“I was recently shifting from one residential society to another. And one fine Sunday I found myself facing this huge problem of how to dispose of the recyclable items that were left behind after I finished packing. I had about three months of waste products, including 10 kg of newspapers and plastic items,” says Sourav Patwari, one of the co-founders of TIGO (Trust in Green Only). It is a Pune-based organization that offers on-demand doorstep collection facilities for recyclable waste. Unable to reach out to any scrap collector immediately, Sourav had to take all the waste to the market and sell to a scrap dealer. It was there that he met a woman and asked her if she would be interested in availing a waste collection service if it is provided at her doorstep. “She immediately started asking me about what all things I take. It began from there, once I understood that there is a need for something like this and people are looking for a solution.” After conducting a survey in his own society and other households outside, Sourav started TIGO with three of his friends in January this year.
The first thing that a customer has to do to avail TIGO’s services is go to their website and fill out a registration form stating their address, email ID and the day on which they want a pickup.
For every two-hour slot, the TIGO team can serve four people. The TIGO van goes to the customer’s doorstep and the waste is collected. It is then segregated into different types like paper, plastic, metal, e-waste, clothes, etc., in a godown in Pune. The company has tied up with organizations and individuals who have recycling factories around Pune and in other parts of Maharashtra.
For example, the paper waste goes to a recycling factory located in Talegaon and plastic materials are sent to a factory in Palghar.
The team uses different ways to incentivise customers. The amount equivalent to the weight of collected waste is given to them in the form of cash, cheque, or is credited into the users’ Paytm wallets. Alternatively, users can choose to have the amount redirected to an NGO. For this, TIGO has partnered with Door Step School, an organisation that works for the educating underprivileged children. Donors also receive receipts from the NGO for the sake of transparency.
So far, TIGO has over 1,000 customers and a team of 10 people.
Waste collectors use an app where they can access information about the line-up of the customers for each day. The app also has a feature that helps them calculate the worth of the collected waste.
After finishing his engineering course, Sourav started working in a digital marketing start up. He is currently juggling between both these jobs because the co-founders of TIGO are funding the business themselves for now. They are planning to expand to more housing societies in Pune and to raise funds too.