In an era where waste disposal has become a menace and landfills have become common, Binbag acts as a breath of fresh air. It works with responsible citizens and organisations to help dispose of their waste by providing a single stream service to recycle e-waste, wood, metals, plastics etc. Their aim is to create a sustainable and resource – aware society.
The idea was born out of the pain to dispose of a PC and few small items from home – and Achitra (the founder) could not find a simple, reliable option. Recyclers wouldn’t come as it was too small and giving to raddiwala wasn’t an option. And even if you wanted to, they wouldn’t come at a time convenient to you. In addition, there are very few disposal points for e-waste (lack of access). So he was left with the e-waste in his car for one month before he could travel to the city outskirts to dispose it off with a recycler.
It was then that Achitra saw the need for an efficient disposal system. He knew that the others might not have the same patience and invest time in finding a recycler. And since the government can’t be doing everything, startups need to address some pressing issues.
Achitra Borgohain is an engineering and management graduate from Gujarat University. Prior to that, he was in Assam finishing his schooling from Sainik school. He has spent 10 years working in the corporate sector working in venture capital and investment banking industries. He is accompanied by Caroline Klep, head of design at Binbag. She is a system and UX designer with 11 years of experience ranging from social media and mobile services to sustainable buildings. At Binbag, Caroline contributes a systematic, problem-centric, design approach with a keen eye on human behavior.
Binbag is a simple, subscription-based service for households and organizations. Households can subscribe to any of the plans they offer: 4 pickups in a year or monthly pickup service for all dry recyclables. Going by their philosophy to put more resources back into the world, they offer customers to repurpose their products – for instance, recently a person wanted to give away his monitor and TV and they helped the items reach to a government school. For enterprises, they work closely with them to understand their need and work with different vendors to help them achieve their objective.
Their services are targeted at domestic households who have faced the problem of irresponsible waste dumping and are looking at better options. The annual plan (monthly one pickup) is targeted at independent homes looking for regular waste disposal and are generally not served by the municipality or others. They have also received a good response from different enterprises – very large organizations to small & medium sized businesses. Their business model consists of three components (or pillars) as 3As – Awareness, Access, and Assets (recycling facilities).
In the waste value chain, awareness and access are the starting blocks – and they see their role in these two areas. They are creating an access to customers who want to recycle and at the same time, generate awareness about the issue. At the back-end, they work with authorized recyclers and organizations who ‘take care’ of waste in a responsible way.
While they focus on the first two As, they believe that effective regulation falls under the purview of the government who have adequate recycling facilities. Binbag was incubated at NS Raghavan Center For Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL), IIM Bangalore. They have also raised a pre-seed round from NSRCEL in our early days and are now bootstrapping their growth.
The USP of their business is their unrelenting focus on consumer or domestic waste problem for ‘hard-to-dispose’ recyclables like e-waste, wood, metal. This is unique to Binbag as there aren’t many who are currently addressing this problem. Secondly, unlike other scrap buying-selling companies, their goal is not to upsell it for quick bucks. They want to put more resources back into the world and less into landfills which are why they are keen to work with ethical organizations and also looking at upcycling few products on their own.
In the past 18 months in Bangalore, they have helped recycle close to 12 tons of e-waste and have served 4000 customers. Their future plans are to establish a solid presence in Bangalore before expanding to other cities Pan India. The problem of waste disposal is large scale and all metros and growing Indian cities are facing this issue. Addressing it is the need of the hour.
In addition, they are also looking at a few waste products where they could play an end-to-end role of creating the livelihood from collection to upcycling. Initiatives taken by Binbag will slowly inspire and drive other startups and the government towards the grave matter of waste disposal and sustainability.
Storified.me encourages all of our patrons to recycle instead of filling the landfills.
Get in Touch: Facebook