Inspiring sustainability through recycling | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, January 04, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, January 04, 2019

Inspiring sustainability through recycling

A group of students from the University of Dhaka started a recycling business by collecting garbage from different slums around Dhaka, with the intention of influencing positive changes.

Known as Inspire, their business aims to buy garbage from the women in the slums who have access to one kilogram of disposable waste every day. They offer low-cost education to children in the slums by taking the garbage as tuition fees, as majority of these children cannot complete their primary education due to financial constraints. The founder and CEO of Inspire, Jahangir Alom, started the initiative along with his partners Swarup Deb and Ruhul Amin Rubel in September 2018. “When people view their garbage as a resource, recycling is incentivised. It is an efficient and practical way to encourage sustainability amongst people,” says Jahangir.

The team of Inspire has established a small school for the slum children, in the form of two rented rooms. Two teachers are appointed at the school, and the students come in six batches. So far, they have 130 students in total and their services have positively affected the lives of 400 families. Their long-term plan includes a scholarship programme for the higher education of their students.

Their work areas currently include only the Korail and Tejgaon slums, but they are looking to take their business to other major slums in Dhaka as well. They also plan to start collecting organic waste from the different restaurants around Dhaka.

A further positive aspect of the initiative is that they produce an organic fertiliser called, Chashir Hashi Joibo Shar (Farmer's Smile Organic Fertilisers), with the garbage they collect, and supply it to farmers at only Tk 24 per kilogram. Given that the high prices of fertilisers in the market is one of the key issues faced by farmers, this approach seemed rather helpful. Another project of Inspire called, Alo (Light), aims to provide slum dwellers with small and low-cost solar panels.

With the motto, Green Finance for Education, Inspire strives to work to manage garbage smartly, educate underprivileged children, promote affordable organic fertilisers, support green farming and overall ensure a healthy environment for our nation.

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