Monday, 30 October 2017

Measuring our YOLO Compost Tumbler's social impact

Last week I submitted an application for Chivas Regal's 'The Venture' business awards. "We're looking for innovative start-ups that use business to solve global social or environmental challenges," their website stated.
"The Chivas Venture is a global search to find and support the most promising start-ups with the potential to succeed financially and make a positive impact on the lives of others. One social entrepreneur from each participating country will make it to the global final and have a chance to win a share of $1 million in funding."
It took me four hours to complete the application and in the process I wrote almost 3,000 words. One of the questions asked about the social impact of our product and asked for figures, if possible. As I had no idea how to measure the social impact of our compost tumblers, I turned to Google. A response in one of the dozen pieces I looked through suggested looking at my customers and assessing where they were before the intervention and what changed afterwards.

 Our YOLO Compost Tumbler solves a problem for our customers: what to do with their organic waste. Many people in apartments, townhouses, estates and retirement complexes cannot have compost heaps (due to space or rule restrictions). Those on properties with sufficient space deal with other issues like pests (rodents, snakes, monkeys, dogs), complexity of heap management and lack of interest that prevents them from composting their organic waste.

Before my customers bought their YOLO Compost Tumblers, their organic waste (kitchen and garden) went out on the street for collection by their municipality on trash day. These bags of organic waste would then end up at landfill sites where they rot anaerobically, under tons of garbage, to give off methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

 After my customers receive their YOLO Compost Tumbler, their organic waste goes into the tumbler - instead of the trash. The contents get regularly mixed and aerated, and around three months after emptying their first tub of kitchen cuttings into  the first shell, my customers are able to dig a shell of nutrient-rich compost into their gardens, gift to a friend or donate to a community gardening project. That they get nutrient-rich compost out is very much a positive byproduct of YOLO's problem-solving function.

As the YOLO Compost Tumbler has two shells, one will be active and the other maturing so after the first shell has been filled, the customer enters a cycle where every six to eight weeks they're emptying a shell of matured compost.

 How can we allocate numbers to this process?

 Consider 100 YOLO Compost Tumblers. Assuming that between our users of small, medium and large units, they may average one black bag of organic waste (kitchen & garden) per week during the year (more waste in summer, less in winter). For each customer, that equates to 52 black bags a year that would have been put on the street for municipal collection.

For 100 customers, this is 5,200 bags in a one-year period. Accounting for only 100 units, we can already see the social impact and potential for incredible growth with every YOLO Compost Tumbler that finds a happy home.

 This is also about more than the actual organic waste materials. This is about the 5,200 less garbage bags that have to be picked up by municipal workers. This is about the 5,200 less bags of waste that are dumped at landfill sites. This is also about the 5,200 black plastic bags will no longer be used once-off and discarded.

 In addition, every other form of waste recycling has a long chain of interactions that have to happen. Plastics, for example, can be separated at home and put out for informal recycling collectors to pick up or these can be dropped at a recycling bin or centre. At the recycling centre, plastics are further separated. They're compacted and transported to a facility that can turn the waste plastic into plastic pellets - or the like - that another company can purchase to manufacture products from the recycled material.

With a YOLO and your own organic waste, no further intervention is necessary. Neither collectors, transporters, nor manufacturers. Kitchen cuttings and garden material decompose inside the YOLO shell and a product results - mature compost. This can be dug directly into the garden to put valuable nutrients back into the soil for our vegetables, flowers and other plants to absorb.

This is the measurable social impact of our YOLO Compost Tumblers. And we're only just beginning.

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