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Making E- waste disposal fun
December 17, 2014� By Team ICMYC
Achitra Borgohain is quite an aberration. With an engineering and management qualification, he spent 10 years in the corporate world of venture capital and consulting. Yet the urge to make a discernible impact in society prompted him to leave the cushy job and start a social enterprise – BinBag, which makes e-waste disposal hassle free and, surprisingly fun.
By incentivizing people for being responsible through reward and recognition, BinBag employs the concept of gamification. In this case, it’s gamification for good. And the response has been overwhelming. Today, within one and half month of starting operations, BinBag works with apartments, corporate and institutions helping them dispose their e-waste responsibly.
Estimates say Bangalore currently generates about 40,000 tonnes of e-waste, most of which finds its way to the informal sector and finally ends up in landfills. “You can buy electronics with a click of a button and the e-commerce shop will happily deliver it to your doorsteps. But why is it so difficult when you have to dispose the electronics? People tend to hoard electronic devices. Often, there is usually an emotional connect with these devices, like the first cell phone, or a computer gifted by your parents. And many times, consumers are usually ignorant when time comes for disposing of the waste,” he points out. Achitra added that in a recent corporate drive, more than 90% of the people said they were unaware of options for safe disposal of e-waste.To counter this problem, Achitra started BinBag. “BinBag uses a mix of awareness, rewards and impact metrics to help create a more sustainable future. Through online engagement and incentives program, we bring together people, businesses and communities to achieve real world impact,” he explains.One of the ways to increase awareness and make it fun and interesting, BinBag partners with individuals for events; it could a birthday or a social cause. “In these events, we ask guests to bring their e waste and exchange it for gifts and coupons at the BinBag counter. While we don’t generate volume in such events, it raises the awareness level. We recently did such event with an orphanage and the response was overwhelming,” he adds.
BinBag is currently being incubated at IIM Bangalore’s N.S. Raghavan Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL), which is guiding and mentoring this young start-up. It recently won the idea stage award at Unconvention|L, organized by Villgro, one of the leading social incubators based out of Chennai. Currently focusing on Bangalore, it plans to expand to various other cities in the near future. “We are innovating on the business model side and making the disposal process completely frictionless.
If you can buy electronics with one click, you should be able to dispose it with one click,” Borgohain concludes.
You may never look at e-waste disposal the same way again.For more information contact them on firstname.lastname@example.org.