Making money from scrap material is an unwritten rule that almost every Indian family follows. We have all inherited the hamster-like quality of storing things like bottles, cardboards, newspapers, damaged household appliances and electrical parts to sell to the kabadiwala (scrap dealer) at the end of the month.
Confused about how to manage waste? Start with segregation at home. Check out this colourful segregation stand here.
Every once in a while, a kabadiwala will be spotted in every neighbourhood with his cart or rickshaw screaming words like ‘kabadiwala’, ‘kachrawala’ or ‘bhangarwala’ as a call to all the families to part ways with their accumulated “wealth”.
Giving a modern spin to this traditional custom, three brothers from Hyderabad have started ‘Crapbin’.
The startup, founded by Nisar Ahmed and co-founded by his brothers Muquayyar Ahmed and Zuber Quresh, was launched in November 2018. It offers doorstep waste-collection service to households, communities and industries.
The startup allows you to book the services online for dry and recyclable waste like books, newspaper, paper, magazines, cardboard, glass bottles, soft plastic, plastic, steel, iron, aluminum, copper, tin, brass and electronic items.
How Does It Work?
All one has to do is either book a service on their website or give a call on 7799996096 to book a slot on any day of the week. Once the free pick up request is accepted, the company will assign an executive to the customers based on the location.
The staff will then visit the house, weigh the scrap using an electronic weighing machine and pay in cash based on the existing market rates. The prices per kilo are regularly updated on the website here.
Speaking to TBI, Jyotsna Bhave who availed Crapbin’s services says:
After we renovated our house, there was a lot of junk like wires, old furniture, wood. I ran around for days to find a scrap dealer who would visit the house and take it. Because it was a lot, all of them refused. I came across Crapbin in late December and requested for a pick up. Rs 1,000 worth of waste was finally out of my house. I was extremely impressed with the service.
The customer can also subscribe to a monthly arrangement, where the executive will schedule a particular day every month for the pick up.
All the collected scrap is taken to the company’s waste yard where the staff segregates it. The company has tied up with the local waste management firms who visit the yard and take the junk for recycling purposes.
How A Traditional Ritual Gave Birth to A Startup
Just a couple of months before Crapbin was launched, Zuber’s mother asked him to sell the household scrap to a local scrap dealer but he could not find one.
Recalling that time, Zuber, a 26-year-old mechanical engineering graduate, tells The Better India (TBI):
While one scrapdealer refused to take e-waste, another one dealt with only paper waste like newspapers, books and magazines. It took me almost an entire week and several visits to dispose off all the junk.
Despite living in the same house and locality since childhood, Zuber had very little idea about the efforts his mother or other family members took to sell scrap. This incident made Zuber look for a more feasible option and that is when the idea of an online scrap portal struck.
He expressed his idea to his brothers Muquayyar (32) and Nisar (29) and the bootstrapped startup came into existence.
For the trio, environment was another motivation for venturing into this field.
People find it difficult to go to local kabadiwala to dispose off their scrap and ultimately it will end up in dump yards, rivers and landfills, so we wanted to give them last stage convenience for disposing off their dry waste easily. Crapbin started with a vision to reduce waste in landfills by creating a circular economy, says Muquayyar, an Electronic Engineer.
Adding more to Muquayyar’s line of thought, Nasir, a Civil Engineer, says, “With India’s growing population, the country faces massive waste management challenges due to inefficient waste disposal infrastructure and an increasing rate of dry waste generation every year. We aim to provide some relief to this problem.”
Since launching a startup is always a risk that comes with numerous uncertainties, the family refused to even entertain the idea in the beginning.
We had a hard time convincing our parents to trust the company’s vision. For them, it was nothing more than just another scrap dealer organisation. In their words, it was their sons picking up people’s waste. We explained in detail about the recycling process and the kind of environmental impact it will create and yet a certain amount of skepticism remained, says Muquayyar.
Fortunately, the objection did not stop the brothers to walk on the unexplored path.
Bringing A Difference
The brothers used social media platforms and canopy tents to spread the word about their startup and within a period of nine months, Crapbin has a 1,700-strong customer base and has recycled 470 tonnes of dry waste. With the amount of paper the startup has recycled since its inception, the website claims to have saved 45,000 trees and 7,45,000 litres of water so far.
In terms of social impact, the company generated employment for 20 people who are Senior Secondary pass-outs and a part of Crapbin’s profits is allocated to fund the education of underprivileged kids.
While the startup is running effectively since its inception, the biggest challenge it faces is meeting the expenses, “The main challenge is the quantity of scrap, as our target is individual customers who generally have very less quantity. For that we have to manage all the expenses including transportation cost and paying the value of the scrap to the customer,” says Zuber.
The brothers now hope to scale up their operations by expanding to Pune next followed by other cities. Currently they are doing research and conducting a few pilot projects to recycle wet waste.
With startups like Crapbin coming forward and taking up the responsibility of managing garbage, the possibility of curbing India’s mounting garbage crisis looks good.
Don’t live in Hyderabad and want a pick up service for your scrap? Check out these five organisations here.
You can reach out to Crapbin here.
(Edited by Saiqua Sultan)