Ugandan digital entrepreneur Martin Tumusiime developed the ‘Uber for Waste’ app in response to limited official removal and management of growing amounts of waste in the capital, Kampala.
Each person in Uganda produces one kilogram of solid waste per day, according to the World Bank In Kampala, this equates to roughly 1.5 million kilograms of waste per day. African countries south of the Sahara comprise the world’s fastest urbanising region, with the population of towns and cities expected to double over the next 25 years. Only 40% of waste is currently disposed of in properly designed and managed landfills, with more than 60% going to open dumpsites. In some African cities, up to 90% of waste is dumped in the open, with much of it burned and releasing toxins.
Yo-Waste uses technology to address challenges with official waste management capacity. It supports informal waste collectors and organises dependable waste collection to contribute to cleaner urban communities.
The downloadable mobile and Unstructured Supplementary Service Data-based app uses routing and scheduling algorithms to optimise waste collection routes, which reduces costs and improves efficiency. It has GPS location technology to pinpoint collection points, which overcomes the challenge of people not having official addresses in informal residential areas.
Yo-Waste’s customers include homes, businesses and waste collection agents. The platform provides convenience, reliability and accountability, with a live chat and rating system for agents.
A customer support service advises users of upcoming collections and manages invoicing. The app has a calendar of collection days and sends reminders to customers. Collections can be regular or one-off.
Agents with a profile on Yo-Waste, and who can handle at least three tonnes a day, are assigned collection points through geo-mapping, with information about traffic and proximity of disposal sites. Customers pay US$3 for weekly collections of a single bag, and up to US$8.40 for three bags.
By 2022, Yo-Waste had 42 waste collectors on its platform and was serving more than 1,000 subscribers, 97% of them households. It aims to expand to 5,000 users by mid-2024. Tumusiime hopes to develop his product with further data analytics to better account for traffic, weather and distance.
We want to revolutionise waste management in Africa with technology solutions. With Yo-Waste we have developed a unique service that can contribute to the economy and build cleaner, healthier and more sustainable urban environments.