Zero Waste Organisations: 6 Indian Initiatives Tackling Waste Management Creatively

Zero Waste Organisations: 6 Indian Initiatives Tackling Waste Management Creatively

According to the Press Information Bureau, India generates 62 million tonnes of waste (mixed waste containing both recyclable and non-recyclable waste) every year, with an average annual growth rate of 4% (PIB 2016). This has led to an urgent need for waste management, the key to which lies in ensuring proper segregation of waste at source as well as ensuring that the waste goes through different streams of recycling and resource recovery.

Here is a list of 6 Indian organisations aspiring towards zero waste production through recycling and upcycling.

I. Paperman

Founded by Mathew Jose, Paperman is an organisation established in 2010 in India with the objective of accelerating the process of recycling wastes. They have been at the forefront of providing world class technology to their clients, partners and public organisations with the objective of helping them design and execute large scale recycling projects. Even a mobile app offering on-demand doorstep recycling was launched by Paperman, which helped people directly connect with local ragmen to sell their waste. This resembles a Circular Economy Model helping people to recycle, as well as push the money generated from it towards non-profits through NGOs. Public awareness programmes are also a means through which the organisation endorses its purpose.

II. Vital Waste

According to a report released in 2015 by Central Pollution Control Board of India, on an average, 0.14 million tons of garbage is produced in a day across the country. Municipal solid waste is generated even faster than the rate of urbanization. In India, merely 27% of the waste is recycled. The rest of them usually end up in landfills, increasing the risks of environmental hazards. A lack of efficiency in waste management is also one of the chief contributors of rising global temperatures.

Vital Waste, a recycling and waste management company in Kolkata, provides convenient, affordable and genuine recycling solutions to residents of residential communities and corporate offices in Kolkata. Environmentally aware members of the community are also connected to the local manufacturing industry that use recyclable items like different varieties of paper, cardboard and plastic (PET) as raw materials for production. The organization has already helped recycle 50 tons of waste, and caters to 10 schools, 20,000 societies, and corporate giants such as Spencer’s retail, Calcutta Cricket and Football Club, Iron Mountain, HDFC home loans and few others.

III. PlasticsforChange

Founded by Andrew Almack, PlasticsforChange has been the first recycler to be certified by the World Fair Trade Organisation. It connects waste-pickers to global markets, and helps brands switch to high-quality recycled plastic for packaging their goods. A mobile app launched by them provides urban waste-pickers with access to fair market prices, and they are also slowly foraying into coastal communities to address the root cause of ocean plastic. Recently, they partnered with The Body Shop to help their supply chains transition to ethically-sourced, recycled and fair traded plastic.

IV. Green Crusaders

Green Crusaders, a women’s group in Sector 47, Noida (Uttar Pradesh), is an organisation that has been involved in reducing food wastage since August 2018. It had initially been driven to action through cleanliness drives, collection of data, interaction with citizens, providing training to domestic helps and waste collectors. They were then helped by non-profits with new technologies and practices for sustainable waste management.

Presently, the group collects waste door-to-door in four blocks. Tricycles used for collecting wastes have two sacks each, for dry and wet waste. The later is composted while paper, plastics, etc are further sorted and sold by collectors / kabadiwallahs to generate revenue. This has led to community participation, an organised set-up of waste segregation, collection and recycling.

V. Scrapped

Scrapped, an initiative in three areas of Delhi’s Rohini sub city, has been spearheaded projects for source segregation of wastes, door-to-door collection, composting kitchen waste and dry waste collection. It currently composts kitchen waste from 616 people and produces up to 50,000 kg of compost a year. Every day 55-150 kg waste is generated. all categories of recyclable waste and non-recyclable plastics are collected at doorsteps of more than 1,000 families across more than 40 societies, using a ‘box and a bag’ approach to store paper and plastic separately at the household level. This technique has reduced the burden on landfill drastically.

VI. Earth5R

Earth5R is one of the largest citizen-led environmental movements run by 50,000 plus volunteers globally. Earth5R focuses on creating Zero Waste communities while reducing poverty and restoring the local ecosystem. Earth5R specializes in sustainable development, with a specific focus on women and economic inclusion. ACT Global project of Earth5R introduces a fresh perspective on ‘Sustainable Development’ which emphasizes collaborative citizen-led initiatives, thereby helping to bring communities closer. The ACT Global project includes solid waste management, sustainable livelihood program for communities, blockchain based solar energy distribution, urban gardening and afforestation. In the past year, Earth5R has brought together citizens, ragpickers and local recyclers to create a niche of community-based plastic recycling process.

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