How the Ecola service works?

The interview with Nazar Mozhovyi — co-founder of the Ecola service.

Ecola is a startup of two business partners from Ukraine and London. Its goal is to make sorting and removal of waste for recycling convenient and accessible to all. People who sort at home can collect clean and dried recyclables in one package and order free removal from home. And people who pick up and sort garbage for sale will be able to sell it to large harvesters and processors and make money that way.

So, Nazar, please, tell us what history this project has? Нow long have you been sorting garbage?”

“I have been sorting garbage for 2 years. In my own experience I understand all the advantages and disadvantages of sorting in the absence of a convenient infrastructure. During this time, I went through different formats of sorting at home: it all started with hundreds of packages with different recyclables, and eventually I turned my balcony into a barn. It was very inconvenient. To simplify the sorting process, I decided to start one large tank and just throw there the washed and dried recyclables.”

“How often do you do it, how long does it usually take?”

“Once a month I sort it all on the balcony with the child and take it to the sorting station. But it still takes a long time.”

“What do you think about the situation with garbage sorting in Ukraine? Why did you have the idea of creating just this kind of service?”

“Most Ukrainians who also do sorting are socially active people who do it solely for their own motivation. But when I do something good, I have a desire to be supported in this, at least to provide a normal service. Unfortunately, personally, I have no experience of recycling at stations and reception points have not ended with a customer-oriented approach. That is why the idea to create a convenient service for people arose.

“You’re right, this is undoubtedly important at this stage of development of this sphere. What about your platform? What types of users does it bring together?”

“The platform combines 3 types of users. There are households and sorting organizations, ecologists – organizations or people engaged in the collection of secondary raw materials and division into fractions for resale, processors or large procurers willing to pay for recyclables.

For the first two categories of users, the developers have created a Telegram bot that will help them find each other. Over time, after the test run, they plan to create an application for iOS and Android. For the third category, there will be a web application that will allow processors and large procurers to see the addresses and volumes of recyclables that can be purchased.”

“Could you tell us more details about the algorithm of the service?”

“Users who sort garbage at home must register in the Telegram bot: indicate the name, phone number and place where you can pick up recyclables. You can collect all types of waste for recycling in one 120-liter package. Before that, everything needs to be washed, dried and compressed. Glass, paper, plastic and metal are accepted for sorting, detailed rules of sorting can be found on the project website.

Once the package is full, you need to leave a request for removal from the apartment or from the entrance through the bot. Garbage collection for users is free.”

“Is this a free option? Who will be responsible for collecting recyclables?”

“Yes, garbage collection is free for users. The so-called ecoler takes away secondary raw materials. According to the authors of the project, it will be people like Glovo couriers, or small businesses that will pick up recyclables, sort them and be able to sell them.”

“What does it take to become an ecoler?”

“In order to become an ecologist, you need to have a small room for sorting and accumulation of secondary raw materials. For example, a janitor who has an office space in the house can do this. The task of the ecoler is to register in the application and choose the area in which he wants to work. He will then be able to see the addresses of all the people sorting the rubbish in his area and the volumes of sorted recyclables that need to be picked up.”

“Do you have any alternatives?”

“Two alternative types of interaction are also being considered to launch the project. The first is that small private companies with transport will be able to become ecologists (Uber entered the Ukrainian market on a similar principle). Second – Ecola will launch its own export service for the first time, until the database accumulates a sufficient number of independent ecologists.

The third type of participants – processors or large procurers. On the web portal, they will see the addresses of ecologists and the amount of recyclables they are willing to sell, such as 100 kg of corrugated cardboard or 50 kg of clear glass. Processors will be able to select several points on the map and form a convenient route on the site. So they will buy recycled materials directly from ecologists. In the future, the service is planned to be monetized by a commission from the purchase and sale of secondary raw materials.”

“How to use the service and when will you start exporting raw materials?”

“Now users who collect garbage at home can now register with the Telegram bot and leave their address there. This will help project developers select the first areas for a test run of the service. Exports of recyclables will begin in November 2020.”

“Thank you, Nazar, for such a detailed and catching conversation. We sincerely believe that your service will be in demand among environmentally conscious Ukrainians.”

October 3, 2020
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