CHENNAI: Twenty-six-year-old Mathew Jose doesn’t just recycle paper, he ensures each campaign is linked with a cause.
And when he kicked off the initiative three years ago, targeting schools to create awareness, the kids started calling him ‘Paperman’. It seemed the perfect christening for his one-man run company at the time. Bringing us up to speed on where he is today, Mathew says, “I’ve mapped out a network of over a hundred kabaddiwallahs in the city, and one call to our helpline will ensure that the person nearest your house picks up your old paper in 48 hours.”
Apart from numerous paper drives conducted in schools across the city — championed by the motivation to raise funds for the girl child — he works in association with 200 schools across South India for a bi-monthly collection of old newspapers, notebooks and textbooks. And his team has grown to ten employees.
Ask him what he thinks about PM Narendra Modi’s recent announcement of fast tracking environment projects, and he is pensive for a moment. “I’m sure this will do good, but how much it will help the common man I don’t know.” Mathew quickly adds, “I think what will really help (reduce garbage) is if the government makes companies that are heavy on manufacturing responsible for recycling it.” That way, he explains, “We can ensure that the problem is solved at its source.”
As for what’s next for Paperman, he tells us, “We kicked off a pilot project on e-waste collection recently.” This means everything from batteries to CDs and old cassette tapes and old computer parts. “The plan is to ready the collection model in a couple of months and then we can launch this full swing,” he says with a smile.