Capitalising on the Swachh Bharat campaign, Chandigarh-based start-up Trestor is building a machine that can provide clean drinking water to people, especially the urban poor. However, to get 300 ml of water, a person has to put an used plastic bottle or can into the machine.

Developed in just 95 days by two final year students of IIT-Bombay — Anurag Meena and Satyendra Meena — the machine is being marketed by Trestor.

Leveraging technology to help create healthy, responsible communities, Trestor has developed this machine to involve people in keeping public places clean and provide them with ready access to clean drinking water.

Twin concerns After spending eight years in Canada, serial entrepreneur Kunal Dixit returned to India in 2014 to start Trestor after he sensed a huge opportunity in the waste management sector, and noted the Centre’s thrust on promoting hygiene. He also found out that there is a massive shortage of — and poor access to — clean drinking water in cities.

“Through our ‘Swachh Machine’, we intend to inculcate a culture of cleanliness among people by incentivising them for every used bottle or aluminium can they put in the machine, in lieu of which they will be rewarded with a digital value token called ‘trest’. This can also be exchanged for 300 ml of clean drinking water,” Dixit said.

He plans to roll out the initiative in partnership with government agencies and private companies in the coming months.

The ‘trest’ is available in the form of a digital token on the Trestor app. It can also be collected physically from the vending machine and used at select kirana stores.

The company plans to rope in malls, cinema halls, railway stations, parks and several other high-footfall areas for installation of these machines. At present, the initiative is being piloted in Chandigarh and Mumbai.

“We will roll out the same in Bengaluru and Delhi this year,” Dixit said, adding that the company is in talks with the concerned ministries.

At IIT-Bombay, where the Swachh Machine is being piloted, it has already helped reduce weekly plastic waste by over 10 kg.

With a storage and recycling unit at the bottom and an RO water filtration unit at the top, the machine is equipped with a 7-inch interactive touch screen and internet connectivity.

It also has an NFC and Bluetooth interface for unhindered connectivity and a notification system for administrators to alert them on usage and maintenance.

The recycling unit, which has separate compartments for plastic bottles and aluminium cans, can handle containers of a maximum capacity of 1 litre. The collected waste is crushed to minimise space.

Auto notification Once the compartment reaches 80 per cent of its storage capacity, an automated notification is sent to the machine administrator. The container is easily detachable and can be directly emptied in a carriage vehicle for recycling.

The company has already signed contracts with various third-party manufacturers for the production of the vending machine that costs ₹50,000 to ₹1 lakh.

The company plans to manufacture 5,000 of these machines every month.

Started with a project cost of $1.5 million, Trestor is at present a bootstrapped start-up but is looking at raising funds from PE and VC funds soon. The company’s mentors include Nandan Nilekani and Pramod Verma.