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How Residents of Kolkata Are Keeping Their City Clean and Getting Paid for It Too!

Partnering with more than 20 housing societies, 10 schools, and corporate organisations since its inception in 2016, Vital Waste has helped recycle 50 tonnes of waste.

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One of the major issues that every city in India faces is the exponential rise of waste. Leaving aside the growing piles of waste, it is the way the entire process of garbage disposal that often becomes more worrisome.

Massive volumes of trash making its way into landfills is not only an eyesore, but downright hazardous to the environment. Waste materials like aluminium cans, glass/pet containers, paper and cardboard end up in these disposal sites that could have been recycled many times, if only one could dispose these to recycling plants based upon their segregation.

In Kolkata, a startup named Vital Waste is helping locals with recycling solutions and pays customers for their waste too.

Amidst a collection drive at a housing society.

Tushar Himatsinghka and Prashanth Bothra are the masterminds behind the venture, who decided to set up the platform in order to link housing societies, corporate offices and schools with various recycling enterprises.

“We literally buy the waste from the people and sell it to the recycling units. For an urban dweller, it couldn’t have gotten any better where not only is he or she getting rid of their garbage but being paid for the same too,” Tushar says.


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Classmates at the London School of Commerce, the duo left their corporate jobs to launch an initiative that would not just recycle waste but also invoke a sense of consciousness among people towards environment conservation.

Tushar says, “People are actually aware about the process of recycling. But the part involving segregation and reaching out to different recycling agents, that is something very time consuming for people living in cities, who’d rather dump away everything together.”

Though trash was being generated in large quantities, Prashanth realised that it wasn’t being segregated by people.

Unsuitable for recycling, the unsegregated trash simply ended up in landfills.

Segregation and packaging of trash.

“Tonnes of newspapers were literally going down the drain. If these could have been directed to recycling units instead of landfills or dump yards, we could actually help prevent so many destructive activities that are damaging our environment,” Tushar says.

Easier said than done, it took them substantial time and effort to approach and convince residential societies and corporate offices with their method to segregation and recycling.


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Plus, trash like aluminum cans or paper waste  could be regularly collected from individuals. “That’s why our focus was more towards organisations and institutions that will be able to churn out waste in bulk and be collected between periodic intervals,” Tushar adds.

Based on the convenience of both vendors and customers, the team organises collection drives after conferring with concerned authorities. The waste is collected by Vital Waste’s trash trucks and taken to be supplied to various recycling dealers. The collection is usually done on a monthly basis, so that sufficient waste materials gather in the bins.

The rising concern towards adopting an eco-friendly lifestyle has been a major push towards the conception of Vital Waste.

Tushar and Prashanth with students of Loreto.

Partnering with more than 20 housing societies, 10 schools, and corporate organisations such as Spencer’s Retail, Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, Iron Mountain and HDFC since its inception in 2016, the organisation has already helped recycle 50 tons of waste.

Apart from that, they organise awareness drives in schools to educate younger generations about the significance of recycling in context of environment conservation. “We had recently conducted a recycling competition in Loreto School, from where we bought the trash. The school utilised the money to equip an underprivileged school based in a remote village in West Bengal,” Tushar adds.

With a ‘clean’ aspiration to help conserve the environment, we hope more people partner up with Vital Waste to manage their waste and opt for eco-friendly measures.

To get in touch with Vital Waste, click here.

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Written by Lekshmi Priya S

Shuttling between existentialist views and Grey's Anatomy, Lekshmi has an insanely disturbing habit of binge reading. An ardent lover of animals and plants, she also specializes in cracking terribly sad jokes.