Published: 08th July 2020
Hyderabad start-up Bintix will pick up your dry waste and tell you how many trees you saved. How cool is that?
While the likes off material like paper and carton are readily recycled in Hyderabad itself, whereas laminate plastic and PET bottles have to be processed with specialised companies in other states
Too lazy to recycle but still feel passionately for the planet? That's where Hyderabad-based Bintix Waste Research comes in. Just schedule an appointment and they will come knocking at your door to pick up the waste. You don't even have to separate the dry waste! You can even track the process your bag is going through, from collection to recycling, and revel in the fact that you are making a teeny-tiny difference in the world. Now, isn't that a wonderful feeling? All you have to do is leave the hard work to Bintix, founded by Udit Patidar, Jayanarayan Kulathingal and Roshan Miranda in June 2018. We got to know the start-up better via a conversation with 36-year-old Udit who takes us through what Bintix does, what is unique about it and why you should look out for it. Excerpts:
Coming from varied backgrounds, how did all of you find your common ground, sustainability?
Roshan and Jay (Jayanarayanan) were college mates in Bengaluru and were in touch after college as well. Roshan returned from the US in 2015, while Jay had returned five years before him and was well aware of the waste management space that Roshan was about to enter into. Roshan and I were roommates in Houston when both of us started our PhDs, I in Computer Science and Roshan in Biology. We always wanted to do something impactful, sometime in the future, but the opportunity came when the idea of Bintix was floated in 2018. The timing was perfect because I had just returned to India and was looking for an entrepreneurial activity to pursue. Jay too jumped at the idea and lent his longstanding operations background to the expansion of Bintix beyond Hyderabad. Although Bintix has sustainability at its core, which is Roshan's core area, there are a lot of tech-related innovations that I am responsible for while Jay implements our novel expansion strategy. The three of us think of Bintix as a tech-driven start-up trying to innovate in the waste management space.
Processing centre | (Pic: Bintix)
The garbage bags with QR codes are your USP. Tell us how you came up with this idea and about the multiple ways it is helping you.
Bintix's vision and its promise to customers is that no waste given to us shall end up in landfills. So, it becomes very important to trace each kilo of waste received from each of the several thousand houses on a daily basis. Bintix was already using an app to assign pick-ups at the customer's doorstep. The innovation happened when we wanted to use the same app to record the number of bags that reach the warehouse. Therefore, each bag was assigned a code which could track the bag through the system, much like a speed post parcel travels through the postal service network. We started with barcoded bags but soon moved to QR (quick response) codes because of their faster scanning time. Our QR code system now allows us to track each bag through the system (bag distribution to customer, collection, transport, recycling and so on), and also ensures that no bag is unaccounted for and is recycled.
Since there are other start-ups offering the same services, what are you doing differently to ensure that you have an edge over others?
We accept ALL dry waste in the SAME bag, from e-waste (laptops and wires) to newspapers to chocolate wrappers, and offer a flat pricing for the entire bag. This simplifies our accounting and operations and we are able to pass those savings to the customer. This means that we are among the highest-paying waste management companies. We also offer an individual service to customers where we go to their doorstep and collect bags that we have provided. These bags can be easily sealed and kept for hygienic handling. Individualised service also allows us to provide a dashboard where each customer can track their pick-up history and eco-statistics (number of trees saved and so on). Finally, we have a set schedule for pick-up and do not deviate from that. Service punctuality is very important to retain customers.
They also compost all the food that they consume in the warehouse
Any particular challenges that you have been facing that you would like to share?
Waste management is a very low-margin industry. If you want to make a profitable business out of waste management, you need to innovate, otherwise, any player with deeper pockets or a better supply chain will price you out of the market. Multiple start-ups have folded because the market for recyclable plastics is dependent on crude prices and other external factors. Therefore, we constantly need to innovate our model and ensure that every bit of efficiency is realised.
Tell us about the processing centre.
We are located in the Katedan industrial area, close to the airport. The facility is 8,000 sq ft and processes waste from Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Delhi. We are currently expanding services into all Indian metro cities and will have only one processing facility in the entire country. With efficient warehouse management, we will be able to process waste from Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata as well, in the same space.
Scenes from the centre | (Pic: Bintix)
What are your plans for the future?
We soon hope to be serving Kolkata, Chennai and Mumbai by October. We also hope to continue to realise our operational efficiency and use tech to bring costs down. For example, we have piloted an AI model where a machine learning system can recognise various types of waste. This will speed up processing of the waste. Instead of sorting by hand, the staff will be upskilled to monitor an automated system. We are also embarking on the 'research' part of Bintix Waste Research, and are looking into helping packaging producers fulfil extended producer responsibility mandates and help in sustainable packaging research.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
The waste problem in India is big enough that we don't want to compete with any competitor in the traditional sense. We believe that multiple players can carve their niche and still be sustainable. When we acquire a new city, we partner with existing waste management companies and help fill holes in their offerings. For example, if a company is providing wet waste composting solutions or is an e-waste management expert, we join hands and offer comprehensive services to our customers. At the end of the day, each and every one of us has to realise that our waste is our responsibility. Thanks to Swachh Bharat Abhiyan and other local initiatives, people are slowly realising this and we hope to continue down this road. Remember - you should always reduce, reuse and recycle in that order!
Looking at numbers:
- Three agents in Hyderabad 4,500 households in their four and two-wheelers for pick ups
- They have one agent each in Bengaluru and Delhi
- An average of 20,000 pick-ups are done and 20-25 metric tons of waste is processed monthly
- It can segregate 32 different streams of material
For more on them, check out bintix.com