India has been trying to tackle the problem of waste management, for a long time. The major problems affecting waste management are unscientific treatment, improper collection of waste, and ethical problems.
A Bangalore woman Nivedha R.M. has come up with the solution for waste management. She is a founder of TrashCon, a company that manufactures Municipal Solid Waste Semi-Automatic Segregators.
How did the journey start?
It was all started when she was in her third year of chemical engineering at Bengaluru’s R V College of Engineering. She and her group of friends made headlines in a local magazine by cleaning a lane near her college that had been piled with waste for months. But sadly, after a few days, the place was back into the same condition as before.
When complained to The Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), they explained there is no use of cleaning the area when people do not segregate their waste in the first place.
Segregation plays a vital role in waste management. When we segregate waste, there is a reduction of waste that gets landfilled and occupies space, air and water pollution rates are considerably lowered.
“India generates 1.7 lakh tonnes of waste per day, of which 95 percent is unsegregated. The state of landfills in Delhi is no news, but even Bengaluru is running out of space for its waste. I realized that no technology could handle mixed waste to this degree. I wondered what a middle-class student like me could do,” she says.
So she and her team have invented TrashBot, a semi-automatic waste segregator machines which separate any kind of mixed waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste within minutes. The design also won several awards and recognition at state and national levels.
TrashBot is a compact machine. There’s a slot for the operator to drop in mixed waste, which is then shredded. The shredder has been specially designed to shred any material. That shredded waste is then separated according to density. The mechanics of the machine are not as simple as they sound because it is challenging to separate bio and non-bio products.
It is an entirely mechanical-driven system, supported by IOT for troubleshooting and maintenance.
Nivedha, CEO of TrashCon says, “This machine is not only idiot-proof but segregates waste to more than 90 percent efficiency at any given time. Even if you put any mixed waste into it, the Trashbot will segregate and recycle it within minutes.”
And now they are working towards making a more efficient TrashBot 2. The waste segregator is currently available in four capacities—500 kg, two tonnes, five tonnes, and ten tonnes.
What is the next step after segregation?
After segregation, the biodegradable waste can be used to generate biogas or produce organic compost/manure. While the non-biodegradable waste is used to make recycled boards which can be transformed into tables, chairs, roofing tiles, partition walls, among other things.
When asked about the cost, she replied, “Trashbot starts at Rs 9 lakh and the price varies on capacities. Societies can process their waste and connect it to a biogas plant or composting unit. The gas can be used for cooking purposes, while compost in the gardens. Plus, they can sell the non-biodegradable waste to us and generate revenue too.”