"Instead of allowing scrap waste to land up in a landfill, we thought why not start a business around it," say the five engineering graduates who call themselves the 'trashmen' of #Chennai! #CleanIndia
Developed by Trashman Green Technology, a Chennai-based startup, the Trashman app, has garnered over 5000 downloads and 1500 customers since July, and is helping residents responsibly dispose of their garbage.
Started by Santharam Sathyamoorthy and Udhaya Kumar—two mechanical engineering graduates—the offline scrap waste collection service turned into a full-fledged GST-registered MSME with a user-friendly app when three other college mates Vedha Vijay, Shiju Kingsly and Diwaker Perumal joined the team.
These biodegradable carry bags are made from vegetable starch and other natural additives, and completely biodegrade in 3-4 months!
Users of the app can choose the time and place for scrap pick up. The location is automatically detected, and all they need to do is enter the flat or door number, and one of Trashman’s executives will come to collect the scrap and pay up according to its type and weight.
“The app is extremely user-friendly. As soon as you log in, it automatically picks up your home address. Once you click on your choice of scrap, you’re asked your door number, and an executive will be assigned to you to collect the trash,” says Vedha Vijay, speaking to The Better India.
At present, the service extends to Tambaram, Hastinapuram, Chromepet, Mudichur, Selaiyur, Perungalathur, Alapakkam Sanatorium, Perumbakkam areas. “We will soon expand to Old Mahabalipuram Road (OMR) and Kelambakkam, and the eventual aim to extend this service all over Chennai,” he adds.
Everything from plastic waste, cardboard boxes, kitchen utensils, electric home appliances to batteries is collected by the team to ensure that none of these materials ends up in a landfill.
The going rate for each category of scrap is clearly mentioned in the app and the collection executives pay users accordingly. Aside from some money, users also receive a sapling as a reward for adopting responsible waste management practices.
“All category of recyclable dry waste is collected with cash payment to the customer for example, paper waste, we pay Rs 8 per kg. For cardboard, it is Rs 4 per kg, Once the scrap waste is collected, it is taken down to a warehouse in Irumbuliyur, where it is appropriately segregated based on the category of the trash and it is sold to the recycling traders in Kundrathur and Thirumudivakkam,” says Udhaya, speaking to the Times of India.
From there, the waste is sent to different recycling traders in the city.
Why have these engineering students targeted waste collection at home?
According to the folks at Trashman, more than 60% of the waste generated in the city comes from households. This figure comes from a survey they conducted before launching the app.
“Instead of allowing it to land up in a landfill, we thought why not start a business around it and ensure that this doesn’t happen by collecting it from their doorstep and help it along the recycling process,” says Vijay to The Better India.
“Right now, we have not tied up with any entity or government body. The future plan is to start a biogas plant that can convert organic waste into electrical energy. We wish to make Chennai a waste-free city,” says Diwaker.
(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)