India” by CNN and the Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India, she used the slowdown during the pandemic to make a ‘Why Waste App’ that calculates an individual’s daily water footprint and helps save at least 100 liters of water every day. Most recently the team published “The Sustainability Stories”, a for youth, by youth collection of 13 new-age fables that talk about environmental issues and inspire children to be the change. 

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Lockdown List

What is a book that has changed your life?

Factfulness, it made me look at change-making from a brand new lens and re-energized me to address it with a new perspective. Also, Sapiens, it helped me learn so much about why we are the way we are, life started to make sense!

What are you watching at the moment?

Mahabharata, one of the two epics of India. It is replete with lessons of life.

Who is your biggest inspiration?

Everyone inspires me, especially my family. But, Steve Jobs & Indra Nooyi have been two people I’ve looked upto for as long as I can remember. Steve Jobs’ once said – “Musicians play their instruments, I play the orchestra.” This was a defining moment for me as leader. Indra Nooyi is an incredible leader and female role model, especially for young Indians, and a true force of inspiration. 

In one sentence, describe your ‘new normal’.

Learning to live in the present. 

What is your best tip for life?

Fail fast & fail quickly to build your resilience, strive to persevere and learn quickly and learn more. I believe that everyone has a 1% chance of success in life, especially when you set out to be different and do differently. If you do 1000 things, you’ll succeed 10 times but if you do 100 things, you’ll succeed only once. Doing more will also help you fail fast and learn quickly.

A quote for life?

Your capabilities lie beyond your capacity to believe in them. 

What five tracks make up your current soundtrack?

  • Unstoppable – Sia
  • Believer – Imagine Dragons
  • Willow – Taylor Swift
  • Leaving on a Jet Plane – cover by the Macaroons Project
  • What a Wonderful World – cover by Renee Dominique

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