Noth­ing in this Star­tups Story is Wasted

The Economic Times - - Disruption: - Shash­wati.Shankar @times­group.com

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

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