Recycle and reuse is the mantra of Hemanth Kumar and Prabhu Kallesh, who have come up with a successful social enterprise to dispose of electronic waste (e-waste).
Olopie, an authorised ewaste collector run by the duo, aims to create a formal trading platform that can effectively dispose of scrap and provide the seller with the true value of the material. Hemanth and Prabhu, who graduated from Seshadripuram College in 2014, are in the forefront of spreading awareness about the hazards and possibility of recycling and reuse.
Formerly known as Scrapbuzz, the team has recycled over 30 tonnes of electronic waste. As part of their initial research, they visited a landfill in Bengaluru and found plastic, electronic parts and other hazardous waste, 60 percent of which was recyclable.“Most people throw away their old phones, laptops and other electronic items. They are unaware of both the recycling possibilities and the monetary value of the old product,“ they say.
An important part of their mission is the education of the public on the correct method of recycling. This is being provided through social awareness programmes, a few of which are specially targeted at children.
If you’re interested in selling scrap, all you need to do is visit the website and enter your location and the type of scrap you wish to dispose of.the team will send a pick-up truck to the location. After evaluating the item, Olopie staff will pay cash. The scrap will then be segregated and sold to secondary recyclers.You can also send a picture of the item to the team’s WhatsApp account or upload it on their website.
Deepak Kumar, Adarsh B, Dhananajaya M, Darshan HB and Raghavendra V, all professionals who have quit their jobs, are now part of this initiative. The team has approached 305 apartment complexes and collected trash from individual houses. Over the past few months, they have managed to collect 16,960 kg of newspapers, 5,200 kg of books, 2,040 kg of cartons, 3,400 kg of plastic, 4,240 kg of iron, 240 kg of steel, 160 kg of aluminium and 2,280 kg of electronic goods.
“Unlike most other technology firms coming up, we are a logistics firm with operations on the ground,“ says Dhananjaya.
According to Darshan, apartment complexes general ate a lot of waste collectively and focussing on them is one way of dealing with the issue.
The team is now focusing on dry waste producers like small shopkeepers, organised retailers, individual households and RWAs.
“Once people know that they will get money for it, they will be motivated to actually collect dry waste, segregate it and dispose of it in a proper and scientific manner,“ says Prabhu.
Today, the team assists over 40 companies and 1,500 households. They have also tied up with major organisations and institutions as their official recycling partners.