En­trepreneurs now see business op­por­tu­nity in waste pa­per. The rad­di­wala em­ployed with start-ups can be sum­moned to home with the click of a mouse or a phone call


En­trepreneurs now see business op­por­tu­nity in col­lect­ing waste pa­per

AMRINDER SINGH, 57, is a gov­ern­ment em­ployee liv­ing in south Delhi’s La­j­pat Na­gar. His neigh­bours say he has a big heart—he do­nates gen­er­ously for re­li­gious func­tions and other com­mu­nity ser­vices in his lo­cal­ity.His do­mes­tic help, too, is all praise for him as he helps her with money when­ever she is in need.But when it comes to sell­ing the waste in his house, Singh for­gets his gen­er­ous na­ture and makes ev­ery penny count.

On the first Sun­day of ev­ery month, he hag­gles with the rad­di­wala (waste dealer) who goes to his house to col­lect news­pa­pers. And he does so in a voice loud enough for his neigh­bours to hear, as if to de­ter them from sell­ing their waste to the rad­di­wala who could be cheat­ing them. Noth­ing irks Singh more than get­ting less from a waste col­lec­tor, even if it is a pal­try sum of 2. To ease his

` trou­bles, he went to Cen­tral mar­ket to buy him­self a weigh­ing scale, spend­ing more than what he could have earned by sell­ing waste.

One Sun­day, Singh saw his new ten­ants sell­ing their waste pa­per to uni­formed men at their doorstep. They had an elec­tronic weigh­ing scale and pro­vided the ten­ants with a re­ceipt along with the money. There was no hag­gling and, for the first time, Singh re­alised that sell­ing waste could be smooth and has­sle-free.

A click away

In the past two years, a num­ber of waste col­lec­tion cen­tres have come up in the coun­try. In Delhi, Raddi Ex­press is the most ac­tive.Its web­site claims that it is the city’s “first pro­fes­sional waste pa­per pickup ser­vice”. At www.rad­di­ex­press.com, one can ei­ther reg­is­ter and book an ap­point­ment with the waste col­lec­tors on­line or make a call to in­vite them home. The tele call­ers ask for a suit­able date and time.The cus­tomer re­ceives a con­fir­ma­tion call half an hour be­fore the waste col­lec­tors reach their house. While un­or­gan­ised waste col­lec­tors in the city of­fer any­where be­tween 10-`12 per kg for

` news­pa­pers, card­board and waste pa­per, Raddi Ex­press of­fers 11 per kg. Cus­tomers

` who have pam­phlets dis­trib­uted with news­pa­pers get an ex­tra 50 paise/kg. The only con­di­tion is that a cus­tomer should have a

min­i­mum of 10 kg waste pa­per. Used bot­tles or metal scraps are not col­lected.

Singh is one of the happy ben­e­fi­cia­ries of this ser­vice.In the first week of ev­ery month, he pesters his son to book an ap­point­ment with the rad­di­wala at rad­di­ex­press.com. To­day, he sells his waste pa­per at best rates, with­out hag­gling.

Raddi Ex­press is part of In­dia Re­cypa Pvt. Ltd., a joint ven­ture waste pa­per trad­ing company, with its of­fice in Nehru Place. In­dia Re­cypa had tie-ups with re­cy­cling plants in the coun­try.But it be­gan to face prob­lems of sourc­ing waste ma­te­rial. It then de­cided to en­ter the mar­ket by col­lect­ing waste di­rectly from homes and of­fices. The company started rad­di­ex­press.com, which be­came op­er­a­tional in Jan­uary this year. At present, its “fleet on street” is 20-per­sons strong.

Ajay Sharma, Raddi Ex­press’ gen­eral man­ager, says that the mo­tive is to make peo­ple aware of the use­ful­ness of re­cy­cling. This, he adds, will bring down the pa­per in­dus­try’s de­pen­dence on the im­port of raw ma­te­rial.

