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IIT-Kharagpur students turn garbage collectors!

Source: PTI
March 08, 2016 16:27 IST
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Started in 2014, they are selling recyclable garbage worth Rs 20,000 every month on an average

Selling recyclable garbage in Kharagpur town is now as easy as ordering a pizza over phone, thanks to a social entrepreneurial initiative of a group of IITians.

A group of IIT-Kharagpur students are successfully running a 'Kabaadi on Call' service which allows people living inside and outside the campus to call at a given number and fix up an appointment for a garbage collecting truck.

Phd student Abhimanyu Kar and his friends have formed a social entrepreneurial venture called 'GainWaste' which offers a comprehensive solid waste management and recycling services.

"We have hired labourers to collect recyclable waste from residential quarters. They go with a digital weighing machine and a rate card for different types of waste," the mechanical engineering student told PTI.

They collect all kinds of dry waste from papers to bottles and plastic and then resell it to a wholesaler at a nominal profit.

Started in 2014, they are selling recyclable garbage worth Rs 20,000 every month on an average.

"Till now most of such waste used to land in Gopali landfill at the edge of our campus. It created pollution and there were problems in segregating organic and recyclable waste. Now things are improving," Kar, who founded the company with two other students, said.

A lot of professors have become the customers of this students-led initiative.

Civil engineering department's professor Sudha Goel used to depend on the regular garbage collector, who would come calling on a bicycle infrequently.

"But now I call them and they come at a time which is convenient to me. They take away everything which is recyclable and not just newspapers. I also get better rates," Goel said.

'GainWaste' is planning to gradually scale up the service by allowing customers to book their garbage sale with the help of a simple mobile app.

Besides the recyclable waste, they also collect organic waste from the dustbins in the campus to turn it into rich manure.

"We have 40 beds of vermicompost in Gopali which produces 8 tons of manure in a month. We sell it directly in the market," Kar, who took a fascination to recycling from childhood, said.

The idea began in 2014 when they won a students' project from a Bangalore institute and got a seed grant of Rs 3 lakh to start their work.

They are expecting support in the next stages from an environmental project being funded by the Innovation Challenge Grant, a research initiative under the Vision 2020 program of IIT-Kharagpur.

"Eco-friendly measures are the only way out to the proper maintenance of the hygiene, wellness and beauty of university campuses. These initiatives are not a sudden new addendum but have always been part of the functioning of the campus of IIT Kharagpur," said Anir Dhar of civil engineering department.

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