MAKING BLACK GOLD: TURNING COMPOSTING INTO A BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY (By Daily Dump)

Projects

Type of Waste recycled:Organic Waste

Timeline of initiative: Has been operational since 2007

About the Initiative: The Daily Dump provides simple products to compost organic waste at home. The company manufactures and sells home level and community composters across India and is meant to enable households to treat the 50-60% of organic waste that is generated daily. They have several products like a “Leave It Pot” system for smaller communities to produce rich compost in 2 – 3 months. For larger communities (40-200 families), the company offers “Manthan 300 System” wherein the waste is managed by housekeeping staff and involves an initial investment of INR 3,500 per family.

Recently, Daily Dump has developed “Agha” systems with waste capacity of 550 L which requires no external power supply or use of tools since an innovative breathing tower ensure aeration through the entire waste. The company has more than 35 of such systems in place in various communities. Though it has a relatively higher cost of INR 30,000 per unit (and requires installation of 2 units at the same time), the lifetime of the product is 10 years.

Along with composting products, the company also developed a 100% organic, natural, and non-toxic alternative to cleaning products for households, and Trash Trail which is a day tour travelling with the waste including visiting a landfill and meeting people to – aiming to sensitize people for waste management.

Impact: Daily Dump currently has over 15,000 customers who keep approximately 14 tonnes of wet waste away from the landfills daily. Since being set up, the business has expanded to 23 new stores in Bangalore and 17 stores across major Indian cities. The business closely works with two sets of potters for production (one from Andhra Pradesh and the other from Rajasthan) generating rural livelihood.

Challenges: Ia) The primary challenge faced by the company has been lack of awareness and general mindset of Indian households. Waste is not viewed as a resource and handling waste at home is considered unhygienic. Also people are not willing to shoulder the responsibility of treating their own waste and expected the government and municipalities to manage the same. b) Another equally important challenge faced was the lack of a market for compost as well as products created out of waste. Although this has been gradually changing, there is a lot of awareness and marketing required to push such products. c) The business case of composting at a household level remains tough to explain (especially for products like Agha) where there is no guaranteed payback period or estimation of compost generated – since it is highly dependent on waste quality and quantity.

Market Potential: Given the high quantity of organic wastes generated at a household level (and also in commercial establishments like hotels), composting as a business opportunity has a high market potential. However given the above mentioned challenges, there is effort required from the government for sensitization of the general public to enable the take off for such businesses and recycled products