As director of innovation for Hemas Holdings, a Sri Lankan group of companies in health care, personal care, leisure and transportation, Himesh Fernando is responsible for new products and services. On fellowship he wants to develop a plan to minimize plastic waste from entering landfills and the oceans by establishing a network of “reverse vending machines” where consumers can get cash or other incentives by returning empty plastic bottles. Sri Lanka currently consumes about 7,000 metric tons of polyethylene terephthalate annually, mostly in the form of non-deposit plastic bottles. Less than 20 percent is recycled. Fernando wants to achieve recycling rates over 90 percent. He plans to visit cities on the West Coast of the U.S. where recycling initiatives have been most successful.


Hermas Holdings PLC


Director of Innovation

Areas of Interest

Energy, Environment
  • himesh fernando headshot

Program Year



Common Interest Program

Country of Origin

Sri Lanka

Destination Country

United States