Nothing in this Startups Story is Wasted
Mumbai: A growing number of angel investors are backing waste management startups in India, leading analysts to estimate the domestic industry will grow to over $1 billion by 2020.
Half a dozen startups in the space have raised funds in the past six months. Among them are Saahas Waste Management, which is backed by IAN, Angelbacked EnCashea, ewaste management startup Karma Recycling, which is backed by Infuse Ventures, and MobiTrash, which is being incubated by Excel Industries. “An average company produces up to 30 tonnes of waste every month, 60% of which is low grade and has to have a service fee that covers the process of waste conversion to composting,” said Wilma Rodrigues, founder of Saahas Waste Management. Rodrigues’ startup focuses on providing an end-to-end service, resul- ting in a zero-waste solution.
The startup carries out a detailed process for organic waste management along with collection and recycling of packaging waste and ewaste. Their clients range from corporate companies and tech parks to individual households.
“The fees are based on the quantum of waste generated. An individual employee in a tech mark produces about 250 gms of waste per day and .₹ 400 to .₹ 500 is charged per employee every year. Households, on the other hand, typically generate 1-2kg of waste per day for a family of four,” Rodrigues said.
Depending on the kind of waste produced — wet or dry — different kinds of resources are produced once the waste is processed and turned into organic compost, biogas and alternate cheap fuel sources such as oil from plastic. Startups like MobiTrash have a mobile van wastetreatment service which treats segregated organic waste from households and converts it into compost for urban rural areas in Pune. Launched over a month ago, the startup treats up to 800 kg of waste a day. After an individual signs up for a service, they can pay a fee of .₹ 199 per month for a household and their organic waste is segregated from the dry and mixed waste. A MobiTrash van comes to pick up the waste. A machine that is loaded onto the van treats the waste within 20 minutes and carries it away for composting.
“The government gives a subsidy of .₹ 1.5 per kg on every kg of compost sold. The raw compost produced after taking it to a centralised facility at the end is often used by semi-urban farms or the Pune Municipal Corporation for its gardening, and for the clients themselves who use it for landscaping,” said Saurabh Shah, team member at MobiTrash. EnCashea, which was set up by three former IIT students, has a doorstep scheduled pick-up service through a mobile app for scrap ranging from books and magazines to plastic, metal and ewaste.
Analysts estimate the domestic industry will grow to over $1b by 2020