What’s it going to cost you to ensure your daily garbage doesn’t hurt the environment? Not much, if you call Bharani Kumar’s Pick-My-Basket service. With bins and bags for people to dump their recyclable waste and compostable waste separately, his small start-up is running their own garbage disposal service for people in the city. The best part is that they sort out stuff that can be recycled and hand it over to professionals, while the other garbage is sent to a solid waste management unit.
After quitting his banking job, Bharani came up with this design of a garbage bin that enables household to segregate garbage at the source by putting them in different coloured bags. While this is an old system by itself, the difference here is that the disposal part is handled by Bharani’s staff and not the Corporation.
After floating the idea, he then approached his surrounding residential apartments in Mogappair and offered to provide these bins with the accessories to the households on a monthly subscription. Though he started this company with his own effort in August 2012, he could officially start the service only in February 2013 with 17 patrons. Slowly, through word of mouth the message spread to other places and now, he heaves a sigh of relief that the business is offering service to more than 300 apartments.
Every alternate day his field executives reach their assigned destination after intimating the households through SMS and collect garbage bags from each house. One thing which they make sure is that the garbage bags should be closed with the plastic locks which they provide them every month. “It is very important that garbage should not be open. So we provide plastic locks along with the carry bags and insist people to close the bags and hand them over to the executives. Also the vehicles in which we carry garbage are closed unlike the garbage trucks in the city,” he said.
Initially, the plan was to dump the garbage in either Perungudi or Kodungaiyur dump yard for which he got permission from the corporation by paying them an advance. He even recalls his first visit to the Perungudi dump yard carrying totally 17 bags to dump. “When I reached there, the officer literally laughed at me for travelling all the way to perungudi to dump just 17 bags of garbage. He then told that the garbage must weigh minimum half ton to bring it directly to dump yard,” laughed Bharani.
As an alternative, he decided to have the waste processed at the Exnora Green Pammal, where there is a Vermicompost plant to convert the compostable wastes into manures and fertilisers. On an average, the total amount of waste collected from various apartments in seven places like Moggapair, Anna Nagar, Kilpauk, Porur, Velachery and Chithlapakkam accounts to 350 kg per day and 5 tonnes per month.
“We travel to Kilpauk to collect garbage from just one house but we are absolutely fine with it because we hope to reach many other people through the noble service we provide,” he said.
On his radar now are replacing the metal in trash cans with wood to make it more environmental friendly. He also plans to replace the black bags with compostable bags, which are right now twice as expensive as plastics.
Bharani’s vision is bigger and greener in all sense and he aims to spread this cause to create a garbage free Chennai city with little help from the government. “If the corporation or state could support us, we shall make Chennai a bin free city. Particularly, there should be no landfills. In five years we shall converts these dump yards to composting malls and recycling parks for the amount spent by the state for handling solid waste,” said Bharani with a ‘contented’ smile.
Interested persons can register through the website: www.pickmybasket.net or contact through email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact: 9500051681
* 50-litre metal caravan with a capacity to hold garbage of two days
* Two compartments separated by a partition – recyclable waste, compostable waste
* Separate metal lids for each compartment
* Side handles for easy portability
* Wheels attached to the base for easy mobility
* Clear list of objects (with images) to be thrown in each compartment is listed on the lid, so that it becomes easy for anybody to understand
* Green carry bag provided for recyclable waste
* Black carry bag provided for compostable waste
* A plastic tapered lock provided with for each carry bag to close the garbage before disposal