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The Story of Creating Livelihoods from Trash

Globally, the volume of waste generation has increased rapidly over the last decades resulting in a massive issue of waste disposal and recycling, often being transported large distances and ending up being dumped in illegal waste facilities connected to slum areas. This is fuelling ocean pollution and killing more than a million people a year and even more animals. The level of corruption, exploitation of marginalized people, ocean, land and air pollution of our waste is beyond comprehension. However, even though it's called "waste", it often carries a high value if dealt with properly.

In the green city of southern India, Bangalore, is a social waste management organization aiming at not only turning waste back into value, but empowering marginalized people in the process. By providing fair livelihoods in all parts of the waste management and product value creation process, the social impact is large and has a massive scope. The amount of Co2 reduced, plastic waste kept from entering water bodies, and toxic chemicals deterred from contaminating eco-systems and people is also unparallel.

Through their own waste management facility and partnerships with various recycling and upcycling units, from industrial complex recycling the paper waste to small family-run hand-looming units weaving waste textile to floor rugs, their vision is to make India a leading circular economy where nothing is wasted. They do this by collaborating closely with communities, administrators, businesses and lawmakers to implement innovative resource management programs.

Raw material

Various forms of wastage is collected and brought to the facility where the waste is transformed into new materials. For instance, the paper and cardboard is collected and sorted to prepare it for becoming new paper. Textiles are both sorted out from the communal waste, collected from households, and retrieved from the local fashion industry. Plastic sachets, pill cases made up of plastic and aluminium mix which is hard to recycle are sorted out from the waste at the waste management facility, cleaned, shredded.

Durable | Sturdy | Lightweight | Available in different prints, colours and patchworks | Products are made from upcycled waste

Production/waste management

The process of waste management is well implemented with the producer working with both communities and corporations. A manned kiosk for segregated waste collection has been set up in Bangalore. The kiosk has the capacity to collect 200 kg of waste per day. Here, waste from the primary collection is sent to the appropriate destinations for processing. Awareness events are conducted around the Kiosk area to inform people about waste segregation so there is also a positive social impact to this.

After turning the waste into new raw materials it's processed by various partners. The recycled paper is shredded, soaked, pulped and made into new paper products in partnership with a paper mill. The textile waste is cleaned and given to self-help groups that weave and stitch it together. These self-help groups consist of people with disabilities and women workers who are empowered by the provision and security of employment.

The shredded plastic-aluminium mix is handled by a plastic recycling facility that melts and moulds it into plastic sheets without adding any additives in this process. These sheets are then turned into various products by local artisans.

To assure ethical working conditions both at their own waste management facility, waste collection points, and partner recycling facilities have their own assessment and monitoring system in place.


Proper waste removal helps improve air and water quality as well as reduces greenhouse gas emissions. It helps in minimising the extraction of resources along with reducing pollution and energy consumption which is associated with manufacturing new materials

UN Sustainable Development Goal

By regenerating waste into new, high quality and valuable products, this project contributes to target 12.5, "substantially reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, recycling and reuse"

By collecting waste and recycling paper, plastic and textiles, the energy and chemicals required for manufacturing new materials are avoided. Co2 is reduced and plastic waste and toxic chemicals are deterred from contaminating eco-system. By minimising the release of toxic chemicals into the environment, this project contributes to target 12.4, "achieve the environmentally sound management of chemicals and all wastes, and significantly reduce their release to air, water and soil in order to minimize their adverse impacts on human health and the environment"


The provision of employment to marginalised and disabled workers empowers them and conducting awareness campaigns helps educate the masses on what they can do for the betterment of the environment. Additionally, during the Covid-19 pandemic, they worked with 250 families organized through SHG's and made 2 lakh face masks while providing them with livelihoods.

UN Sustainable Development Goal

By contributing to providing livelihoods and employment to marginalised workers and disabled persons whilst also increasing their future job prospects, this project contributes to target 8.5; "achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value"


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