- India generates about 62 million tonnes of garbage every year
- More than 45 million tonnes of waste in India remain untreated
- To meet the goal of clean India, it is important to tackle waste issues
Over 75% of the waste we generate is recyclable but we, in India, recycle just 30%. It is time for the nation to wake up and start taking waste management seriously because if this issue is ignored any further then by 2030 we will need a landfill as big as Bengaluru to dump all the waste. According to the Central Pollution Control Board, less than 15% of the municipal solid waste generated is processed or treated. There are various issues plaguing efficient waste management in India, ranging from lack of proper guidelines, planning on the part of authorities, poor waste collection, and treatment system to poor awareness among citizens about waste segregation.
A critical first step in order to tackle India’s growing waste woes is to segregate household waste into organic and inorganic components at the source, and ensure that each component is handled appropriately. For instance, did you know that recycling 5 PET bottle produces enough fibre for making one t-shirt?
Though there have been numerous attempts from both Urban Local Bodies and private stakeholders to make people aware of waste segregation, the impact is minimal, simply because the efforts are limited to a few wards.
To solve India’s waste miseries, few startups seems to be slowly getting involved. Here are few innovative initiatives that are making a difference.
From Waste To 3D Printing: Protoprint In Pune Is Changing The Waste Management Game
Protoprint, a Pune based enterprise has partnered with Pune’s waste pickers and is converting plastic waste into filaments for 3D printing. According to the data provided by the government, more than 15,000 tonnes of plastic waste is generated in India every day, of which 6,000 tonnes remain uncollected and littered. In order to overcome this worrisome statistic, Siddhant Pai founder of Protoprint partnered with SWaCH (Solid Waste Collection and Handling, or SWaCH Seva Sahakari Sanstha Maryadit) in 2013 and started buying plastics filaments from the organisation for 300 rupees. The company has set up ‘Filament Labs’ at dumpsites as well where they process High-Density Polythene (HDPE), such as shampoo and detergent bottles. The bottles are converted into flakes which are then melted and extruded into HDPE filaments which are then used in the process of 3D printing, an additive manufacturing technique in which one can create, or print, objects layer by layer using raw material powder or filament as feedstock.
It’s Easy Being Green – Pom Pom’s Mantra
Pom Pom is a web-based recycling platform that helps people to dispose off recyclable waste in a responsible manner. What’s great is that the Pom Pom service also pays you back for your waste management initiative; it is one of a kind ‘Trash to Cash’ service that pays you for your unwanted recyclable trash. Founded by Deepak Sethi and Kishor K Thakur, POM POM service has started its operations in South Delhi.
According to government data, Delhi is among the top ten largest plastic waste producing cities in the country. To address the growing waste concerns of the city, Pom Pom started converting recyclables into raw form, which can be used to create new different products.
The best part is that this startup is just a call away. One can also put in the request via the mobile app.
Save The Planet, Earn Good Karma: Karma Recycling
Karma Recycling is today a leading trade-in operator and redistributor of electronics in India. The website portal allows the users to trade in over 700 models of working and non-working smartphones, tablets, and laptops. What the company does is simple; it buys your old electronic device in any condition and recycles it for you. With more than 950 million devices currently in use, India is the third largest mobile device market in the world, and is rapidly becoming a global nerve center for device commerce. But, unfortunately, due to a lack of awareness and inadequate access to recycling, these devices that could be refreshed, repaired, refurbished, resold, are either being wasted or ending up in landfills, polluting our environment. E-waste is slowly becoming one of India’s biggest problems.
Founded in 2013, Karma Recycling came with the philosophy that a useless device for someone can turn into a useful device for someone else. To sell the used device, all you have to do is go to their website, submit details and answer a simple questionnaire. And, voila you are done!
This Startup Is Transforming Food Waste Like A Pro: GPS Renewables
GPS Renewables is a Bangalore based enterprise that is solving the urban organic waste management problem in an economical and environmentally clean way. Founded by Mainak Chakraborty and Sreekrishna Sankar, the company is working on a thumb rule of – Zero wastage. It is turning all the kitchen and other organic waste into biogas which has been around in India for a long time but its installations have traditionally not taken off because of poor awareness and cost issues.
The company launched a pilot project named BioUrja which is a compact plug-and-play system that users can install anywhere with minimal civil work, and is perfect for bulk generators of bio-degradable waste. The system has proven to be effective since 2013 and processes around 600 kgs of kitchen waste every single day. The company has now expanded beyond India into Bangladesh, Malaysia, and Sri Lanka.
No More Butts
This startup collects and recycles cigarette waste, and even pays you for it Smoking cigarette is harmful! But, it is harmful even when it is disposed off. Did you know cigarette butts take anywhere between 18 months and 10 years to fully decompose? The cigarette butt, discarded after smoking, is one of the most littered items in the world today, moreover, it is an environmental hazard. Now a Noida-based company – Code, is recycling all kinds of cigarette waste and trying to tackle this problem.
Two friends in their twenties, Vishal Kant and Naman Gupta, started this startup. The company pays Rs 700 for every kilogram of cigarette waste, and Rs 80 for every 100 grams. Their customers are people who smoke as well as those who sell cigarettes.
The need of the hour is to extend the reach and accessibility of startups like these so that more people become aware about how to deal with waste in a more sustainable manner. What would help is if government creates guidelines or laws regarding waste management in collaboration with the private sector. This can help India deal with its waste problems.
So, next time you decide to get rid of your waste, stop and think if there is a better way to handle it. Your one small step can go a long way in saving the planet.