“Don’t waste, don’t want” is certainly a saying to live by. But when we face several challenges in our busy lives, finding worthwhile ways to deal with our waste gets pushed to the bottom of our to-do list.
That’s where Kabadiwala, a technology platform for scrap management, hopes to help. Founded in 2014, Bhopal-based Kabadiwala helps individuals and organizations recycle waste by motivating them with monetary benefits and appealing to a greater sense of community spirit.
Explaining how it works, Anurag Asati, co-founder of The Kabadiwala, says: “Anyone can come to our platform and find out what they can sell and at what price. You can then arrange for collection at your convenience and we will send the waste for recycling.”
Interestingly, the platform helps not only with everyday household items. Kabadiwala can even help get rid of mattresses that often end up in landfills due to lack of options.
Talking about the mattress recycling initiative, Anurag says, “Currently, when you have a mattress, you don’t know what to do with it. You throw it in a city vehicle, which then ends up in a landfill. We at The Kabadiwala have diverted 1,700 mattresses from landfills, and if you have an old mattress to throw away, we can help you do it responsibly and you’ll even get responsible contribution vouchers.”
He adds that regardless of what waste is sold to Kabadiwala, sellers are informed about how many trees have been saved through their input, how much material has been diverted from landfills, etc.
The rig, which moved 1,80,000 kg of material from landfills and saved around 25,000 trees, is now present in five cities, including Bhopal, Indore, Nagpur, Raipur and Lucknow. However, after being funded with $2 million by Roots Ventures in November 2022, it expects to be in 25-30 cities by next year, including Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. Kabadiwala also works closely with over 500 brands to get rid of their recyclables.
Anurag says: “We help organizations dispose of waste in accordance with the requirements of the Pollution Control Board. Around 500 brands work with us on plastics take-back programmes, EPR and waste disposal mechanisms. It’s not just about collecting scrap metal.”
Next year, Kabadiwala hopes to empower 5,000 ragpickers by working directly with them, and 20,000 garbage collectors indirectly, in an attempt to create more green jobs.