By Aswasan "AJ" Joshi
Waste is a troublesome predicament in Kathmandu. In excess of 1000 tons of waste is produced daily in the valley alone. Most of the it ends up in landfills as there is no systematic way of disposing such waste. Doko Recyclers, one of the beneficiaries of the COVID-19 MSME Fund Nepal, is looking to change that by instilling the idea of recycling and reducing into both household and large organizations alike.
Doko Recyclers, started in July 2017 by Kushal Harjani and Raghavendra Mahto, provides a complete end-to-end waste management system for all kinds of dry waste. Processing around five tons of dry waste every day in its warehouse in Sano Thimi, Doko has more than 130 corporate clients and more than 4000 households have signed up so for. Promoting “smart sustainability”, Doko conducts door-to-door waste pick-up for households and businesses, paying for paper, plastics, glass, and metals, in a cash-for-trash model. Doko, employing around 34 full-time staff, segregates the waste into different categories and sells them to recyclers or large scrap. This ensures the right materials make it to the right industries where the materials can be reused.
In addition, the social enterprise dispenses waste management consultancy and technical know-how to INGOs, NGOs and municipalities to move away from the overstretched reliance on waste dumps. Doko, likewise, holds events at schools and other organizations to educate people on how to improve the city’s waste management. The enterprise also works in e-waste asset disposal, which is becoming a huge problem in Kathmandu with more than 17,000 tons of e-waste produced each year. It aims to either repair the devices or extract valuable metals for reuse. It currently manages more than 70 tons of e-waste annually addressing the lack of legislation and adequate technology in the country to process such waste. The paramount goal of Doko is enable a sustainable future by turning waste into resources by investing in environmentally-sound solutions for processing waste.
Through the Fund, Doko Recyclers was able to get interest-free and collateral-free loan from Laxmi Bank to cover its short-term working capital needs. The Fund, managed by One to Watch (OTW), is supported by the SDC and the FMO. OTW also aims to provide tailored business development services to Doko Recyclers. OTW will connect Doko to potential investors as it looks to automate the segregation of e-wastes and build capacity to handle more than 10 tons of waste every day.