Baus Taka’s New Mobile App Boosts Waste Management and Recycling in Mombasa

Baus Taka
Baus Taka

Mombasa's Baus Taka app offers users a way to have waste collected, recycled and to earn money from it. But, challenges remain.

Autor*in Joseph Maina, 04.16.24

Translation Luisa Ilse:

Mombasa, a large Kenyan city bordering the Indian Ocean, has long faced the challenge of plastic pollution and inefficient waste management practices. Much of the city’s waste is collected and dumped indiscriminately in public dump sites, without regard for proper categorisation, as well as the value that recycling can bring to a community. 

Many waste collection services set their own rigid terms and routines for waste collection, leaving little room for clients to decide when and how their waste can be collected. 

This led Baus Taka Enterprise, a solid waste management firm, to develop a new approach that would enable property owners and the wider community to take charge of their waste collection at their convenience, separate waste into various appropriate categories, and make some money from their efforts while at it. 

Money for garbage? Baus Taka incentivises waste collection

The result was the Baus Taka app, a mobile application that enables users to book waste management services on the go. The enterprise has also incentivised the service with cash handouts and a redeemable points system, making it appeal more widely to a larger market, regardless of their knowledge or perspective on recycling.

Registered in March 2021, Baus Taka aims to promote a circular economy, marine conservation and community health while also providing job opportunities to women and youth from underserved communities in Mombasa County. The firm also enables the community to gain a meaningful income through plastic waste trading.

With the Baus Taka mobile application available on both Playstore and Appstore, as well as via USSD, users can easily book waste collection services directly from their smartphones.

When asked about the motivation behind developing the Baus Taka app, Dr Tayba Hatimy, Co-founder and CEO of Baus Taka Enterprise, explained that it stemmed from a combination of environmental concerns, interest in community engagement and a desire to leverage technology for social impact. 

“We recognised the urgent need for innovative solutions to address these issues and mitigate their detrimental impact on public health, the environment, and marine ecosystems,” said Dr Hatimy.

Making waste collection as simple as 1, 2, 3 is essential for uptick

Using the mobile platform involves a series of simple steps: registration, service booking, confirmation from Baus Taka verifying receipt of the request and an allocation of the user’s location to the nearest available waste collection team by the system’s backend, which is based on GPS tracking.

BAUS TAKA
Baus Taka
Dr Tayba – CEO and Co-founder of Dr Tayba of Baus Taka Enterprise

This is followed by collection, in which the assigned waste collector arrives at the user’s location to collect the waste. Users are notified in advance of the arrival time to ensure they are prepared for the collection. In the final stage, once the waste has been collected, users receive a notification confirming the completion of the service.

“Overall, the Baus Taka app simplifies the waste collection process by providing users with a convenient platform to book services, and ensure timely and efficient disposal of waste, contributing to a cleaner and healthier environment,” Dr Tayba Hatimy, Co-founder and CEO of Baus Taka Enterprise, told RESET. 

Dr. Hatimy added that the Baus Taka App plays a crucial role in plastic segregation and trading by providing a platform for users to effectively manage and monetise their recyclable plastic waste.

On plastic segregation, users can use the app to categorise and segregate different types of plastic waste, such as PET bottles, HDPE containers, and PVC materials. They can input the quantity and type of plastic waste they have for disposal, or donation ensuring proper segregation and recycling. Besides the cash incentives, users accumulate redeemable points which can be redeemed for outpatient health services.

 Using local language to connect to communities

Alongside the mobile app, Baus Taka has developed a USSD (Unstructured Supplementary Service Data) platform in the local language, Kiswahili, specifically tailored for informal waste managers and low-income community members. 

“This USSD platform provides a simple and accessible way for individuals without smartphones or internet access to participate in waste management and recycling efforts,” stated Dr. Hatimy. 

She explained that the USSD platform for informal waste managers extends the reach of Baus Taka’s waste management initiatives by providing an accessible and inclusive solution for individuals lacking access to smartphones or internet connectivity.

“By leveraging USSD technology, we aim to empower informal waste managers and community members to play a meaningful role in promoting sustainable waste management practices and environmental conservation efforts within their communities.”

The founders were further inspired by the potential for waste management initiatives to empower local communities and create economic opportunities, particularly for women and marginalised, vulnerable groups. 

By actively involving households, corporations, waste collectors and recyclers in the waste management process, Baus Taka aimed to foster a sense of ownership and collective responsibility for environmental conservation. 

With the development of the app, Baus Taka harnesses the power of mobile technology to optimise waste collection, segregation, and recycling processes, thereby promoting efficiency, transparency, and accountability.

“Overall, the Baus Taka app serves as a comprehensive solution for plastic segregation and trading, empowering users to efficiently manage their recyclable plastic waste while contributing to a more sustainable and circular economy,” stated Dr. Hatimy.

She cited user adoption and awareness as challenges facing the app, saying achieving widespread acceptance remains a challenge. As for areas of improvement, she identified the need for offline functionality to help more users, particularly in remote and underserved regions. 

Dr. Hatimy further stated that leveraging data analytics and insights can help identify trends, patterns, and areas for improvement in waste management practices. In addition, there is a need for enhanced community engagement strategies to help raise awareness about the app, promote user adoption, and foster a sense of ownership and accountability among users.

©
Edible Electronics: Reducing Electronic Waste With Digestible Robots and Nutritious Drones

Ever heard of edible electronics? Sounds like a contradiction in terms, but it could be a solution to reducing electronic waste, among other benefits.

Vegan Meat: A Climate-Friendly and Healthy Alternative?

Meat substitutes are booming - but what are vegan substitutes actually made from? And, are they actually nutritious?

Fresher and More Sustainable: 4 Tips on How to Shorten Your Shopping Supply Chains

Short supply chains are more sustainable and lead to fresher food! RESET presents 6 digital solutions for shorter supply chains.

“Agriculture Can Do So Much More Than Produce Food”: We Interview Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura

Agriculture primarily produces food, but can also help to protect the climate. We spoke to Prof. Dr Sonoko Bellingrath-Kimura about how digitalisation can assist.

Our Digital Carbon Footprint: What’s the Environmental Impact of the Online World?

Every single search query, every streamed song or video and every email sent, billions of times over all around the world - it all adds up to an ever-increasing global demand for electricity, and to rising CO2 emissions too. Our increasing reliance on digital tools has an environmental impact that's becoming increasingly harder to ignore.

This Logistics Tool Boosts Humanitarian Aid and Drastically Reduces Costs for the International Red Cross

The International Red Cross provides vital medical supplies to those in need. A logistics tool is enhancing their intricate work, resulting in significant cost savings.

Leading the German Baking Trade Into the Future With BackDigital

BackDigital's overall digital strategy is adapting the bakery trade to emerging challenges - while at the same time preserving tradition.

Torge Peters
We Investigate the Role Digitalisation Plays in Sustainable Agriculture

Climate change poses major challenges for agriculture. Here we ask about the importance of digitalisation in creating sustainable agriculture.