- District Administration of Uttarakhand & Recykal implement India’s first Digital Deposit Refund System.
- Over 1.63 lakh bottles stopped from entering into Himalayan trenches and water bodies.
- Initiative generated new jobs & an additional income source for the local community.
- Local business, hotel associations & trade unions are major contributors to success.
In order to manage the problem of plastic littering on the Kedarnath pilgrimage trek, the Rudraprayag District Administration in Uttarakhand and Recykal implemented a unique Digital Deposit Refund System to nudge behavioural change among citizens. The success of the initiative led to it securing the Digital India Awards 2022 under the category of ‘Digital Initiatives in collaboration with Startups’. The President of India, Smt Droupadi Murmu, will be bestowing the award on the 7th of January 2023 at New Delhi.
“Recykal is happy the Digital Deposit Refund System has received recognition at a national level & we thank the Uttarakhand government, local unions, associations & citizens for their relentless support. Together, we aim to not only bring traceability within the waste value chain but also nudge behavioural change, and in the process incentivise the local Safai Mitra community through additional income sources,” says Abhay Deshpande, CEO & Founder, Recykal.
Recykal’s Digital DRS
- Pay Rs. 10 Deposit on Purchase of plastic packaged items
- Anyone who returns the packaging gets refund of Rs.10
- Unique Packaging is identified for refund with Recykal’s Digital Technology
Under the Digital Deposit Refund System, tourists/citizens paid a deposit amount (Rs. 10) while purchasing products with plastic packaging and received the refund via cash or UPI on responsibly-returning the plastic bottle at one of the many Deposit Refund Centres set up by Recykal. While this nudged citizens/tourists to dispose of waste responsibly, it also allowed the local community of waste pickers an additional source of income as they retrieved littered QR-coded plastic items & earned a reward for their behaviour.
With the help of the local district administration, Recykal worked with over 733 shops & strategically placed over 12 deposit refund centres to bring traceability to plastic material. Tech adoption was ensured through various awareness programs & aggressive educational marketing. Additionally, the local administration mandated the regions as ‘plastic litter-free zones’. Field teams were also deployed to ensure adherence to rules and proper disposal of plastic material. (The positive response to the initiative in Kedarnath led to it being implemented in other regions of Uttarakhand, like Chopta & Tungnath.)
As a result of the Digital Deposit Refund System initiative, a total of 1.63 lakh plastic bottles were successfully stopped from entering into Himalayan trenches and water bodies like the river Mandakini & Ganges. This is truly a testament to the power of collaboration that showcases the impact that entities can bring by joining hands to solve a problem.