- Wifi waste bins are solar powered electrical bins for dry waste disposal
- Four ATMs are located in Connaught Place and two in India Gate
- According to the contents of the trash, the users get paid
New Delhi: In a world that is fast embracing technology and digitisation to tackle problems, a new startup in town Ecomaxgo is giving a tech twist to waste management. The startup has invented waste ATMs or kiosks in order to provide people with a platform to dispose of their waste in a more scientific way, and also incentivise citizens for by rewarding them in a cashless manner through means of digital payments. So this is how it works. There are Wifi waste bins or kiosks, which are solar powered electrical bins where garbage like paper, plastic or glass bottles can be disposed of. Currently wet wastes cannot be discarded. Then according to the contents of the trash, the users get paid. Since this money is received through an e-wallet, the users need to download the MaxPay app. The app is a one stop solution to a lot of other services as well like free mobile recharge, free coupons, free tickets, cashback and free vouchers.
By giving people a positive incentive to use trash bins – money is the biggest incentive, we will show them how good it is to help clean the city,says 30-year old founder of Ecomaxgo, Madhuresh Singh.
We have given people another reason to not to throw waste apart from the concern of keeping the surrounding clean, that’s income. The price of the waste is so good that in 3 or 4 bottles you could make Rs 10, adds Max, as Madhuresh likes to be called.
Here is the breakup of what a user gets paid through dumping trash in the kiosk:
- For plastic trash: Rs. 1 per bottle
- For glass: Rs. 2 per bottle
- For cans: 50 paisa per can
- For wrappers, paper cups: 20 paisa per trash
Max came up with this idea, created the design and operations in 2014 but since he came from a poor background, there was lack of financial support and the idea could not be implemented immediately.
In June 2015, I wrote an email to Honourable Minister of Urban Development that I have made a product which could be a game changer in Clean India Mission and if he himself could not see it, then let someone senior from his team see to it. I had also written that I am very poor and cannot afford a long struggle, and told him that I need funds to realise this idea, says Mr. Max.
After the letter was sent, 15 days went by without a response. Then one fine day, a senior IAS officer called him and asked him about his product. He was asked to go to Municipal Corporation with his idea but then after two days he got a mail which said that the Swachh Bharat team would like to meet him.
After that there was no looking back. The government helped him set up the kiosks in prime locations, and provided work orders for the installation of kiosks for the next 10 years.The government also pays Ecomaxgo money for each kiosk each month, with a condition that any additional maintenance will be managed by the company.
After testing the machines, we realised it is a nice initiative and should be implemented, says a source from Ministry of Urban Development.
Ecomaxgo was allowed advertising rights on the machine and given permission to connect with other recycling companies so that the waste collected can be disposed off quickly.
But the project did have its share of problems. Even after the idea was approved, banks refused to sanction loan to Max and his team. He needed money to bear the additional expenses and was struggling to cough up the amount. Then a friend of Max came to his rescue. Thus, Ecomaxgo came into being only in 2016.
First of the four waste ATMs are located in the inner circle of Connaught Place, in the heart of Capital Delhi, (Between A-B, C-D, E and F block) and two are located in India Gate, almost 20 meters away from the monument.
The machines were installed about a month ago and prior to that the testing part was done for about 2 weeks. In the last 2 weeks, close to 1700 bottles have been collected at both India gate and Connaught Place and payments worth Rs. 4000 have been made to the users.
Ecomaxgo has outsourced the job of collecting the garbage and recycling it, to a local recycling company, Jai Ganesh Enterprises. And the startup’s engineers keep monitoring the process to gather useful insights. It is a promising venture but has its share of problems.
Max says, Many cities have shown interests and we are in talks with them. We are making the area 24×7 free wi-fi zone. The only problem is , we are in digital era, yet we do not have a good wifi system at good locations.
By June 30, Ecomaxgo will set up a machine in Lucknow and Varanasi. Going forward there will also be a reward system and lucky draw contest to further encourage people to use these kiosks. There are also plans to organise Swachh Bharat Marathon which is not about running but about whoever throws maximum amount of waste from Morning 5am to 5pm, will win exciting prizes. The startup plans to expand to 500 cities and install 12,000 kiosk machines in the next 3 years.