Lifestyle

Eco Friends

Strapline: A solution to all your garbage problems

This fabulous initiative is truly the solution to all your garbage problems. We no longer have to complain that the truck hasn’t come for days and that the whole street is full of garbage and smells.

Better yet, they will come and pick up your garbage from your doorstep, so that gives you no excuse. We already have to separate our garbage for the normal collection that happens weekly or sometimes daily. But the disposal of the collected garbage is what lacks organisation. With Eco Friends, you know it will be sorted and submitted to the correct places for recycling.

Eco Friends was launched in January this year as a small-scale start-up. It was initially the brainchild of Marc Perera which he further developed with a small, equally eco-minded team including Luke Perera, Tharush Jayananda, Chathuranga Bandara, and Tariq Samidon. For the first three months, the main focus has been to develop and fine tune the platform and to validate the technology before they went public. So far, they have been able to help hundreds of households in seven major cities in the Colombo District to recycle their waste. The waste we collect directly goes to our recycle partners for recycling, which is a fantastic eco-friendly way to get rid of your garbage.

We spoke to Founder Marc Perera to find out his inspiration behind this initiative. “The main reason to start this was to help thousands of environmentally concerned folks to recycle their waste, as there was no proper system in place to do so. In addition, in light of the Meethotamulla garbage incident, we wanted to find a sustainable solution to address our growing garbage problem. In reality, garbage is not a problem, we make it a problem from the way we handle it. The most basic step to address this growing concern is to reduce, re-use, and recycle the materials we consume.

Recycling is the last link in the cycle and here in Sri Lanka, that is the most difficult to do, the main reason for that being the malpractices in waste management. With a little bit of effort and commitment, we can find solutions to our waste problem. This is where Eco Friends comes in to encourage people to recycle and give them the ultimate convenience to do so.” With them coming to our doorstep to collect the waste, we believe we have absolutely no excuse to not recycle our garbage. Better yet, you can even earn some money while doing it!

How to subscribe to the service

We offer our service on a mobile platform (mobile app) which is available for both Android and IOS mobile phones. The Eco Friends waste collection service is free for all users for the first month, and the users can simply download the app and submit their household recyclable waste according to the categories we have mentioned on the app. (Use the image ”home screen”). Subsequently, if they are happy with the service, they can subscribe to our service for a nominal fee of Rs. 200 per month which they can pay through the app (by mobile or credit card payment) for monthly unlimited pickups. One benefit Eco Friends users have is everyone gets to earn back from the waste they submit through our Eco Points system.

The steps are:

  • Register and subscribe to the service
  • Add waste – enter the type of waste available and submit the quantity
  • Pickup – once submitted, Eco Friends will send a pick up within seven days
  • Earn eco points – They offer Eco Points for each waste category which can be redeemed once in every six months

“Our effort is to attract more people to recycle which we believe can be achieved if we give them the convenience. So far, we have built a good Eco Friends base and have managed to help recycle over 7.5 megatonnes of recyclable waste, and we are seeing a great growth on a monthly basis. Our primary target is to serve everyone who is concerned about pollution. I think with Eco Friends, Sri Lanka is one step closer to addressing the garbage issue.”

Within these few months of operation, they have recycled 1,788 kg of glass, 437.7 kg of plastic, 3,300 kg of paper, and 1439.5 kg of metal. This certainly proves that this initiative is successful. If backed by the right authorities, they will certainly make a massive positive contribution to the disposal problems we have.

Each household generates both organic and non-organic waste, and managing this waste on a daily basis calls for some planning as collection and disposal are integral parts of its management.

There are three main categories of waste produced by each household.

Organic waste – organic waste or green waste is organic material such as leftover food (both vegetarian and non-vegetarian), fruit and vegetable peels, garden and lawn clippings, egg shells, etc.

These are also biodegradable. About a third of the home waste produced is categorised as organic waste. This can easily be made into reusable, high-quality compost if treated properly at home.

Recyclable waste – paper, glass, metals, plastics.

Toxic waste – toxic waste includes old medicines, paint, chemicals, bulbs, spray cans, fertiliser and pesticide containers, batteries, shoe polish, etc.

Both toxic and recyclable wastes are not biodegradable and one has to be careful in disposing it. Careless dumping of these materials in open grounds could contaminate the soil and cause serious damage to the environment and to life.

“Once garbage is collected, we have our own segregation to sort the recyclable waste and re-distribute them to the Central Environmental Authority-approved recyclers.”

“Our target is to increase the number of people who contribute to our recycling effort. Our future plans are to expand the Eco Friends service further around the island, and make recycling convenient for all citizens in Sri Lanka.”

The team includes:

  • Founder/CEO Marc Perera
  • Chief Growth Office Luke Perera
  • Chief Technology Officer Chathuranga Bandara
  • Chief Design Office Tharush Jayananda
  • Tech Consultant Tariq Samidon

They will help you with any questions you may have. Download the app today and dispose your garbage with confidence!