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BUTUAN, Philippines – Butuanons can now turn their trash into cash without the need to visit a junk shop or wait for scrap collectors, as a youth group developed a mobile application junk shop.
Launched in November 2023, the online platform ScrapCycle.ph facilitates the exchange of recyclables for cash, with payments delivered straight to one’s doorstep on the preferred collection date.
Genevieve Navales, one of the founders and a computer science graduate from Caraga State University in Butuan, said the idea for ScrapCycle.ph was conceived during her college years when she and her classmates participated in university competitions.
“Initially, it was just me and my classmates. However, after graduation, we discussed our plans and career paths. I expressed my strong desire to pursue ScrapCycle, believing that even if I found a job, this idea would still linger in my mind. So I decided to take the risk, considering the potential benefits not only for myself but also for the country and Filipinos, providing an essential waste management solution,” she said.
Navales pursued the venture with Jerele Vince Salvaña, a fresh biology graduate from the same university, and Arthur Babor, a professional with 15 years of experience in junk shop operations.
“Our goal is to bridge the gap, making it easy for people to recycle their waste from homes and businesses hassle-free and earn money from it, just like trading with junk shops,” said Navales.
Salvaña, who serves as the group’s marketing officer, said their experience in participating in competitions, and the grants they secured helped them sustain the initial phase of the venture.
Their achievements include winning the Department of Information and Communication Technology’s (DICT) Regional Pitching Competition in the Caraga, representing the region in the Philippine Startup Challenge 7 in 2022, securing the Sanguninang Kabataan’s (SK) TECHPreneurs StartUp seed grant championship in Butuan City, and winning the START Hackathon 2022 by the Development Academy of the Philippines held in Tagaytay.
How it works
The process with ScrapCycle.ph starts with users segregating and cleaning recyclables, checking prices in the app, booking a collection date, and waiting for the collector to arrive.
Initially, the group conducts collections every Saturday, with plans to expand to daily collections as they scale up their services.
Salvaña said this testing phase allows them to gather insights into the target market’s needs, fostering continuous app and service enhancements.
With no minimum load requirement and free pick-up collection, ScrapCycle.ph accepts plastics, glass, metals, paper, cardboard, empty polyethylene terephthalate and glass bottles, and electronic waste, offering sellers the option of receiving payments through Gcash or real-time cash during the collection process.
Presently exclusive to Android users, the app has garnered over 1,000 installations with 5-star ratings on Google Play.
The group said they plan to develop an iOS version of the app later this year. To cater to iOS users in the meantime, a Google Form has been created for scheduling collections and trading recyclables.
Salvaña said the launch drew positive feedback from the community and even outside Butuan.
“The impact that we wanted is that when people think of recycling, we hope that in the future they would think of ScrapCycle as the easiest way for them to do so. Also, because of the convenience that we provide and the ease of use of our app, we want to impact the Philippines by changing Filipinos’ mindset about recycling, making them recycle more,” she added.
Kim Beronggoy, one of those who already tried the app, said the idea is very timely.
“This initiative is really nice because at least the recyclables are being used. Our area is cleaner, and we also make money,” Beronggoy said.
Navales said that as ScrapCycle.ph progresses, they plan to introduce additional features to enhance the users’ experience.
“We also want people to feel their growth with ScrapCycle, introducing a feature in our app allowing them to see the accumulated contributions they have made – the amount of waste recycled, carbon emissions saved, energy saved, and the money earned,” she said. – Rappler.com
Ivy Marie Mangadlao is an Aries Rufo fellow.