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Monday, May 29, 2023

Meet the engineers who built Rs 120 lac startup to turn waste into manure

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Engineering graduates, Chandan Kagganapalli and Darshan Challuru, built a  startup, Ecofinix, to turn organic waste into fertile and nutrient-rich manure. The business clocks an annual turnover of Rs. 120 lac.

Every year, over 40 million pilgrims visit Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. The aggregate trash created by the enormous population is around 40 tonnes every day.

Residents of the city, Chandan Kagganapalli and Darshan Challuru, were concerned about the rubbish stacking up at the dump yard. To solve the problem, these engineering grads opted to turn the organic waste into fertile and nutrient-rich manure.

In 2020, Chandan founded Ecofinix and enlisted Dharsan, together with K Varun Kumar and M Praveen Kumar, to process tons of garbage from the temple town while also encouraging farmers to make the green transition by allowing them to practice chemical-free farming.

Dharsan explains, “Chandan and I met in a startup community and quickly connected over our desire to offer sustainable solutions to the environment. We began discussing company concepts and voiced our worries about the city’s rising garbage generation at one of the meetings. We thought it was our primary obligation to preserve our country’s attractiveness. As a result, we decided to establish a recycling and processing plant and promptly approached the city commissioner.”

According to the 23-year-old, the city leader gave them the opportunity. He says they established two units that process organic or moist trash in three ways.

The first approach is conventional, in which garbage is allowed to decay naturally through bacteria before being converted into vermicompost,” he explains, adding that the process takes roughly 40 days to produce organic-rich manure.

According to Dharsan, the second approach includes sorting dry and moist trash on a treadmill-like conveyor belt. Dry garbage is segregated by size for recycling, while organic waste is composted using natural composting processes.

Dharsan says, here they sort and recycle solid waste such as plastic and glass.

He says, “The third way is the quickest since the trash is introduced in a specially designed chamber created in partnership with an engineering firm. It is instantly digested, and the organic compost is ready the same day.”

They believe that while technology developments made it easier for them to produce organic fertilizer, persuading farmers to embrace the change in farming practices was tough.

He explains, “Farmers in the area had not utilized vermicompost and were skeptical of the product. To persuade them, we gave out 2,000 kilograms of compost manure for free.”

The waste that is collected is either recycled or transformed into organic compost.

According to Chandan, the team also illustrated the advantages of utilizing organic fertilizer by producing crops on a plot of land.

He says, “Farmers gradually began to adopt Ecofinix’s organic compost. So far, over 1,000 people have used it, and we’ve also targeted terrace gardeners.”

Following its success in Tirupati, the company extended its operations in Rajahmundry with the assistance of the local civic body.

Farmers may purchase organic compost for Rs 4 per kg. According to Dharsan, the firm handles 100 tonnes of garbage every day and earns a monthly revenue of around Rs 10 lakh.

He says, “We are spreading our business to other states in order to assist more farmers in increasing their harvests. Several initiatives are being developed to raise awareness and boost the usage of organic compost in order to convince farmers to abandon the use of pesticides.”

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