On a green mission

Waste disposal and management are two issues that will continue to haunt us, unless we buckle up and take measures to protect our planet. In Goa, with India’s first waste management consumer brand, YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) there is hope and a solution all at one place

Danuska Da Gama | NT BUZZ

With its goal of not just waste treatment, but also reduction of waste and creating sustainability, YIMBY (Yes In My Back Yard) is striving towards a better future.

Founded by Gaurav Pokle (CEO) and Ramesh Sundermurthy (director), India’s first waste management consumer center intends to educate, train, and influence individuals as well as institutions about sustainability and waste management.

While Pokle has been instrumental in conducting various socio-environmental activities like beach cleanup drives, and workshops on composting, sustainability, etc- with this store he believes solutions are aplenty to make Goa garbage free. And YIMBY is equipped to manage waste from inception stage to disposal stage. This includes waste handling, waste storage, everyday waste collection, waste segregation, waste reduction, reuse, recycling, waste treatment, waste monitoring, and waste regulations.

In conversation with NT BUZZ, Sundermurthy talks about empowering and encouraging every citizen, community and institution to reduce, reuse, recycle and rethink about the environmental impact in consumerism.

Q. We all know that the ‘garbage’ problem is huge, but small efforts count.

Approximately 70 per cent of the waste currently being land-filled or burned consists of materials that could be put to  better use through recycling or composting. Most of this material is plastic, paper, cardboard, glass, tin, non-recyclable dry waste, and food waste. We need to replace the term waste management with resource management, because what we feel is waste to us is a resource to someone else and a lot of ragpickers, recyclers depend on waste collection as a source of income. We consider it your duty to segregate and responsibly donate or sell recyclable waste or use litter bins for disposal which will contribute in sustainable collection and recycling.

Q. Why do you think people aren’t really bothered or taking an interest at their own level?

There are two main reasons for this. Firstly it is about convenience. People feel throwing waste and littering in someone else’s backyard is easier than taking ownership of their own waste. The second reason is consciousness. It’s not that people aren’t aware about segregation or not to litter but they are not conscious enough to think about the impact they’re causing to the environment and to other living species by their own actions.

Q. What purpose does the waste management consumer centre serve?

YIMBY is a one-stop shop when it comes to waste right from storage bins, eco-friendly alternatives, recycling, home composting, community waste handling tools, domestic hazardous waste and much more. We deal with all types of waste.

From being time saving, to reducing cost on expenditure with discounts and offers, to having all recycling and waste statistics analysed in one place, we have everything covered.

Q. So how did the journey of your YIMBY take shape?

Gaurav Pokle, the founder and CEO has been working along with the state urban development for over seven years as a solid waste management consultant and that’s when he conceptualised YIMBY. When he discussed the idea with me, I strongly believed in the concept as I was equally passionate about environment conservation and have been into startup development. YIMBY is registered and recognised under Startup India & Goa Policy. We launched YIMBY at Vibrant Goa event and managed to make it Goa’s first zero waste event.

Q. Your products have a lot to do with dealing with the first step in recycling waste. Tell us how?

Any waste starts it journey either from a bin or simply being chucked in open. Unless we don’t select the right bin / bag for its storage or even understand that your waste footprint could be reduced by simply adopting an eco-conscious alternative/ product, we can never feel conscious about how big our waste footprint is and how we could reduce this waste / carbon footprint.

Q. You still believe there is lack of awareness despite campaigns like Swachh Bharat, and others at every level?

It’s very important for us to understand that not only awareness or campaigns bring a change. It is also important to make waste management a part of living, sustainable alternatives as part of our lifestyle, and adopt policies that create value for waste and converting waste to tradable resource.

We lack implementation of policy and action against violation in handling, storage or treatment of solid and liquid waste in our country.

Q. You have a section called IEC. Tell us about it.

IEC stands for Information Education and Communication. IEC is a process of working with individuals, communities, societies, and policy and decision makers to develop communication strategies to promote positive behaviours which are appropriate to their culture and social/community behaviours. Here, we combine all suitable strategies, approaches and methods that enable individuals, families, groups, organisations and communities to play active role in achieving, protecting and sustaining the desired behavioural change.

Information, Education and Communication programmes such as CSR campaigns, awareness workshops, capacity building training, educational programs are taken up.