Author – Rashi Akanksha
In today’s world, most of us are busy with our daily lives and we hardly have time to think about the environment around us. Cleaning staff and sanitary specialists from municipal companies take on the important task of keeping our surroundings clean. Garbage from packaged food wrappers, brochures and plastic bags ends up on streets, parks and elsewhere in the city. Sanitary workers take on the task of picking up these garbage pieces from the ground, which is an extremely tedious work and is quite troublesome. This is one of the most difficult and selfless tasks for which they are neither recognized nor rewarded for what they deserve.
The idea – wrapper selection
In 2014, brothers Mukul Malviya and Diptanshu Malviya observed a middle-aged street sweeper picking up garbage bags, scraps of paper and empty packaging lying around by hand. They were shocked to see how rigorous the task was. The man had to bend down and take out the small pieces manually each time. This gave rise to the potential idea of creating a device that could pick up trash without much effort. This was the origin of “Wrapper Picker”.
The wrapper picker machine is the first of its kind to have two spiral combs located underneath on a flexible rotating base. When these combs rotate in opposite directions, there is good friction between the comb tips, which lift the litter off the ground. This rubbish is collected in a box placed at the top in the shape of a cuboid. The trash can has an open flap at the bottom that catches the dirt. The machine has a handle that is long enough to be operated easily. The comb brushes are only a few millimeters above the ground, which prevents picking up grit. It’s ideal for storing paper plates, napkins and mugs after an al fresco lunch or dinner.
Blessings for plumbing workers
Mukul and Diptanshu designed their Wrapper Picker device to perform this difficult task of collecting waste and make the lives of the sanitation workers easier. This device was developed as a small school project, so it was not considered for a large-scale commercial implementation. Considering their innovative idea, Mukul and Diptanshu were awarded the prestigious IGNITE prize in 2015. They also won a 2017 national award from the National Innovation Foundation – an autonomous body of the Department of Science and Technology (DST).
The National Innovation Foundation is now providing the duo with the necessary institutional support needed to scale up the wrapper-picker machine and reach potential buyers. The machine could also be monetized through some changes proposed by the NIF. According to Diptanshu, the project is in the final stages of patent filing and will require some necessary modifications before it can go to market. They have not yet decided on the price of the machine.
The wrapper picker device has two variants depending on the purpose of use. One would be for household use and would have a small garbage collector. The other would be for commercial use in large industries or commercial establishments that require a larger garbage collector.
Unlike vacuum cleaners, which require high voltage electricity to operate, the Wrapper Picker is a rechargeable, battery powered device that uses only 24 volts and an 8 amp battery that can run the device for up to 8 hours. The device is an eco-friendly innovation as it can also run on solar energy, which is also a big step towards Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’s campaign. The machine could be really helpful for removing the small bits of waste that are often eaten by animals or clogging drains.
It’s also a great initiative over the thousands of cleaners who manually pick up each piece of litter by bending down as it reduces human effort. The machine is easy to use and maintain, and handy enough to be moved to the desired location. Both the dirt traps and the spiral combs are removable and can therefore be easily changed. Wheels attached to it make it easy to move. The biggest advantage of this wrapper picker is that it is battery operated, so it does not need a constant power supply.
However, the wrapper picker is still under research and development before it hits the market. The device’s recycle bin needs to be cleaned regularly. The machine is only efficient for picking up small pieces of paper and paper cups, so it can’t work with other heavier or larger litter. It doesn’t serve the purpose of separating garbage, although that could be achieved with some modifications, as noted by Diptanshu. The machine is inefficient when picking up wet waste.