By Arhan Parikh
I Got Garbage is an initiative started by social entrepreneurs in India back in 2013 to increase the efficiency of waste and garbage collection. Through the use of modern technology, they aim to provide some honor to the lives of garbage collectors and eliminate the use of landfills, in order to collect waste in an efficient way. The reason why the founders started this initiative was to provide some sense of respect for waste collectors. Back in 2013 when IGG started, they were just a team of 5 members, but today they are a digital enterprise that has thousands of stakeholders, showing how digital technology can affect enterprises and the waste collection industry. IGG’s goal is to create a zero waste city. As of today, they have operations in various cities in India such as Bangalore, Pune, Mumbai, Hazaribagh, and Bhubaneswar.
IGG uses technology to build smart, sustainable cities, which is achieved through a zero waste model. This model requires a very collaborative approach and systems such as technology adoption, infrastructure, delivery model, community engagement and governance. Using innovative technology and business models, IGG is the perfect way for any organization to tackle the issue of waste management in a city.
IGG’s process begins by working with local authorities to assess the waste management landscape of a particular city. Next, IGG partners with NGOs and contractors in the area to begin implementation and utilization of existing infrastructure in the town. IGG must then recruit and train waste pickers to ensure their employees are safe and hygienic while on the job. They are taught many tools, from how to use the necessary technology to the best composting and recycling practices. Furthermore, IGG launches public awareness drives and social media campaigns to reach volunteers and young children in an effort to generate awareness and knowledge regarding the topic of waste collection.
In addition, through the use of technology and digital platforms, IGG provides stakeholders with solutions to head start their businesses. IGG continually monitors their operations and replicates such programs by focusing on the highest quality, and using the best available practices. IGG is at the start of a revolution, as the world is finally starting to recognize the impact our lifestyles have on the environment. Moreover, effective waste management is a relatively new term. Typically in India, waste is collected and transferred straight into landfills, but IGG offers a more efficient alternative that creates a better future for society with less waste in landfills. In short, IGG empowers independent entrepreneurs through job creation, uses technology for better systems, partners with citizens and grassroots organizations, and leads to ecosystem creation and service design.
As of today, they have a massive footprint across India, diverting 34,722 tons of waste from landfills, 9,676 waste pickers on operation and have served 301,397 houses. All in all, I Got Garbage is an organization changing the future of waste management and revolutionizing the way that one views waste. Something as simple as waste, that for centuries used to be dumped into landfills, is now being recycled in a sustainable and efficient way, thanks to incredible innovation.