2019-07-21

Doko Turns Two!

Doko turns Two!

On July 16th, 2017, Doko founders made their first two recyclable waste pick-ups from the Ministry of Health, and Nepal Innovation Lab - officially launching operations! Today, we collect recyclables from at least 15 institutions and five households on a daily basis. With over 100 institutions and over 3,500 households using our services, our daily visits are constantly growing. These past two years have been a wonderful learning experience for us at Doko Recyclers. We started with three people and now are a team of 35!

So let’s take a trip together on our journey so far:

After our launch, our first significant milestone was becoming one of three finalists from Nepal for Slush GIA, the world’s largest start-up accelerator program. Our co-founder, Kushal Harjani, shared Doko’s business model and vision to funders and over 1,500 start-ups in Helsinki, Finland.

In January 2018, we launched our professional shredding services. Since most institutions burn their confidential documents as a method of disposal causing unnecessary air pollution, we started providing both on and off site shredding services and providing ‘Certificates of Destruction,’ ensuring confidentiality and a smaller environment footprint. Today, we shred about 3,000 kg of confidential documents per month.

Collecting recyclable materials from around the valley was a good first step, but we knew that in order to raise awareness on the importance of recycling, we needed to focus on advocacy. So in June 2018, we decided to team up with ICIMOD, the Royal Norwegian Embassy, and Nepali Times to co-host our first World Environment Day event. We organized a knowledge forum which included discussions on opportunities and challenges in beating plastic pollution in Nepal and broadly situating the problem in the Hindu Kush Himalaya region. Government stakeholders, local leaders, experts and diplomats were the key attendees of the forum amongst other relevant stakeholders.

People mostly associate recycling with plastics, papers, and glass. But one significant resource many aren’t aware can be recycled is electronic waste, or e-waste. Anything that can be plugged in or run on a battery is considered to be e-waste. Today, a majority of e-waste generated in Nepal is being dumped into landfills. This is extremely hazardous as not only does e-waste not decompose, but many components used to build a lot of the devices are toxic (ex. lithium ion batteries.) Once in landfills, these toxins spread to our soil, water, and air, causing damage to our health and the health of the ecosystem. In an attempt to reduce this spread of toxins, we decided to professionally handle and deal with e-waste. In July 2018, we conducted our first consultancy workshop on e-waste with Himalayan Climate Initiative. During the workshop, Pankaj Panjiyar (Chief Operations Officer) educated the participants on the causes and effects of e-waste in Nepal. Currently, awareness about e-waste is very insignificant in our country. Our goal is to raise awareness and educate people on the importance of recycling their e-waste.

Glass is an item that we use and dispose on a daily basis, yet there are no recycling plants for glass in Nepal. Domestic beer bottles are collected by the informal waste sector, cleaned, and sent back to bottling facilities to be reused for beer. Other types of glass end up in landfills. Since we couldn’t recycle glass, we came up with a creative solution for repurposing discarded bottles. Tatwa, our upcycled range, was born. We collect all types of bottles, clean them, and redesign them into drinking glasses, cups, lamps, flower planters, and more. Check out the Tatwa Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/tatwa_upcycle/

In an effort to continue the efforts in combating plastic pollution and changing people's attitudes towards waste, Doko Recyclers with Creative Academy, a school based in Kirtipur, facilitated a 'Plogging Run' in Kirtipur Heritage Temple Area on November 26, 2018. Plogging is a combination of ‘Jogging’ with ‘Picking Up Litter’ that started as an organized activity in Sweden around 2016 and spread to other countries in 2018, following the growing concern around Plastic Pollution. Find out more at: https://dokorecyclers.com/blog/plogging-run-with-abhimanyu-chakravorty-3

In April 2019, we launched www.ewastenepal.com, our online platform for e-waste. If you have any e-waste that you would like to dispose of responsibly, or want to learn more about e-waste in Nepal and the world, visit our e-waste website!

Almost two thirds of waste generated in an average household in Kathmandu is organic food waste. Many of our household clients were asking for more sustainable alternatives for dealing with organic waste. So, in May 2019, in collaboration with BioComp Nepal, we launched the Smart Bucket, a simple home composting system. This system is designed for a family of four to five. When you generate organic waste, all you need to do is add it to the bucket instead of sending it to landfills. Add some decomposer (included in the kit) occasionally, and you will have homemade, organic compost to use for your garden! Learn more about the Smart Bucket here: https://dokorecyclers.com/blog/the-smart-bucket-a-new-solution-for-organic-waste-9

We learn and grow more everyday and aim to make a bigger impact towards sustainable development in Nepal. We need to raise awareness of the importance of recycling as a community, and that starts with each individual being conscious of the waste they generate and dispose. You have helped us raise awareness these past two years, and we thank you for that. Let’s work together to spread the word even further and louder, to make our city and country clean and sustainable.


Pranav Rajouria,
Communications and Partnerships Coordinator