Capturing a 'Wasted' Opportunity
Insights into India’s Waste Management Systems
Set to be the world's most populous country by 2024, India is at the brink of a waste-management catastrophe fueled by rapid economic growth, a rising middle class and changing consumption patterns, including an increasingly digital economy.
However, it is the country’s lack of infrastructure and incentives to retrieve, segregate and repurpose waste that is further exacerbating an already out-of-control problem, leaving the nation floundering in its battle against trash.
Since its inception in 2016, ReCircle, a resource recovery enterprise, based in Mumbai, India, has been leading the infrastructure and policy development urgently required to divert 90% of the nation's ever-increasing and untreated waste from polluting landfills and oceans. Guided by the overarching vision to create a resource-driven ethical circularity as well as a traceable waste-supply chain, ReCircle has assumed a multi-stakeholder approach to bridge the gap between India’s waste generators and waste-processors.
ReCircle thrives as a tech-enabled platform that has already recovered more than 15 million kgs of waste
since inception. The company is engaged in raising awareness as well as incentivizing individuals, businesses, and local municipalities to adopt a circular vision of waste, by facilitating the convenient and appropriate forwarding of an agency’s unwanted trash in a manner that allows for the garbage to be integrated back into the economy to be either reused, recycled or repurposed. ReCircle also helps businesses to go plastic-neutral by providing traceable plastic credits and ethically recycled plastic as a means to achieving their sustainability goals.
With back-end systems driven by data, analytics, and technology, ReCircle enables traceability and transparency throughout the waste supply chain, right from the source of the trash collected to the final processing of the material.
As part of its operational model, ReCircle partners with local waste workers, people who make up the
informal sector, with the view to empower them by ensuring fair wages, dignity, and social inclusion. This
grassroots-focused approach not only enables ReCircle to influence social impact from the ground-up but as a result, also affects a change in perspective about disposables and institutes an awareness that has the scope of creating a powerful ripple effect amongst the uninformed masses of the population.
India’s informal sector waste workers typically eke out a living by scavenging recyclables from waste, often in unhygienic conditions without proper protective gear. They represent the very social constructs that dictate a lack of dignity of labor. In contrast, ReCircle’s inclusive, fair-trade, and zero-child labor practices are currently followed in 35 cities across India, alongside 30+ partners who in turn provide a livelihood to 2223 informal sector waste workers and their families.
India’s waste management market size predicted to be worth $13.62 billion within the next several
years, and alongside a growing consumer and corporate consciousness, it is safe to say that ReCircle’s founders Rahul Nainani and Gurashish Singh Sahni, pioneers in the brave new world of waste- management, have their work cut out for them.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY: RAHUL NAINANI
Rahul Nainani is the Co-founder & CEO of Recircle.
Recircle is part of our Batch 2 End Plastic Waste program in Singapore.