Waste-Bin was initiated in 2017, with a plan of building a bridge between restaurants that produce waste and recycle companies that turn these wastes into energy. It is a B2B platform provided by a mobile application that connects restaurants and recycling companies for buying and selling the wastes, which are imported from eateries to recycling plants without being deposited in landfills.
Three students of BUET, Jawwad Shadman Siddique, Md Fahim Azraf Khan and Saidis Salekin Aninda came up with the concept of changing the destination of the wastes from landfill sites to the waste recycling factories. The trio participated in an idea competition arranged by Shell Ideas 360, in 2017. “Through countless nights of brainstorming and perseverance, our idea made it into the top 70 teams in the world out of more than 3000 participants,” said Jawwad, who also participated as an SDG 12 talent at the UNLEASH Innovation Lab, in China.
Team Waste-Bin were one of the ten champions in the Student to Startup competition in 2019, sponsored by the ICT Ministry of Bangladesh. “We have been rewarded with BDT 10 lakh for our project and we are working with this fund,” said Fahim. They have also made it as the Champions of the regional round of TECHFEST-2018 and secured the Runners up position in the Ideate segment of Techfest IIT Bombay, in 2018, in India.
Organic wastes, animal bones, and plastics are the major waste products, produced in huge amounts by restaurants. These wastes could be used for fertiliser production, recycling plastics, and biogas plants. The restaurants separate these wastes and give out information about the amount of waste available to them from their produced food. This adds substantial monetary value to the economy and protects the environment.
The software notifies different recycling industries regarding the available waste. The wastes are then collected by factories and plants for recycling and producing energy. This not only benefits the general citizens and profits the restaurants, factories, and plants but also conserves the environment and makes proper use of waste. “We were approached by several venture capitalists and finally had a revelation about how Waste-Bin can become more than just an idea and maybe a start-up at the very least,” said Saidis.
While working in this field, the team members also shared the obstacles they had faced. “It was not so easy to motivate the restaurant owners to take a stand against pollution. Getting access to our potential clients was difficult,” said Fahim. Establishing that food waste is a viable market product was a serious challenge for the team. “Later on, we realised that like plastic waste, food waste collection, transportation and partial recycling were done under unions and syndicates,” said Jawwad. “However, we are hopeful about our efforts in changing the way we handle waste for a better environment.” According to the team, commercial waste, industrial waste, food waste, plastic, glass, paper as well as hazardous waste such as paint, batteries and cleaning solvent, all end up at the landfills.The restaurant owners can earn profits from the wastes through Waste-Bin.
DNCC and DSCC handles waste by dumping them and acquiring more land in this process. Liquid waste from municipalities and industries are being treated at Pagla and Dasherkandi (under construction) treatment plants. However, solid waste often goes unnoticed. Team Waste-Bin provides the solution of reusing solid organic wastes as much as possible and does not encourage waste to remain stagnant in an open environment. They hope to stop land degradation and contribute to the national economy and energy industry through waste recycling as well.