Some 8 years ago, a woman who grew up in Bangalore figured out that the city was rapidly heading towards a major garbage crisis and there should be something she could do about it. Soon, Poonam Bir Kasturi, who lived in the garden city, decided to put her industrial design skills to test and build a simple composting solution for households.
Today, customers who have bought composting solutions from her company Daily Dump keep around 12,500 kilos of waste out of landfills every day. Daily Dump has about 15,000 customers, mostly in Bangalore, the city which generates over 6000 tonnes of waste daily.
“It may not look like a big deal but what we’ve established is that it is possible,” she says.
The garbage issue wasn’t so big at that point. But it was still a problem. “It was going to get worse. The toxicity was set to increase,” she recalls. Sure enough, Bangalore went through a major garbage crisis when villagers living near to landfills said no to the city’s waste.
Poonam started by taking a close look at the trash can . “Over 60% of the waste was organic. Why can’t we keep it at home and compost it within the compound wall,” she wondered.
The idea was to create a beautiful looking product that could be used to hold waste until it turned into compost.
She started working with potters, who helped her build the Khamba, a good looking compost bin made of Terracotta that sits nicely on your balcony and takes care of the waste you generate.
What exactly does Khamba do? Take a look
What Poonam and her team have done is to make waste management at a micro-level possible by simplifying the whole process. “Now people can say, I can do something about my city,” says Poonam.
It is still hard to monetize the business. “It is a real challenge to keep cash-flow in place,” she says. Until last year, the company was making profits. It raised funds from Ankur Capital to scale up the operations.
Scaling this business is a bit of a challenge, she says. While the corporates are keen on composting leaves and other garbage generated in the campuses, to get the Khamba into a household needs an attitude makeover.
“It is a major behavioral change,” she says. However, if one takes a long term view of the problem, it is likely to show great results.