The saying, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” rings true for Fahim Uddin Shuvo, Founder of Garbageman. During his undergraduate education in Architecture at North South University, Shuvo saw the problematic lack of waste disposal methods. Notably, around 5000 tonne of waste is dumped daily into landfills. This leads to environmental hazards, from air and water pollution to exacerbated global warming. As a young architect, Shuvo is determined to ameliorate such environmental situations of Dhaka.
After winning in Startup Bangladesh 2017, Shuvo set out to collect on-source separated waste, both organic and inorganic through his initiative, Garbageman. The inorganic waste is upcycled after it is sold to third parties. On the other hand, the organic waste is converted into high quality vermi-compost, and sold mainly to rooftop gardeners, under their social business wing, Regen. Garbageman calculates that one kilogram of vermi-compost sold equates to preventing three kilograms of waste going into landfills. They currently have 12 workers and one trained waste-picker.
The on-source segregated waste collected by Garbageman undergoes further manual separation. Approximately one hour is taken for three people to filter through 300 kilograms of waste. The organic waste is sequentially placed in a shredder, an anaerobic cylinder vessel at 70 Degrees Celsius to kill pathogens and seeds and then into a compile composting bed, making it worm-friendly. Finally, the Red Wiggler worms, which Shuvo digs out himself from cattle farms before ordering a bulk amount, are added. The final product is the nutritious and soil-friendly vermi-compost. The processes Garbageman uses involved learning through YouTube, guidance from university professors and a testing by Mritika Institute. Presently, Garbageman is affiliated with Delft University of Technology as a knowledge sharing partner. They also receive technical support from the institution. Initially, Shuvo’s parents and friends were skeptical about his project, but over time, seeing Garbageman’s integral part in building a cleaner and greener Dhaka, they have grown more supportive.
Garbageman operates in 30 tea stalls, two restaurants and one kitchen market at Uttara. The team plans to expand to more places in the near future.