Kabadiwalla Connect - For Swachh Bharat

CIOL Writers
New Update
CIOL Kabadiwala

With landfills running out of space; no proper collection and segregation system in place; and nearly 60 million tons of garbage generated every year, where exactly is Prime Minister’s ambitious project, Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan heading? KabadiwallaConnect (KWC) has an answer to this problem. They are “a young social enterprise start-up, dedicated to helping Indian communities handle their recyclable and up-cyclable waste responsibly.”


In India there is no effective waste, solid waste is burned without segregating biodegradable waste from non-biodegradable waste leading to further poisoning of our already toxic environment.  More than 75 percent of the municipal waste is disposed of non-scientifically, in open landfills. KWC hopes to streamline this process, where through proper segregation and sorting, minimum trash reaches landfills.

This Chennai-based startup is working on an online platform which will connect citizens to local kabadi wallahs. The benefits will weigh equally for both parties. If citizens will be able to dispose of their waste responsibly, then the platform will also serve to increase the revenue that Kabadiwallahs make. People will sell the recyclable waste materials (like paper, metal scrap, glass, plastic, etc.) to the local kabadi wallas, who in turn sell it to be upcycled, or recycled for a profit.

The project began with a series of mapping sessions in Chennai and Bangalore with volunteers going and mapping Kabadiwalla networks.The startup then won a climate change grant from the World Economic Forum in 2014 and released a map-based UI, on which it marks various waste collection vendors along with their photos, contact details, and materials they recycle in Chennai. People can use this information to find the nearest kabadiwallah to come and pick up waste for recycling.


The company is now launching an app that kabadiwallahs can use to report when they have recyclable waste to sell. By aggregating this inventory (that is to say, the recyclable materials that the kabadiwallahs collect), the startup intends to act as a buying club, to help them get better prices by selling it higher up the value chain.

The team is also looking at ways to bring together this informal waste ecosystem with the most formal processes in which cities handle their waste.

The young team recently raised about $100,000 in an angel round of funding to build their MVP(minimum viable product). They plan to have it all ready and working by April. To encourage kabadiwallahs to use the app, the startup also plans to provide them with small incentives like mobile top-ups.

Kabadiwalla Connect has eight full-time staff, apart from the founding team of three which includes SiddharthHande, SonaalBangera, and Rishi Sridhar.

must-read kabadiwallaconnect-in