Managing waste has been a perpetual problem for Nepal. With Monsoons hindering access to Sisdole dumping ground, rethinking the current ways of managing waste has become urgent. Mr Nabin Maharjan, CEO Blue Waste to Value, who have been working on tackling this global problem in Nepal since 2 decades gave us insights on sustainable waste management practices and how his Social Enterprise is trying to achieve it. He is also credited with designing of composting bins that are currently used by municipalities in Kathmandu.
1. How does Blue Waste to Value work?
Blue Waste to Value collects waste from offices, hotels and residential areas and transports it to material recovery facility. Once it comes to our facility we segregate it. We have 20 categories for recyclable waste. Fresh and good food is sent for animal feeding which is standard international practice and non consumable is composted. Other non biodegradable waste including plastic, metal, rubber, clothes and broken glass are segregated and sent to recyclers. What is left is what we called rejects which is sent to landfill. We have a list of 36 categories of waste that are rejects but we have been researching and will soon find ways to recycle them as well.
2. What is the social change that BW2V is trying to bring ?
BW2V is trying to bring sustainable waste management practices in Nepal. We have a huge issue of waste management and disposal in our country. Even though many organizations, NGO’s and INGO’s are working on this issue if we don’t adapt a sustainable approach we will be facing larger challenges in near future. Most organization collect the waste and their waste workers superficially segregate them in the trucks or the collection vehicle itself, sending the bulk of the waste to the landfill. This is not a sustainable practice and needs to be changed urgently.
3. Have you seen a social change in the places where you offer waste management services?
Yes. However social change takes time. Waste management is not looked as a respectable profession. When we started out 4 years ago we were the first one’s to work as a private company and not as NGO. We went door to door convincing households to pay for waste management. People would throw waste from their roof and windows at that point of time. They would treat the waste workers very badly calling them waste. However we worked hard to professionalize them. We sensitized people on waste segregation. Our waste workers wear clean uniforms and are provided training’s. They manage waste collection work very differently. We have seen people change the attitude towards the waste collectors. They are now addressed as as Dai or bhai or by their name. It took some time but the change is happening steadily.
4. What is your team strength ?
We started with 2 employees in 2014 and now we have 35 people in our team with 15 people as core team members and others as field staff. We have separate team’s for different projects e.g one team works on hotel waste management another one works with residential communities and we have a team that is working on app based waste management system called Kabaadi at your doorstep.
5. Who are your target customers?
Waste Management is a crosscutting issue. Hence everyone is our target customer be it factories, hotels, departmental stores, institutions or a individual household, everyone is generating waste. Currently we are working with 14 different companies whom we offer complete waste management services and we manage waste for 2 residential communities including Kirtipur which has 1000 houses and Sankhu which has 5000 houses.
6. What kind of products are made from your company through recycle?
We have a team set up for recycling. We recycle paper since establishment. We took over the green circle project in 2014 where we had a paper collection system. We turned it into complete waste management. Various institutions provide us their waste paper and we recycle the paper and provide it to women’s group and they provide us a good recycled products. It is a livelihood project for a social cause where the women also have some income . We are also working on glass bottles and a plastics. We made a facility in Hyatt hotel with plastic bottles.
7. What are your thoughts about impact measurement?
We align our work with Sustainable Development Goal number 12 which is responsible consumption. We have integrated a software technology that help us tracks data of all the waste that we manage that way we understand the impact we are creating. It tracks the quantity of waste that is collected, segregated and sent to recyclers or landfill. As of now we have managed 1500 tons of waste and 45 % of it has been recycled.