Citizengage converts waste to a valuable resource
A few weeks ago, Freedom Park was lit up with energy created from a biogas plant which was fed waste from restaurants around Bengaluru. The folks behind this feat were Citizengage, an end-to-end waste management start-up, which is making a positive change in terms of the garbage situation in the city.
It’s no secret that Bengaluru has a garbage problem. The organisation collects segregated waste from restaurants and apartment complexes and distributes it to biogas plants and recycling centres. “We noticed that there was a problem at both ends,” says Ashish Malayil, co-founder, explaining, “There were people who were ready to segregate their garbage and dispose it in a responsible manner and then there were biogas plants and recyclers who were in need of high quality material. There was just a disconnect between these two and no one to bring them together on a single platform.”
Malayil and Pronita Saxena, founder and CEO, realised that citizens and businesses are willing to make changes in the situation but didn’t know how and couldn’t find a working system.
They have teamed up with several restaurants like Red Fork, Mother Cluckers, The Humming Tree, Hard Rock Cafe, blueFrog, Permit Room and chains like Smokehouse Deli, Social, and others spread across the city’s commercial hubs, who wanted to be more sustainable with their waste disposal.
With Citizengage, the collector comes in every day, can be tracked online, and users can even find out exactly where their waste is ending up. Their in-house trainers go into each restaurant and explain the importance of waste segregation to the chefs, busboys and waiters.
They have diverted over 1,500 tonnes of waste in the city so far and have also lit up the Domlur BDA park with the energy created. Bengaluru is actually one of the few cities in the country with very progressive segregation laws, which makes their work easier.
Delhi and Mumbai are yet to catch up, but the Citizengage team is optimistic about creating policies that enable them to set up shop there too. They believe responsible citizens and businesses are the crux of the system and they are eager to become a tool for them to control what happens to their waste.
“The challenges are many,” adds Malayil. They do not want to take away anyone’s livelihood, but just streamline the process. “I do not wish to comment on the opposition we have faced but our main aim is to create a platform that generates awareness among the public on how garbage is actually a huge resource and offers them a system to take control of the conversion,” he concludes.
— Anagha M