Waste management may be a huge problem in urban India, but these eight startups are tapping the large opportunity it holds and bettering our life.
Urban households in India generate over 6 crore tonnes of garbage every year, of which a whopping 85 percent is recyclable. Unfortunately, most of this waste ends up in landfills, polluting the soil, air and water.
India is also one of the world’s largest producers of e-waste, discarding roughly 18.5 lakh tonnes of hazardous waste every year. When mixed with domestic waste, most of the electronic waste ends up in landfills or incinerators, releasing cancer-causing carcinogens and other toxins into the environment.
While waste management is a huge problem, it is also a large opportunity in India. According to a report published by market research company NOVONOUS, India’s waste management market will be worth US$ 13.62 billion by 2025. With the Swachh Bharat Mission aiming at more public-private partnerships with startups and NGOs working in the field, the domestic industry is estimated to grow at a rapid pace.
We list down eight startups working towards the goal of a landfill-free future. Firm believers in reduce, reuse and recycle, these startups are helping citizens and organisations from different Indian cities manage their waste.
Started as an NGO in 2001, Saahas has over the past decade evolved into a for-profit business under the brand name of Saahas Zero Waste. The Bengaluru-based startup, backed by Indian Angel Networks and Upaya Social Ventures, today caters to clients from Bengaluru and Chennai. The social enterprise has diverted over 15,000 tonnes of waste from reaching landfills, and currently prevents 25 tonnes of waste from reaching dump yards on a daily basis.
Bengaluru-based Hasiru Dala caters to over 25,000 households in the city and manages more than 700 tonnes of waste every month. The non-profit provides waste management solutions to apartments, corporate offices and at events, and also helps design, set up and maintain urban gardens.
Started by Akshay Jain, a 28-year-old entrepreneur from Delhi, Namo E-waste processes up to 20 tonnes of e-waste daily. With collection centers across 12 states and union territories across the country, the startup is building strategic partnerships with leading electronic companies, addressing the pressing need for collection of e-waste.
Incorporated in 2013, Delhi-based GEM Enviro Management collects polyethylene terephthalate (PET) waste from factories, offices, hotels, and institutes, and recycles them into products such as T-shirts, caps, and bags. The products are sold under its brand, Being Responsible. With a clientele that includes Bisleri, Pepsi, Cipla, IDFC Bank, Sun Pharma and Google, the startup has processed nearly 5,000 tonnes of waste till now.
The Bengaluru-based waste-to-resource technology startup has built an end-to-end waste management system that helps communities and businesses manage their waste at source. Started in 2015, this Tech30 startup has recycled nearly 4,000 tonnes of waste. It has helped convert over 5,600 tonnes of waste into biogas and compost, and also diverted waste to piggeries.
Started in 2010, Paperman is a Chennai-based organisation that runs over 250 waste paper marts across the city to help citizens clear trash at their doorstep. Citizens also have the option to use the value generated from the trash to support one of the 12 NGOs the organisation has partnered with. The organisation has, till date, recycled over 190 tonnes of trash.
The Kolkata-based startup provides recycling solutions to residential communities, schools and corporate offices in the city. Having recycled over 50 tonnes of waste, the social enterprise currently provides recycling and waste reduction solutions to 10 schools, 20,000 societies, and many corporate giants in the city.
The social enterprise started operations in 2013, and currently caters to 1.25 lakh people across 8 cities, including Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Greater Noida, Ghaziabad, Manesar, Lucknow and Ludhiana. ExtraCarbon provides on-demand kabadiwala service to collect recyclable waste from homes and commercial areas.
This list is by no means exhaustive. These startups, alongside many more small and big organisations, are helping urban India battle the complex problem of waste management. The scale of the problem is massive. However, the stories of these organisations successfully converting the problem of waste into a billion-dollar opportunity raise hope. With more innovative solutions and growing awareness among citizens, we hope to see lesser garbage go to waste in times to come.