“Emphasis should be placed on finding practical ways to enforce policies that already exist,” says Kushal Harjani, Co-founder of Doko Recyclers

Kushal Harjani has an entrepreneurial nature, a strong work ethic, and a desire to continuously innovate. He is passionate about designing sustainable and evidence-based practical solutions that combine his previous work experience in the private and social sector. He holds a master’s degree in Development Economics from the University of Goettingen, Germany and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Economics from Washington and Lee University, U.S.A. kushal@dokorecyclers.com 

About Doko Recyclers 

Doko Recyclers is a social enterprise that provides a range of waste management options to clients and households across Kathmandu Valley. Dedicated to collecting recyclable waste products which can then be recycled into new products, Doko believes in smart sustainability, fostering a circular economy, and protecting our health and environment.
Doko Recyclers’ services include doorstep pick-up of recyclables, upcycling materials that cannot be recycled in Nepal, and refurbishing furniture as well as electronic items. Doko also provides awareness workshops and technical consultation for rural waste management projects.
Doko also has an online sustainability store called ‘Tatwa Shop’ where people can buy sustainable lifestyle products, indoor and outdoor bins, refurbished electronics, and composting solutions. Utilizing innovative methods to bolster a recycling culture in the country, Doko aims to lessen the environmental, economic, and social impact of improper waste management.
Doko Recyclers services over 100 corporate, educational, and development institutions as well as 4,200 households, directly impacting 45,000 individuals and promoting a culture of recycling and sustainability. Every institution or community working with Doko attends awareness workshops to learn how to segregate waste at source properly, adopt sustainability practices (reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink consumption habits) to lower waste output and eventually carbon footprint. Doko has conducted over 200 awareness workshops reaching over 10,000 people since mid-2017 who now have a better understanding of waste management and recycling.

Here’s what Kushal Harjani says about promoting entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal:

What do you think is one of the most required policy changes in Nepal from the perspective of promoting the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal?

Currently, there needs to be a fundamental shift in policy makers’ mindset to support waste management practically. Rather than envisioning large privatization or radical modernization plans which have been stalled for over a decade, the government should focus on strengthening existing key players. There is currently a wide gap between the 3R policy set by the central government and increasing taxes by the local government who think the recycling business is highly profitable and hence should be heavily taxed. This discourages formal and informal waste entrepreneurs, reduces recycling efficiency, and increases landfilling. There should also be provision of land for waste entrepreneurs since land is limited in populated cities and due to lack of awareness, waste collection centers are often marginalised and subjected to evictions. Waste management is critical to a green and circular economy which should get the same benefits as agriculture including subsidized loans and tax waivers. To bolster an entrepreneurial ecosystem, we need to foster a circular economy with subsidies to industries that manufacture using 100% recyclable material. Finally, emphasis should be placed on finding practical ways to enforce policies that already exist. For example, the Solid Waste Management Act of 2011 states that dry and wet waste should be collected and processed separately, or that plastics below 20 microns should be banned which is not happening currently. Instead of trying to enforce such policies forcefully, the government should cooperate with the private and development sector to understand and solve issues that persist.

What impact will such policy change yield for the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal?

Friendlier economic policies would encourage more entrepreneurs to invest further in waste management infrastructure, systems, and advocacy. Policies that encourage industries to use fully recyclable materials as inputs would lead to reduced landfilling as waste from one industry is used as inputs in another. In fact, one of the central pillars of a circular economy is feeding materials back into the system, which can only be achieved through an organized collection of waste materials and a strong recycling industry. Increased scope of recycling spurred by lower taxation. At present, only high value items are typically salvaged such as paper, aluminium, metal etc. Most plastics are carelessly dumped because of their negative recycling value where the cost of recycling is greater than the cost of production with virgin materials. Composite materials for example, wrappers with aluminum lining used most commonly for good packaging, are one of our biggest challenges due to its negative recycling value. This is also seen with  electronic waste, which is either dumped or illegally sent to India for recycling. To prevent this from happening, lower taxes and other economic incentives would encourage enterprises to recycle such low value items and prevent landfilling. Multi-stakeholder consultation, rather than a top-down enforcement approach is essential for the formation and implementation of effective and sustainable policy, one which would encourage entrepreneurs to create more opportunities in the country.   

As a part of Global Entrepreneurship Week 2021, Samriddhi Foundation asked Nepali entrepreneurs what they think is the most pressing policy change to promote the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Nepal. In this series, Samriddhi Foundation will feature two entrepreneurs a day through the #GEW2021 week, starting from November 8 to November 14, 2021.