Wastezon Smart Bin

Wastezon provides waste technological infrastructures that help Urban households to accumulate the value from their Waste.

Photo of Ghislain Irakoze
1 1

Written by

Eligibility Criteria

  • I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria and terms of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge and that I am eligible to apply.
  • I am 18 years old or older.

Initiative's representative name

Ghislain Irakoze

Initiative's representative date of birth


Initiative's representative gender

  • Man

Headquarters location: country

  • Rwanda

Headquarters location: city


Where are you making a difference?

Kigali, Rwanda

Website or social media url(s)

https://www.wastezon.com/ https://www.facebook.com/Wastezon/ https://twitter.com/Wastezon1

Date Started


Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working toward the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget : What is your current yearly budget for the initiative?

  • €50k - €100k

Organization Type

  • For-profit

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this project to succeed.

We envision a waste-free world. This conviction drives our actions and ambitions and defines us as a team that wants to spearhead innovations in the Circular Economy. We urgently took this personal mission of innovating for waste management, after our best friend survived a garbage landslide accident. Combining this tragic situation with real statistics, we took a strong decision of changing the narratives. We launched a campaign called “Recycle for Environment”, we trained more than 250 students to recycle plastics into creatives. The outcome of the campaign inspired us to explore the technological innovations that could efficiently solve waste management issues, and hence we launched Wastezon App and Smart Bins.

2. The problem: What problem are you helping to solve?

According to the World Bank, In Africa, over 90% of organic waste is often disposed of in unregulated dumps and or openly burned while 7 in 10 Low-income households don’t access the waste collection services, leaving them exposed to sanitary threats such as Unsafe drinking water and polluted air. As organic waste can be potentially turned into fertilizers, over 75 Million Smallholder Africa farmers can’t access fertilizers resulting in soli nutrients depletion and low harvest.

3. Your solution: How are you working to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

With a vision of creating a waste-free and food-secure world, Wastezon launched a win-win solution that responds to both Urban households’ waste collection needs and the growing demand for fertilizers. The Wastezon Smart Bin automatically sort biodegradable from non-biodegradable waste and track the fertility levels by instilling enzymes to speed up the decomposition of the organic waste which are sold to farmers as pure organic fertilizer through the Wastezon App. Being tailored for its capability, productivity, and configurations, Wastezon Smart bins can precisely meet each households’ waste volume while also accommodating the significant number of farmers' organic fertilizer demand. By leveraging the technology, we want to speed up the collection, sorting, traceability while speeding up the logistics.

4. Innovation: How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solve the problem?

Currently, Private operators provide door-to-door waste collection. With their own trucks, they move from house to house once a week or once in two weeks. Their unregulated waste collection service causes threats to the sanitation as children, especially, scavenging on waste at disposal and collection sites. Wastezon Smart Bin has a great advantage as it allows automated waste separation at the source, tracks waste decomposition while giving household real-time data to organize the waste collection and gets the value from their waste by selling organic waste to the farmers.

5. Collaboration: How does your initiative seek to bring key players together to preserve biodiversity?

We leverage on the Monthly Community Cleaning Works, to advocate for the best Waste management practices while involving citizens in the project. Part of ensuring fertilizer quality produced by the Wastezon Smart Bin, we partnered with Research institutions to improve fertilizer efficiency. We also partner with the Regulatory bodies to ensure effective waste management collection.

6. Impact: how has your project made a difference so far — in terms of both business outputs and social impact? How do you plan on measuring progress?

So far Wastezon has 141 households and 55 farmers who are using Wastezon App and the Smart Bin for efficient Waste sorting, decomposition, and collection. We aim to achieve the following Impact: Environment conservation (SDG 11, 12,13,14): Wastezon is creating a waste-free Africa. As 4 household smart bins provide 25 kg of fertilizers, they divert over 96 CO2 Emissions from destroying the planet. Agriculture harvest (SDG 1&2): we track the farmers who use our app to buy organic fertilizers to measure the contribution of organic wastes on their produce. Receiving 5 Kilograms of fertilizers boosts 15% of the seasonal harvest.

