Courtesy of Shervin Dehmoubed

Shervin Dehmoubed ‘25 was on an early flight to New York when he got an email notification with a subject that he recognized, but did not immediately process. Dozens of text messages from both friends and lost connections later, it finally sunk in that he was among this year’s Forbes 30 Under 30 members, recognized for his sustainability packing company, EcoPackables

Every year, Forbes selects 600 entrepreneurs, leaders and emergent industry stars across disciplines for its 30 Under 30 lists. The 2022 cohort includes world-renowned hip-hop musician Jack Harlow; Yale M.D.-Ph.D. Candidate Emmanuella Asabor and her work on illuminating structural racism and Adam Beckman, a special advisor to current U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Selection operates on a nomination basis for various categories, ranging from music to healthcare to education. Dehmoubed was part of the Manufacturing & Industry category. 

“The idea [for EcoPackables] started right around COVID when I was packaging and shipping a ton of products for another company I had at the time — and I realized that the magnitude of the waste we created was simply unsustainable,” Dehmoubed said in an interview with the News. “E-Commerce is a secularly growing trend, and I knew that COVID was only going to accelerate this trend.” 

Pandemic uncertainties, resource shortages in physical stores and the distribution of stimulus checks meant that people poured a lot more money into online shopping, which correlated with increased waste associated with delivery packing. Beyond the level of waste consumption, Dehmoubed’s team was also interested in making their envelopes more compostable, adopting a “circular” philosophy to their packaging. 

The company’s packaging is created from post-consumer waste, uses paper whenever possible and is suitable for curbside pickup. It is also either 100% recycled or compostable. Currently, sustainability is not a dominant value in the delivery industry, he said, mentioning that most of the plastic that comes in the mail isn’t even “curbside recyclable.” 

Curbside recyclable plastic usually cannot be recycled at home and must be brought to the thin film recycling bins commonly found at grocery stores, something that most consumers already find inconvenient. According to Dehmoubed, only around six to nine percent of that plastic ends up getting recycled. 

“We’re very excited about our Ocea™ Bag – a curbside recyclable alternative to plastic polybags,” EcoPackables Operation Manager Vivek Viswanathan said. “Thanks to our exclusive focus on sustainability, we’ve been able to use our films and laminates to create a wide range of flexible packaging. We’ve now expanded into Food Safe packaging, with several new laminates that are either plant-based, carbon negative, or made from PCR content.” Knowing where to find the right packaging machine manufacturer is key here.

The solution is two-pronged, with EcoPackables trying to resolve the recycling issue as much as possible while simultaneously using minimal material to manufacture their packaging. Since its founding in 2020, the company has collaborated with big names such as Ted Baker London, Revolve and Ebay due to the control they have on “consumer sentiment.” Packaging is the first part of a product that a consumer interacts with, and creating a good first impression remains at the forefront of EcoPackables’s conscience, Dehmoubed said. 

“Our pitch is not only [that] this more sustainable, but it also helps from a branding perspective, too, because everyone wants to help make this world more sustainable,” he said. “And if a company genuinely cares about this, it tends to resonate a lot better on consumers.”

Dehmoubed’s passion for sustainability has taught others to see that there is more to caring about the environment than simply talking about it, as peer Vijay Pathak ‘24 put it. In the over two years that they have known each other, Pathak has seen him evolve as both an entrepreneur and activist. 

He is not someone who believes in performative activism, Pathak said, noting that his friend does not flood social circles with graphics and instead builds direct solutions to fighting problems that resonate with him. Seeing the beaches he grew up around in Spain deteriorating from littering was what sparked Dehmoubed’s interest in curbing climate change, Pathak recalled from one of their conversations. 

“Shervin is incredibly busy on campus … but [he’s] a top lad,” Pathak said. “[He] is a very loyal friend [and] also a bit insane so always a brilliant time to be around. Most of all, he is an executor.” 

When Dehmoubed isn’t working until the quiet hours for his business, he’s usually playing for the Yale Men’s tennis team or missing out on sleep. Juggling a full course load, athletic commitments and a professional job have ingrained in him a work ethic that he plans to continue wearing around his neck as he tackles future endeavors. 

Last year, photographer, artist and computer science student Anna Zhang ‘23 earned a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. 

BRIAN ZHANG
Brian Zhang covers student life for the University desk, and previously housing and homelessness for the City desk. He is a sophomore in Davenport College.