Taking a walk down any street in India is often a gross sight. All we see are trash mountains and overflowing dumpsites. The lack of easier and faster solutions to curtail the waste has resulted in unmanageable situations. One of the primary reasons for the lack of recycling initiatives from citizens is the lack of convenience, professionalism, and transparency by scrap dealers/waste pickers. Waste is an impending issue affecting urban India where the existing landfills are completely consumed, and newer landfills are harder to find/sustain.
Absorbing these facts on an everyday basis, we decided to solve the problem digitally with the help of technology. We also decided to formalize the already existing localized hand scrap dealers and waste pickers, empowering them and enabling them to earn more.
Waste Ventures India is innovating to revolutionize the sector by actually addressing waste management issues by bringing in the on-demand economy into trash pick-up and at the same time formalizing scrap dealers/waste pickers to revolutionize the recycling.
The idea came up when our team was discussing two separate ideas and the waste management app, ‘toter’ ended up being the marriage of the two. We decided to build a tech platform to bring efficiency into waste management sector that may also be available for small business and households including 3rd parties into pick up at bulk producers to reduce cost. It prompted us to leverage existing network of scrap dealers for a house to house collection resulting in toter – uber for trash collection.
The Challenge has been a good platform for us to build our ideas further and help them mature enough to be brought into the market. Monetary and capacity building has been very helpful to push the idea to execution.
The platform has also enabled us to meet other innovators and has brought about opportunities for collaboration. Our mobile app platform consists of a Native Mobile App and Intel® Multi-OS Engine with the backend optimized on the Intel® Architecture.
It is hosted on Digital Ocean and AISO on the Intel® Xeon™ Processor servers.
The visibility that we obtained through the Challenge has unquestionably helped us in reaching out to more consumers/corporate clients and can only get better as we continue further into the competition. The initial push to execution will help us promote the product sooner and better into the market.
The transition from the top 20 to the top 10 was indeed a great learning experience. Our respective team members created a customer interfacing platform for customers to complete bookings and enabled the rest of the features manually. In our journey, we have been able to build a corporate web page, pick up the app for voter agents, and a centralized admin panel to integrate all of these into one platform.
Despite being a social enterprise, it’s been a pleasure to compete with other traditional tech start-ups as equals and be among the top 10.
Our mentors opened our way and directed us in our approach, turning it to be a very scalable model as it leverages the existing network of scrap dealers instead of replacing them which we can find in any city in India.
They highlighted that the idea brings about convenience and professionalism into the sector of recycling and works on Uber for trash model. Being a combination of brick and mortar and technology, it help us scale better compared to the heavy brick and mortar models.
Our yearly report for the year 2016 have some startling facts to bring to the notice of environmentalists. In the year 2016, 588,000 Kgs waste was recycled, 5292 trees were saved, 1,640, 520 Kg CO2 Averted, and 707,121 liters equivalent to petrol emission was saved.
The prospect of working with and formalizing the bottom of the pyramid population (scrap dealers and waste pickers) to build a greener Hyderabad via digitizing the waste management sector is encouraging and rewarding.
We have learned that digitizing India is possible and can be profitable as well and thus our innovation focusses on the Digital India mission and the well-being of the environment. This is helping us to bring the revolution of digitization at the segment which is least amenable and most impactful if achieved. We plan to scale up our innovation across multiple cities in India by the year 2020.