Are you familiar with the desperate feeling of missing the local kabadiwala’s ritualistic weekend rounds? Remember that time when you almost got hit by a car, trying to chase the refuse collector, so you can finally get rid of the dozen odd newspapers, empty beer bottles, and some more riff-raff? Well, you can now say goodbye to all those unpleasant times with a new app based recycling service called Pom Pom.
Jokes aside, India has a serious problem of waste management, and recycling is not really a priority for individuals, as well as the government. To put things in perspective, Indians have Rs. 78,300 crores worth of unused junk just lying around in their houses. The country also infamously produces 18.5 lakh tonnes of e-waste per year! These numbers are a startling realisation of our inefficiency as a nation to handle waste. Indians, by nature, are hoarders, and our only effort towards ridding our houses of scrap is to depend on the hollering Kabadiwalas/Radiwalas, which by the way, are increasingly becoming a rare sight. This is where technology, as always, has room to step in and make amends.
Deepak Sethi, Co-Founder of Pom Pom tells us, “Our experience in handling Delhi Waste made us realise how much recyclable material is generated in Delhi. A lot of this material gets contaminated when mixed with wet waste and hence does not get recycled properly. We saw a huge potential in waste. There are so many recyclable items that corporates, households, and other waste generators simply throw away, and these end up choking a landfill. This waste has the potential to be “Raw Material” instead for a factory owner and we want all waste generators to get into the habit of storing their waste for recycling.”
So what can Pom Pom do for you? For starters, you can book a Pom Pom scrap collection agent straight from the service’s iOS or Android app. The startup picks up any amount of scrap, and can even make bulk pick-ups, on special request. What’s great about the service is that all the prices for the various types of recyclables you may wish to sell, are listed clearly on the app, ensuring transparency, sans the hassle of haggling. As far as waste categories are concerned, Pom Pom buys anything from old newspapers, to cardboards, e-waste, plastics, glass, metal, tins, and more.
“Pom Pom is happy to buy pretty much any dry recyclable items. Also, we are authorized collectors of Electronic Waste. In addition, we use digital weighing scales to provide right value for the recyclables, ensuring the highest level of accuracy. We have a Quick payment system. We do Recycling Workshops and Segregation Training. We want to bring about a real change in the mindset of people towards waste and that is what we are focusing on,” says Sethi.
So, what happens to this waste once it’s collected? Sethi tells us, “Pom Pom has its own Collection/Sorting Facility. Once we buy the segregated waste from our customers, it goes through another round of segregation. After this it is packed and baled and transported to recyclers as their raw material. We have tied up with factories for recycling, where we know the waste will be handled correctly and given a new life.”
Pom Pom has managed to recycle 1,00,000 Kg of waste till now, and is still making its way into people’s smartphones, and their homes. For starters, the service is only available in South Delhi and Noida currently. Sethi tells us that most pickups are booked through their call centers, while the app has seen only 3000 installs till now. With about 100 orders per day, the startup plans to expand its serviceable areas to other parts of Delhi and Gurugram. Sethi claims, “We see a strong upward growth in the next few years. As standards of living rise, and incomes increase, waste generation will only go up and need for recycling and better waste management will only increase.”
Check out Pom Pom and let us know what you think of the service. Until then, Keep it with Digit to learn more about such innovative tech startups.