7. Growth strategies: what are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Continentally, Wastezon targets more than 500 Million Urban Households and Over 1 million businesses that generate more than 62 Million of waste per year. Our first targeted Coastal areas (Dar-es-Salaam and Mombasa) generate 5 Million tons and only 30% is recovered. Due to our simple Business model and Technical flexibility, Wastezon has a competitive advantage of expanding in emerging markets and expand the user base. Such Urban households need quick waste collection services, effective waste traceability, and transparency in waste price valuation.

8. Creating shared value: How does your initiative create value for society? Or different stakeholders?

Wastezon provides a win-win advantage for both Society and Environment. By providing households with a Smart bin that helps them to sort and decompose waste, and arrange Waste collection, we are ensuring the possible urban household sanitation while also helping farmers to get organic compost from the waste generated from the Urban. We believe that the Wastezon's circular economy approach can considerable uptake in re-use, re-re-cycling in Bio-waste to lower carbon emissions. By keeping materials in use for a long time, we can close the loop and achieve a Carbon-zero economy while impacting the lives.

9. Financial sustainability plan: can you tell us about your plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Currently, we rely on our two revenue streams to bootstrap the project. Our strategy is to re-inject the profits to finance the operations. Our long-term goal is to raise a seed round investment from Investors that will be used for future expansion, recruit new team members, and increase our operational efficiency.

10. Team: what is the current composition of your current team (types of roles, qualifications, full-time vs. part-time, board members, etc.), and how do you plan to evolve the team’s composition as the project grows?

Wastezon was founded by a youthful team that draws its inspiration from their environmental experience. Hailing from Technical, Sustainability and Business backgrounds with a combined 12 years of experience, the Wastezon team had managed to use technology to innovate for waste management. The team had received a couple of awards such as the Smart City Doha Startup Hub Award, Waste wise Innovative Project Recognition, and Audi Environmental Foundation.

11. How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Email

12. Connection to Biodiversity: How does your project directly contributes to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity? Please share data to support your answer.

Wastezon Smart bin aims to address the impact of urbanization to restore biodiversity. According to the World Bank, African Urban cities generate over 125 million tons of municipal waste annually. Due to lack of efficient waste collection and disposal systems, urban households burn or dump their household waste into Stormwater drains, rivers, marshlands, and open fields. Species Monner Butterfly, Yellow-Billed Cuckoo, and Steelhead trout are on the brink of extinction due to exposure to the waste in the open fields and water bodies. Our product, wastezon Smart Bin is providing automating sorting at the Household source and leverages on its enzymes that are placed in its chamber to decompose organic waste into nutrients-fertilizer that is sold to the farmers on the Wastezon App. Our solution aims to divert waste from being sent to landfills or water bodies, meanwhile capturing them to provide organic fertilizers as climate-friendly soil nutrients.

13. Example: Please walk us through one or two concrete examples that show how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address.

John, a 30 years old man has a household of 6 people. They dump their waste (both biodegradable and non-biodegradable) in the Wastezon Smart bin which automatically sort the waste it receives. Within the composting chamber, the Smart-bin leverages its IoT technology to distill enzymes and send composting levels information to John’s Wastezon app and use such information to schedule the collection. Awake, a farmer who needs organic fertilizer for boosting soil nutrients request John’s biofertilizer on the wastezon App, which is collected by the wastezon team and sent it to Uwacu’s farm field. John generates 20 Kg of bio-fertilizer (an equivalent of 60 Carbon emissions diverted from going to landfills while Uwacu boosts at 15% of her soil nutrients.

14. Marketplace: Who else is addressing this problem in your environment? How does your proposed project differ from these other approaches?

In Rwanda, there is one company that collects waste from the dumpsite, sort them manually and decompose them into fertilizer. Our uniqueness is the innovative approach that gives the household ownership of the process. By using the Wastezon Smart Bin, both sorting and decomposition are done at the source, preventing a huge amount of waste to end up in landfills. Additionally, our matchmaking services between the household and the farmers that are done on the Wastezon app provides a unique collaborative chain that creates the value capturing from the Waste.

15. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

Smart City Doha-Startup Hub Award, November 2019 (By Ministry of Transport and Communications, Qatar). Social Venture Challenge Prize, October 2019 (By Resolution Project, US). Audi Environmental Scholar, October 2019 (By Audi AG & Audi Environmental Foundation). Waste Wise Cities Innovative Project, September 2019 (By UN-Habitat, Kenya). Innovate4Climate Pitch Hub Finalist, June 2019 (By World Bank, Singapore)

16. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Earned Income 35%, Grants 25%, Private Investment 40%,

17. How do you plan to influence your field of work if you are a winner of the Act for Biodiversity Challenge? How would you invest the prize money to leverage your work?

From local to the Global stage, we want to scale our work of creating a waste-free world and restoring the biodiversity. The prize money would be invested in Manufacturing 1000 Smart Bins that will be distributed in 800 private households and 200 institutional Households. Such Smart bins will annually divert over 20,000 tons from going to landfills and waterbodies, while producing 2000 tons of organic fertilizers annually. Moreover, the expansion of the operations will create 40 direct and over 200 indirect green jobs for young people.

Evaluation results

4 evaluations so far


Yes, absolutely! - 75%

Yes/maybe - 25%

Maybe - 0%

Maybe/no - 0%

No - 0%


5 —Absolutely! It’s crystal clear how the solution is directly contributing to preserving and/or restoring biodiversity. - 25%

4—Yes, it establishes a clear connection to biodiversity. - 50%

3—Somewhat, the entry speaks to biodiversity but the direct impact is not well established and/or it is focused on a single species without considering its impact on the broader ecosystem - 25%

2—Not really, the connection to biodiversity is weak - 0%

1—No. The entry does not reference the solution’s impact on biodiversity. - 0%

3. 3) Is this entry IMPACTFUL?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think so. - 75%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

4. 4) Is this entry INNOVATIVE?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

5. 5) Is this entry VIABLE financially and operationally?

5 -Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 25%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%


5 -Yes, absolutely! - 50%

4- Yes, I think so. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 0%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

7. 7) Does this entry value COLLABORATION WITH OTHER STAKEHOLDERS in its approach?

5- Yes, absolutely! - 25%

4- Yes, I think ko. - 50%

3- Maybe. - 25%

2- Probably not. - 0%

1- No. - 0%

8. 8) FEEDBACK – Highlights

INNOVATION: You have a great understanding of the problem, have researched existing solutions, and have developed unique, thoughtful new solutions - 100%

IMPACT: You use specific numbers and evidence to describe what your project has achieved so far (or plan to achieve in the future) and you have a plan for measuring impact - 50%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: You have a thoughtful plan for growth and your founding team has a strong combination of leadership and knowledge-based skills - 25%

VIABIBLITY: You have given a great deal of thought to not just the idea itself but how to make it work from a financial perspective in the present and future - 25%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: You value thinking around how to activate changemakers and empower them to innovate through your product or programming - 25%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: You have a clearly defined plan on how to maximize shared value across multiple sectors and stakeholders - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Your writing style is concise, descriptive, clear, and specific - 0%

Other option - 0%

9. 9) FEEDBACK - Areas for Improvement

INNOVATION: Be more specific in your description of the research you have done into the past solutions to this problem and focus on how your solution is unique and innovative - 0%

IMPACT: Provide specific instances of your social impact and how you plan to measure impact – it may be helpful to describe the beneficiaries, products and programming, and provide evidence of (or plan for) how to measure impact - 50%

GROWTH & LEADERSHIP POTENTIAL: Your plan for growing the organization can benefit from more specifics. How can you round out the various skills of your current leadership team to make the project a long-term success? - 50%

VIABILITY: Make sure you have provided descriptive information about your financial sustainability plan. Where do the funds come from now and do you have a concrete plan for future sustainability? - 0%

POTENTIAL TO CREATE SHARED VALUE: your plan can benefit from more thought on how to create value for all stakeholders, not just immediate beneficiaries - 0%

WRITING STYLE: Try to be more concise, descriptive, clear, and specific. Avoid jargon. - 0%

Nothing – I thought everything was great! - 100%

CHANGEMAKING ACTIVATION: Try to provide more insights into how you are activating changemakers and empowering them to innovate through your product or programming - 0%

Other option - 0%

1 comment

Join the conversation:

Photo of Henry Ngale Foretia

Ghislain Irakoze PFMS PLATFORM Great job. Kindly evaluate our project PFMS PLATFORM