How we got to where we are and where we came from
January 2014: The idea
While living in Ahmedabad, India, for a BCG secondment 2014, Silvia visits the local landfill. From the mountain which her friends called ‘Mount Doom’, she oversees the entire city of almost 6 million people. Shocked by the sheer magnitude of the environmental catastrophe and the people working and living on top of it, she decides she wants to look for a solution.
Niels had been working for Van Gansewinkel (now Renewi), the leading waste management company in North-West Europe for 8 years. He wants to use his knowledge as waste and cradle-to-cradle expert and his entrepreneurial spirit to come up with a solution.
November 2014: First prize
We win the runner-up prize in ‘The Partnership Election’ with our idea to bring waste pickers from the landfill to people’s doorsteps to collect and recycle their waste.
July 2015: Trip to India
On a self-organised ‘trade mission’ to India, we discover enormous potential for our idea. While the Indian government is pushing for a ‘Clean India’, many bottom-up initiatives have started great ground work.
June 2016: SweepSmart B.V.
SweepSmart is born to bring these initiatives to the next level and offer professional waste solutions to Indian governments and companies.
November 2016: The Pilot
During a four-month pilot, we upgrade two existing sites into best-in-class facilities and set up an aggregation centre. The conveyor belt and performance dashboard, uniquely designed for small centres operated by waste pickers, are born.
April 2017: Rohith
We meet our Indian project management hero Rohith, who is managing the teams and ground work.
May 2017: The Minister
Impressed by our work, Bangalore Municipality expresses interest to upgrade another 10 facilities, while Dutch Foreign Minister Koenders sorts waste with the waste pickers during his visit to Bangalore.
February 2018: Making progress
SweepSmart has done several projects, like "E-City segregates!" in Electronics city.
SweepSmart India is born, funding is secured from an angel lender, paperwork is prepared for the Bangalore project and we design a Smart Waste Centre IT system with a group of TU Delft students.
May 2018: Rob and Indonesia
Another hero knocks on our door. After seeing the waste situation on a volunteering trip to Pondicherry, Rob decides to use his vast body of waste management knowledge to tackle this challenge. He is managing and growing the Asian business from India.
Starting with a fantastic challenge: our first project in Indonesia for Systemiq in Summer 2018!
The Plastic Soup is one everyone’s mind, and we hold the key to close the tap: setting up waste collection and recycling infrastructure in countries like India and Indonesia, including the informal sector.
We look for corporates, funders, local governments and other partners to scale up our work.
Want to join hands? Contact us
Read more about our projects
Read more about our lovely partners
What's with the name and logo?
"The name fits the Indian political context. Prime Minister Modi announced "Swachh Bharath Abhiyan", the Clean India campaign, sweeping the street with a broomstick. And he wants to build 100 Smart Cities in India. We are helping him to sweep the streets in a smart way."
"The two S's in the logo represent our vision and way of working. The blue S stands for the more rigorous European style, while the green S represents the Indian "organised chaos" of the informal recycling sector. It is made up of hand-written waste stream names somewhat organised. The two S's intertwine, like we work!
The green, blue and red stand for the colour-coding of the waste streams."