Transforming Waste Management: Yo-Waste's Innovative Solution

November 23, 2023

In a world increasingly grappling with environmental challenges, a Ugandan start-up is taking significant strides toward sustainable waste management. Meet Martin Tumusiime, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Yo-Waste Company Limited, whose innovative waste management platform has garnered attention for its seamless and efficient approach, earning it the nickname of "Uber for waste."

Martin Tumusiime, Founder and CEO of Yo-Waste Limited, driving innovation and environmental impact with a dedicated commitment to sustainable waste management.

"The idea of Yo-Waste being dubbed an Uber for waste comes from the concept that one can, at the tap of their smartphone, be able to sign up for a waste collection service or schedule a request for an on-demand waste pickup," explained Tumusiime.

Yo-Waste app in action, simplifying waste management for users with its easy-to-use features and advanced technology.

What began as a student project at Makerere University in 2019/2020 received a substantial boost from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). UNDP's support provided the initial financing support to undertake research, curate and test the innovation, leading to the creation of the Yo-Waste mobile application. This app has connected over 1,000 households in the cities of Kampala and Entebbe, streamlining waste collection processes.

Yo-Waste at work: Collecting garbage from across the country, making waste disposal easy and efficient.

"We work with Municipalities, local leaders, communities themselves, residents, plus the local businesses. We currently collect around 320 tons of municipal solid waste monthly," Tumusiime stated, highlighting the valuable impact Yo-Waste has had on waste management efficiency.

Meet Muhwezi Kenneth, a Yo-Waste app user making waste management easy. With just a few taps, he's contributing to a cleaner and greener environment.

Violet Namata

Muhwezi Kenneth, a user of the Yo-Waste app, testified to its transformative impact. "We had some people who used to collect our garbage, but it would take at least a week to have our garbage collected. Now with Yo-Waste, it takes only three days to have this garbage collected. The app's efficiency not only ensures timely waste disposal but also prevents waste from being scattered by wind and vultures, promoting cleaner surroundings,” Muhwezi noted.

Beyond individual benefits, Yo-Waste aligns with multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The company's direct contribution to SDG 11 (Sustainable Cities and Communities) is evident through its role in waste management and the improvement of community well-being. By preventing waste from ending up on the streets, Yo-Waste actively supports good health and well-being. Moreover, the company plays a crucial role in climate change mitigation by discouraging waste burning and reducing emissions.

Bukenya Michael, a driver at Yo-Waste, plays a vital role in ensuring efficient waste collection for a greener and healthier environment.

Violet Namata

Bukenya Michael, a driver at Yo-Waste, emphasized the impact of proper waste collection on the environment. "Collecting garbage helps the communities in that when the waste is collected and taken for disposal in the right places, it helps in a way that it is not exposed to the environment, especially during the rainy seasons. This prevents garbage from blocking drainage systems which would later cause flooding and diseases.”

YO-Waste Limited's vibrant team immersed in capacity-building training.

Violet Namata

The transformative impact of Yo-Waste extends to employment opportunities. According to Tumusiime, the company employs around 32 full-time workers, creating green jobs for the youth and providing stable income sources. Tumusiime added "Those that would probably not have had formal education are also provided with employment opportunities by Yo-Waste, which has enabled them to get a stable source of income and employment impacting both their livelihoods and the people that depend on them."

Michael echoed this sentiment, sharing how his life has improved since joining Yo-Waste. "Ever since I started working with Yo-Waste Company Limited, my life has gradually improved. I get a salary on time, which has enabled me to pay my rent, tuition for my siblings, and also generally access basic needs that can keep me going."

As UNDP and partners focus on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, Tumusiime called upon stakeholders to invest in climate change-related businesses, circular economy solutions, and green tech ventures. "We need to be mindful of our footprint on the environment and how it is affecting our climate," he urged. Tumusiime's call to action resonates with the need for collective efforts in combating climate change and supporting innovative solutions as a key driver in our journey towards environmental stewardship.

In a world where waste management poses a significant challenge, Yo-Waste stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating that innovative technology, collaboration with partners like the UNDP, and a commitment to sustainability can transform waste management practices, improve lives, and contribute to a greener, healthier planet.

The partnership between Yo-Waste and UNDP underscores the critical role that collaborative efforts play in achieving a greener, healthier and more sustainable future. UNDP's long-term commitment to supporting partners like Yo-Waste highlights its position as a catalyst for sustainable development in Uganda. Through financial support, guidance, and strategic collaboration, UNDP empowers local enterprises to implement innovative solutions that not only address immediate challenges including creating jobs for youth but also contribute to the broader objectives of the SDGs.


By Violet Namata, Communications Assistant