Waste management in India currently involves extraction, production, consumption and dumping or landfilling, resulting in greenhouse gas emissions, groundwater pollution and an ever-increasing strain on natural resources.
Sampurn(e)arth is a social enterprise working towards breaking the non-cyclic process of waste management. They provide end-to-end decentralised waste management solutions including waste audit, designing and setting up of the waste handling system and providing operation and maintenance. A key focus of their work is delivering livelihood opportunities for informal waste picker communities.
TRANSFORM worked with Sampurn(e)arth on a project to set up recycling facilities for low-value, flexible plastic waste in collaboration with regional partners, providing formal jobs and extended social support to many informal waste workers down the supply chain. The project aimed to improve the social and financial status of informal waste workers by creating an inclusive and sustainable waste management ecosystem.
Under this project, they created ten micro recycling centres for flexible plastic across the state of Maharashtra, Gujrat and Goa with a total recycling capacity of more than 8,000 tonnes per year. The project formalised the workers and formed Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and cooperatives, applying for government schemes for eligible workers. These SHGs of waste pickers have started dealing directly in the marketplace, fetching better prices for the segregated post-consumer plastic.
This project highlighted the importance of building an inclusive end-to-end value chain of post-consumer plastic, where the waste pickers have a better negotiating power in the marketplace and a better visibility of the value chain.
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