Ac­cord­ing to In­dian Agro & Re­cy­cled Pa­per Mills As­so­ci­a­tion, In­dia pro­duces 12-15 mil­lion tonnes of waste pa­per ev­ery year, out of which only 26 per cent is re­cy­cled. This is in­signif­i­cant com­pared to what is re­cy­cled by Ger­many (80 per cent), Swe­den (69 per cent), Ja­pan (60 per cent) and the US (49 per cent).

Sharma says the company wants to change the pro­file of waste col­lec­tion business in In­dia. “We are try­ing to cre­ate aware­ness among the peo­ple. But there are prob­lems. Some res­i­dent wel­fare as­so­ci­a­tions do not support us. When our col­lec­tors go there, the se­cu­rity guards hes­i­tate to let them in and even the lo­cal rad­di­wala threat­ens them. The peo­ple in the area have to come for­ward and support us,” he says.

Raddi Ex­press has six col­lec­tion vans sta­tioned in dif­fer­ent parts of Delhi and two ware­houses to store the waste col­lected each day. When there is enough waste for a truck­load, it is sent to one of the 27 pa­per mills with which In­dia Re­cypa has tie-up. There is no dealer or mid­dle­man in­volved.The waste col­lec­tors di­rectly sell their waste to the re­cy­cler, which is why the company can af­ford a higher profit mar­gin.

In­stead of money, cus­tomers of Raddi Ex­press can choose prod­ucts such as di­aries and notepads in ex­change for waste pa­per

San­jeev Sharma, as­sis­tant man­ager of Raddi Ex­press, says they get close to 100 calls a day. “We try to en­sure that the calls are catered to the very same day,” he adds. A pickup van col­lects be­tween 400 kg and 500 kg of waste pa­per per day.

Apart from pro­vid­ing cred­i­bil­ity to the waste col­lec­tor and mak­ing the trans­ac­tion easy for the cus­tomer, the company has in­no­va­tive ideas to pro­mote its work. One of th­ese is the barter sys­tem. In­stead of money, cus­tomers can choose prod­ucts such as A4-size pa­per, di­aries, reg­is­ters, copies and spi­ral notepads.

Flour­ish­ing business

Raddi Ex­press is not the only ser­vice to have gone on­line. Raddi Bazaar, another on­line por­tal, caters to peo­ple in Dwarka, Na­tional Cap­i­tal Re­gion, while Rad­di­wala has started in Mumbai. Kabadi King in Jaipur and The Kabadi­wala in Bhopal have been in the mar­ket for more than a year now and boast a list of ded­i­cated cus­tomers who sup­ply them waste pa­per ev­ery month.

Anurag Asati, co-founder of thek­abadi­wala.com, says that the idea struck him while he was look­ing for a rad­di­wala to sell waste. “I won­dered: what if there is a sys­tem where peo­ple could just call or reg­is­ter on­line and waste col­lec­tors would visit their house at a con­ve­nient time?” Asati has a team of 20-25 peo­ple. He says that he started his company with an in­vest­ment of 20,000

` with the help of friends. Over the years, with an in­crease in the num­ber of cus­tomers, the prof­its have in­creased. Now, the company gets be­tween 20 and 30 or­ders ev­ery day.

Liveli­hood threat

Mo­hammed Tau­fiq, a waste dealer in La­j­pat Na­gar, does not know about the on­line sys­tem that could threaten his business. When asked how he would sur­vive in the mar­ket, he said, “Jab hoga dekha jayega, abhi se soch ke kya faida? (Will see when it hap­pens, why should I start wor­ry­ing now?)”

Oth­ers have de­vised ways to take on the chal­lenge. “I have printed vis­it­ing cards with my phone num­ber and ad­dress. I can come when­ever peo­ple want me to. If they have a prob­lem with the weigh­ing scale I use, they can use their own,” says An­war, a waste col­lec­tor in La­j­pat Na­gar. “It is just that the com­puter rad­di­walas look good with their clean clothes and uni­form. This is just a craze,” he adds.

San­deep, an em­ployee of Raddi Ex­press, col­lects waste pa­per from a res­i­dence in GK I area of Delhi


thek­abadi­wala.com in Bhopal has been in the mar­ket for over a year and gets 20-30 or­ders ev­ery day

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