Daily Dump: Waste Management Design
Posted in Models by Kate Archdeacon on July 1st, 2010
From the case study by Bryan Boyer & Justin W. Cook for Helsinki Design Lab:
With a background in entrepreneurship, and experience co-founding one of India’s leading design schools, Poonam Bir Kasturi was no stranger to big challenges when she began to take note of the amount of waste filling Bangalore’s streets. Running a business and even creating a new school from scratch were successful projects built on Kasturi’s creativity and intellect, but as structural challenges, they were known quantities—familiar institutions for which many models existed. To address her growing interest in Bangalore’s waste, Kasturi would have to redefine the boundaries of the problem, while also designing the right kind of approach to the challenge. With the ultimate goal of improving India’s ability to manage its waste, Kasturi created the Daily Dump, a business that offers composting and recycling products and services actionable on an individual level, yet primed for coordination in a larger network of action. In the wake of failures left by many top-heavy, centralized approaches to waste management, The Daily Dump’s bottom-up, instant on solution is a powerful alternative.
At a basic level, the efficacy of waste management depends on three key factors: the attitude of individuals, the practices that those individuals engage in, and the extent to which municipal services enable and support these practices and attitudes. Failure in any one of these areas damages a community’s ability to manage their waste. Similarly, isolated accomplishments within one part of the system will not yield significant results without coordinated accomplishments on the other factors.
The Daily Dump was born out of recognition that Bangalore was a messier city for all of its growth and that the municipality and various NGOs attempting to fix the situation were stumbling. Due to evident corruption and bureaucratic sluggishness, efforts to enhance the centralized waste infrastructure were deemed by Kasturi as an important long-term effort, but one in need of a more immediate counterpart.
With municipal services faltering, Kasturi’s focus turned to attitudes and practices. The Daily Dump was established as a for-profit social enterprise in order to give the organization a high degree of flexibility in pursuing their goal of improving urban waste management in India. Free from any obligation to donors, the organization is able to change tack quickly to act on opportunities as they emerge. Using the market as a persistent reality check, the growth of the Daily Dump comes at a relatively slow pace but is fundamentally durable and road tested.
From the outset, the Daily Dump was designed as a business with three critical aspects: it would promote waste management generally rather than its own products, it would provide education in addition to tools, and it would offer a “clone” model which allows like-minded parties to duplicate the business.
Read the full case study on Helsinki Design Lab.