EVERY DAY, AN AUTOMATED waste segregator processes 150 tonnes of waste at a landfill site in Davangere, the sixth-largest city in Karnataka. Eight months ago, things were vastly different. Thousands of tonnes of waste had piled up, with almost 150 tonnes being added daily. “More than meagre budgets, the lack of awareness that waste can be converted into a resource is a bigger problem in these areas,” says Bengaluru-based Nidhish Shetty, who along with his friend Abhiman Shetty set up Green Nerds to build low-cost and low-volume waste-management solutions.

Quitting his job in 2011, Nidhish, an electrical engineer, began working on a prototype segregator “with the help of a few friends”, and by mid-2012, implemented the first project in Belapu panchayat of Udupi district in Karnataka. Today, Green Nerds offers a variety of screeners, segregators, compressors, shredders, and plastic waste processors to small cities and towns. The typical project cost for a large village is around Rs 30 lakh. Green Nerds is preparing to enter Arunachal Pradesh, where “many districts haven’t been able to even identify landfill sites,” says Abhiman Shetty, who takes care of business development. Up next: Making solar powered waste management machines.

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