In a country spilling with people, it does not come as a surprise that proper waste management is the need of the hour. Let’s look at some basic statistics: Urban India (about 377 million people) generates 62 million tonnes of municipal solid waste each year, of this about 43 million tonnes (70%) is collected and 11.9 million tonnes (20%) is treated. About 31 million tonnes is dumped in landfill sites, which is about 50% of the waste left completely untreated and toxic. The urban India’s current consumption pattern only suggests a hike in this graph over the next decade.
At the root of India’s problem of waste management lies the lack of proper segregation of waste at source as well as its careless disposal. However, it is not only those who produce the waste that are at fault, it is also those who take the responsibility to manage this waste. For most of us, the journey of our responsibility of household waste ends when we hand it to our kachrawala, leaving its fate in the hands of the local municipality. However, most municipality authorities, who are responsible for the proper treatment and disposal of this waste, dump it outside the city. This cycle continues and thrives within the flawed system of waste management prevalent in the country. To break this system, we need a third party. In the last few years, quite a few startups have taken matters into their own hands and decided that it is finally time to make India waste-friendly. Here is a list of six Indian Startups which have managed to make the best out of waste:
Founded in 2017 by Divya Ravichandran, SKRAP is a startup that provides end-to-end waste management solutions for events and offices. What does an end-to-end solution mean? Implemented at large-scale events like the YouTube Fanfest and the Bacardi NH7 Weekender, SKRAP uses this model to manage the event’s complete waste needs, from start to finish. From assessing the needs of the event, recommending zero-waste friendly and compostable wares to setting up and manning the entire infrastructure for waste disposal, SKRAP does it all. Considering the great amounts in which waste is generated in large-scale events, every SKRAP project goes a long way in making India zero-waste.
II. SAAHAS ZERO WASTE
This Bangalore-based startup has a simple policy – “send zero waste to landfill.” Providing management and consultation services to bulk waste-generators, Saahas zero waste prevents 25 tonnes of waste from reaching the dump yard on a daily basis. Run by the 56-year old founder and CEO Wilma Rodriguez, this organization emphasizes on segregation at source. In servicing their clientele of MNCs, tech parks and corporates, Saahas is sure to provide segregation aid, front-end services, train the staff and make sure that the client is sending zero waste to the landfill.
III. NAMO E-WASTE
We live in an era of use-and-throw. Buy a new phone, throw the old one away. Update to a laptop, dispose of the old, bulky PC. What happens to them? These discarded electronic items become a part of toxic e-waste, which is just as dangerous as any other non-biodegradable item of waste. NAMO e-waste, founded by Akshay Jain, works out of Delhi. It collects disposed e-waste, treats it and recycles it into usable items. They also aim to provide green alternatives to electronic assessments by furthering policy changes. By providing eco-friendly solutions to the increasing amount of electronic waste, NAMO e-waste has a significant role in making sure India becomes zero-waste.
IV. ANTHILL CREATIONS
At Anthill creations in Bangalore, Pooja Rai explores a new, unique way of making the best out of waste. Their mission is to encourage “Interactive learning environments in public spaces with a primary focus on sustainability.” Anthill collects and recycles scrap tires to build playgrounds for children and have already built over 10,000 such playgrounds. In their effort to encourage sustainable solutions to create safe and innovative playscapes, Anthill uses the 3R’s model and practices eco-friendly and cost-effective methods of upcycling. Not only does this organization treat harmful waste, it also brings smiles to remote, inaccessible corners of the country.
ExtraCarbon seems to do it all. Proclaiming themselves as “on-demand kabadiwala”, ExtraCarbon provides a market place for selling items that you would otherwise dispose of. ExtraCarbon treats and furbishes the item before selling it. Gaurav Joshi, founder and CEO, works toward one important objective: to allows individuals to practice recycling in real-time. By enabling their clients to schedule a pick-up service for their scrap and building a network of kabadiwala, ExtraCarbon makes recycling easier and more accessible. ExtraCarbon has over 16,000 users, with about 100 new users registering everyday.
VI. GEM ENVIRO MANAGEMENT
Of all kinds of waste that is disposed of, plastic is perhaps the most dangerous. Gem Enviro Management, founded in 2013 collects polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – a kind of hard, lightweight plastic used in containers -waste from factories, offices, hotels, and institutes, and recycles them into products such as T-shirts, caps, and bags. These products are then sold under the brand of “Being Responsible”. Gem Enviro also works to further awareness regarding recycling and environment sustainability. Easily one of the biggest names in the waste management industry, this organization has a clientele consisting of the likes of Bisleri, Pepsi, IDFC Bank and Google.
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