GARBAGEMAN, Solving Dhaka Waste Issues with Technology
GARBAGEMAN meets with MonstarLab
It was the beginning of the project of GARBAGEMAN and Monstar Lab when a Monstar Lab employee told the CEO of the Bangladesh branch “There is a classmate of mine who wants to make an app; but he needs help in order to make it. ”
MonstarLab decides to cooperate
ーDhaka is where I was born and where I belong. Looking at this city, it is full of garbage and I have been feeling sad about it; and I wanted to change something. I am an architect, and architecture is not limited to just buildings, it is about the city. I want to create a better city.
This is what he said. We Monstar Lab empathized with his thoughts. Besides, his thoughts matches the mission of the Monstar Lab Bangladesh, “To make Bangladesh’s society better”, so we decided to develop his app as a partner company.
We interviewed Mr. Fahim Uddin, the representative of GARBAGEMAN. This article presents the content of the interview and the app development as well.
What is GARBAGEMAN?
ーIn 2017, Fahim Uddin started a garbage recycling business. After that, GARBAGEMAN was launched and currently has 10 employees. They took second place in the event “startup weekend”, which is said to be the starting point for entrepreneurs. They also got selected as the best startup by “ygap”, the international development non-profit organization, and took first place in ICT department of the startup Bangladesh.
Interview with GARBAGEMAN
There are four business lines.
① Garbage collection and purchase service
GARBAGEMAN purchases and collects trash from hotels, restaurants, and homes. In this service, we plan to introduce an application developed with Monstar Lab. In the app, people who want to sell trash can select the type of trash and ask GARBAGEMAN to collect it.
GARBAGEMAN uses the collected garbage to make fertilizers by themselves. These fertilizers are sold to farmers or hobby gardeners.
Garbage other than raw garbage is separated into paper, plastic, aluminum, can, etc. The separated garbage is changed to cubes and sold to recycling companies. This contributes to reduce the amount of garbage dumped without being sorted and increases the amount of recycling.
④ZERO WASTE CONSULTING
GARBAGEMAN advises individuals and organizations on reducing waste and improving garbage separation awareness.
The reason for starting a business
I was attracted by the profession of architects who designed buildings beautifully for someone, so studied architecture at university. After graduation, when I started to take the path as an architect, I was surprised at the difference between what I learned and the reality. At university I mainly studied European buildings, which were attractive and beautiful, but the reality was not beautiful at all and ugly.
When I faced this problem, I wondered why it was highly different from the architecture I had imagined, what caused it, and what I could do. At that time, I noticed that Dhaka was “already dirty”. When I looked around, I noticed that there was a lot of garbage on the road and the city itself was very ugly and unsightly.
Project started from the home rooftop
After I noticed the garbage problem, one of the urban problems in Bangladesh, I started collecting garbage. Using the collected garbage on the rooftop of my house, I made fertilizers and sold them to gardeners. I continued this work for about 6 months. In that duration, I tested whether it could be a business or not and worked out on a business plan. I felt that the problem of trash in Bangladesh was so serious that I did not want to end it with a small project. In addition, I was attracted to solve this large city problem.
My hands are dirty because I move action
“It was more important to move actions than ideas and plans.” This is my belief which made it possible for me to act like this. I experienced that there was always a gap between when I thought or planned and when I actually acted. That’s why we are not only planning but also moving to action.
What I am struggling highly with is the lack of knowledge and awareness of the general public. In Bangladesh, most people do not separate trash and throw it all together. It is also common to litter the streets. In order to change this bad habit, we emphasise on getting people interested in the garbage problem and attracting attention.
To realize this, GARBAGEMAN is doing the things mentioned below –
- Sharing easy-to-understand explanations including illustrations and catchphrases via FACEBOOK.
- Negotiations with the government
- Campaign activities at universities and various communities
It will take time to change the way of thinking of the people in Bangladesh. However, changing their thoughts is necessary to solve the garbage problem in Bangladesh. Therefore, we have to continue trying to change people’s minds.
From Facebook of GARBAGEMAN (https://www.facebook.com/garbagemanbd/)
GARBAGEMAN’s vision is “Clean and Clean Dhaka”. The mission is “Recycle As Much As We Can”, which is very simple, but we are striving every day to realize this big vision.A recent big goal is to be incorporated in September this year. After the incorporation, we are planning to focus on expanding markets and facilities, and improving skills.The numerical target is to make 20,000 KG fertilizers in a month (now it is 1,200KG) and to collect twice as much garbage.
Garbageman’s logo is yellow, which attracts everyone’s attention, and the G mark represents GARBAGEMAN and recycling. He also referred to the logo of Batman that he likes .
Application development by Monstar Lab
Monstar Lab Bangladesh has developed the Android app for garbage collection and purchase services. When ML received a request to develop an app, it was a vague request that they wanted to send notifications to Garbageman from people who want to sell garbage.
ML had a meeting with him and we thought together about how to realize the request inside the app.
What we can do in the app
User side: Users can easily know the price of garbage by selecting the type and amount of it. In addition, by setting the location and date on which the users want to come for collection on the app, they can request the collection of garbage smoothly without any effort.
Management side: Users can receive requests and notifications of collection locations, and can easily send people to collect garbage.
Bangladesh is now in the midst of a period of high economic growth with the world’s third largest GDP growth rate.
With the high economic growth, the garbage problem is getting worse. Together with GARBAGEMAN, which works to solve this urban problem, we would like to contribute to the improvement of this country from the IT aspect.