1 year ago
Three recycling musketeers
KATHMANDU: When three friends—Kushal Harjani, Raghavendra Mahto and Runit Saria—came together, a new idea for waste management came into life in the form of Doko Recyclers.
Though they studied in three different countries, their observations were alike. The trio saw how even with larger waste production, people abroad were accustomed to a system where waste segregation was practiced in an individual level.
For about a year, the trio worked on the concept of Doko Recyclers to bring the idea out in market. Though they launched their website on June 5, the official launch is due on July 15.
The business model, according to the trio, is an adaption of similar models that are already in use in India and other South Asian countries, with additional Nepali touch. The name itself is inspired by dokos (bamboo baskets used in rural Nepal) and the equipment Doko Recyclers use are also made of bamboo and other reusable items.
In conversation with Kushal and Raghavendra, the duo said they were inspired to localize the idea after they saw Nepalis’ ignorance toward waste management.
“Though the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) Office has introduced various ideas to manage waste, the ideas have fallen flat. The government has also been looking for sustainable solutions with attempts to privatize the waste management system. However, it still lacks a proper policy to acknowledge companies like ours,” Kushal shared.
“To come up with an idea is one thing, but to sustain for a long time is not easy. People have a tendency to choose plastic plates, cups, cutleries over chinaware and dump them haphazardly; because it’s convenient for them. Their mindset needs to change to bring about a cleaner environment,” remarked Raghavendra.
“Over the period, people have questioned the sustainability of our idea. But we have developed a model to perform for a longer period of time, and we hope to make a difference,” the duo added.
Doko Recyclers also has its own Materials Recovery Facility (MRF), in Sanothimi, where they segregate the dry waste they’ve collected and separately package paper, plastics and metals to sell them directly to their respective factories. But they don’t stop just there, Doko Recyclers even collects e-waste (electronics/gadgets/wires) for recycle.
At the moment, Doko Recyclers is targeting organizations/institutions as their customers to start collecting materials on a larger scale. “The reach is wider, and we can also train people in groups to not mix their organics or kitchen waste with the recyclables. This will help people adapt to the waste management system within their work setting, where they spend more time.”
Not only organizations, interested individuals can also join hands with Doko Recyclers. “One can book a time on our website or call to schedule a time, and our staff will pick up the materials in our vehicles,” Raghavendra said, adding, “Anyone that has tied-up with Doko Recyclers will be charged on a regular basis for the services, but they will also get a fair price for the waste they sell. Or they can also choose to donate their waste. We also make sure they put proper dustbins for separate type of waste.”
Doko Recyclers believe in giving its customers transparency on where and how their waste is being recycled. Doko Recyclers is also promoting extensive producers’ responsibility, which is focused on making manufactures/importers responsible for their products’ disposal in a safer way.
Kushal said, “Learning about waste is rather simple. It’s about knowing what to throw and where. People have been donating/selling their waste, but they are limited to paper and bottles. Many are still unaware that they can also recycle ATM slips and bills.”
In the future, Doko Recyclers aims to collaborate with other similar organizations/people working in favor of waste management. The duo stated that they might even operate pilot programs such as door-to-door campaigns to approach households to recycle.