PC Culture Housing Society, a housing society on road 3, Shekhertek, Mohammadpur follows waste segregation, maintaining separate bins for wet and dry wastes. From residents to the househelps/keepers, everyone does their part to maintain this simple yet effective rule.
Not only are the househelps trained to separate organic waste from solid, but they are also trained in handcrafting beautiful crafts from the solid waste. Out of plastic and solid waste they make curios, jewelleries, cupholders, wooden palettes and what not. Also, they make a profit out of upcycling the waste. The upcycled products are eventually marketed out to the local market. This massively helps the female househelps to earn a little extra by selling their crafts made from solid wastes like plastic.
This whole process is facilitated by Pcycle - a social enterprise providing smart solutions of waste management by recycling waste materials. Led by a group of young people and founded in 2021, Pcycle works with local communities to ensure environmental sustainability, gender inclusion and economic empowerment in Bangladesh.
The team of 27 people is diverse. They are working consistently to find solutions that fit into the somewhat unexplored area of waste management in our country.
According to Mehedi Hasan Bappy, the founder of Pcycle, most people in our country are not aware of the importance of daily waste segregation, disposal and recycling. To find a solution they initiated their 'Clime Plus' project to separate the biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste in their area.
The team aims to build a waste free ecosystem by upcycling and recycling waste. Not just solid waste, but they also collect organic waste and turn it into fertiliser. In addition, the production process to marketise them is in progress.
Apart from creating ecosystems in the housing societies they also distributed over 80 waste separation bins among local stores in Dhaka city for prototyping.
Although it is a great initiative, how difficult was it to make the residents and househelps aware of it and follow the instructions
Bappy admitted it was difficult but the house owners, however, were fortunately accommodating.
Aftab Hossain, a resident of the housing society said, "It will help our community to separate their daily waste in a proper way, to recycle the non-biodegradable waste. Moreover, we can use the biodegradable waste as compost for further use. During my stay abroad, I maintained waste segregation myself and I think this can be an ideal waste management model for Dhaka city.
In addition, to create awareness, the team has placed waste separation process stickers at different locations in Dhaka
Pcycle is actively creating awareness via social media as well. Through their virtual campaigns like #WasteInMyBag they encourage netizens to store their daily non-biodegradable waste instead of littering them on the streets and post them on social media to encourage others.
Through Pcycle's campaigns, they have so far provided training to around 650 Young Activists at a community level to create awareness on climate change, plastic pollution and waste management. And later on, with the assistance of these young leaders the team has been able to create awareness among around 700 people with regard to waste separation.
Labonno Latif, a Community Youth Leader, said "During Pcycle Young Climate Advocates training sessions, I came to know that Pcycle is promoting sustainable crafting products and upcycling different waste products. As I am interested in this matter I started to make different kinds of crafting products using fabrics, plastic, paper, tissue, rope and so on.
Pcycle promotes these products in the marketplace and shares the returns with us. Like myself, more than 25 youth leaders are with this project and we have provided training to marginal women as well."
And with the help of youth leaders like Labonno, they have managed to train more than 75 women from marginalised communities through providing necessary training and the right set of tools to make handicrafts from the recyclable waste and by selling them on the Pcycle platform, which has been named PCraft.
He continued, "We wanted to create a model community in terms of waste management. And we figured that the househelps are the primary stakeholder to manage waste. If we can train and create awareness among them it will be more effective. We decided to show them the benefits of it so that they would practise it. Gradually they have crafted hair bands from clothes, flower vases from plastic and many more."
To sell their products, Pcycle is also affiliated with different local NGOs and development agencies. Also, with the help of different social media platforms, they have sold around 80,000 products so far.
Bappy was always passionate about planning, creating impact and profit with a purpose, and that has always been his motto.
Bappy shared with us, "During my undergraduate studies, I had the opportunity to participate in the WAVE Foundation's Active Citizens Youth Leadership Training, which was supported by the British Council.
It helped me to initiate my own Social Action Project (SAP) and interact with a diverse group of young people. While working on my project, I gained the opportunity to attend the British Council's Training of Facilitators on SDG 8 and SDG 13 back in 2019. The facilitation ignited my passion to turn my social action project into a social enterprise in order to make it a sustainable venture, while addressing a social issue."
During the Covid-19 pandemic, to materialise his ideas he started researching extensively on developing smart waste management solutions; he was determined to develop smart waste management solutions through recycling waste materials.
He added, "Later, I thought of implementing a few prototypes at some places as well as creating awareness on developing smart waste management solutions. Little did I know that this process will carry forward to bring my dream project Pcycle to life."
Through Pcycle he aims to bring behavioural change in terms of waste generation and management to bring benefits for the society in order to ensure development in the value chain.
He continued, "We also believe in producing organic waste, rather than fertiliser produced by other means. Pcycle aims to develop the culture of both dry and waste recycling as well as upcycle to pave a new way of generating monetary value. We want to expand on the types and amount of dry waste so that we can recycle and capitalise on resources that are usually ending up in the landfill."
So far, they have won the COP26 Youth Engagement Challenge Fund by the British Council for the Social Action Project Clime Plus, awarded as the 1st Runner-up of Climate Hackathon by Youth Empowerment in Climate Action Platform (YECAP) and 2nd Runner-up of Youth Co:Lab Bangladesh Springboard Programme 4.0.
In their social media they are currently connected to 10,000 people. You can find more about Pcycle's campaigns on their Facebook and Instagram page where they showcase the craft collections for sale.
Co-created in 2017 by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Citi Foundation, Youth Co:Lab aims to establish a common agenda for Asia-Pacific countries to invest in and empower youth to accelerate implementation of the SDGs through leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship. The Springboard Programme of Youth Co:Lab Bangladesh is a platform for young social entrepreneurs to contribute towards achieving the SDGs through tailored mentorship and wide-ranging national and global networking opportunities.