Indian clean energy start-up and Postcode Lottery Green Challenge nominee Citizengage is a platform that builds and operates a supply chain network to convert waste into resources like energy, compost, and recycled products. We talked to founder and CEO Pronita Saxena.

Can you tell us about how Citizengage operates?Citizengage portret Pronita Saxena
“Citizengage manages a platform that controls how waste is produced, stored, transferred, and processed so that we work to ensure that the maximum amount of waste is recycled or reused.

At the moment over 86% of our customers' waste never touches a dumpsite or landfill. Since about 60% of it is organic, we are able to feed biogas plants that produce electricity or fuel for commercial kitchens and vehicles or pig farms and composting facilities. The remainder that is recyclable waste like paper, plastic, metal, glass, etc. is recycled through our network of collectors, aggregators, and factories that are able to repurpose this waste.

We are able to engage gated residential communities, restaurants, brands, and businesses to implement our standard of infrastructure and behaviours to manage waste within their premises to allow for recycling. Then, our network of collection teams and vehicles is dispatched to collect these different streams and take them to various facilities for secondary sorting and processing. Finally, we are able to distribute end-recycled products back to the same network for consumption. In this way, it's a truly closed loop that allows consumers to waste smart and choose to consume recycled products, controlling their sustainability footprint through direct, traceable actions.​”

What are current numbers in India’s waste situation?
​“In India, over 90% of the waste is dumped or landfilled. If we continue at this pace, by 2041 we will need a landfill the size of Delhi NCR. The top 15 cities spend at least $15 billion each year on this system of just transporting and dumping waste. Probably these data are unreliable and likely to be under-reported, given that there is no metering system anywhere in the world that allows us to study how much waste comes from each collection point or what the recycling potential of a single bag is.

This is why we started Citizengage in India - if we can figure out a system here, not only can we have huge local impact but the learnings can be applied globally to this industry that's positioned to grow to over $300 billion by 2023.”

How will Citizengage accomplish to reduce CO2 emissions?
“Our business prevents the emissions of CO2 by ensuring that the maximum amount of waste is converted into energy and recycled products rather than being dumped or burned. We've already established that 50 of our restaurant customers abate 50 tons of CO2 emissions each quarter. As we're expanding to serve breweries, hotels, malls, and corporate campuses, this number will only grow, as the volume of waste produced at these facilities is much larger.

We work with the city's largest waste producers and energy consumers to make their operations more efficient and sustainable, developing policy, training, metrics, and performance monitoring tools that allow them to control what happens to their install customised and integrated solar, wind, and biogas solutions to maximise their transition to renewables.

We are called Citizengage because we believe that engaging citizens to participate in better systems is the only way we can truly combat climate change. No single technology or solution will solve this problem. We need to come together and design better, consume smarter, and insist on data and performance reports.”

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