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Waste Not, Want Not: Unveiling the Green Revolution in Solid Waste Management

Updated: Apr 29


India, a land of vibrant cultures and rich traditions, is making significant strides in its journey towards sustainable development. In the ever-evolving battle against climate change, decarbonization efforts have become a rallying cry for industries worldwide.

In the vast canvas of India's solid waste saga, urbanization acts as a frenetic brushstroke, amplifying the generation of approximately 277 million tonnes of solid waste annually. According to a report by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), only about 70-80% of this waste is collected and only 22-28% is processed and treated. 

Traditionally associated with landfills and environmental concerns, waste management is now at the forefront of a green revolution, with innovative technologies and sustainable practices paving the way for a cleaner, greener future.

The Scope of the Challenge:

Solid waste management is a colossal challenge in the 21st century. This challenge is compounded by the diversity of waste streams, ranging from organic kitchen waste to electronic waste, posing a complex puzzle for waste management authorities. Historically, inadequate infrastructure and lack of awareness led to the inefficient disposal of waste, contributing to environmental degradation and a growing carbon footprint.

Recognizing the urgency of the situation, forward-thinking communities and waste management companies are now prioritizing decarbonization efforts to mitigate these adverse effects. Here are some examples of innovations and initiatives taken by different states and municipal corporations in India in solid waste management:


Key Features

Major Outcomes

Indore's Model

Door-to-door collection, segregation at source, decentralized composting units, strict enforcement of waste management rules and  citizen engagement.

  • Indore was ranked as the cleanest city in India by the Swachh Survekshan for several consecutive years.

  • According to reports, approximately 90-95% of households in Indore participate in segregating their waste.

  • Around 100% of households in Indore receive door-to-door waste collection services.

Alappuzha's Waste Program

Integrated waste management system with decentralized waste treatment plants, biogas plants, composting and vermiculture.

  • Received the status of the first city in India to be declared as a 'Zero Waste' municipality. 

  • The city has a remarkable waste segregation rate of over 80%, which is significantly higher than the national average.

  • The city has also been awarded prestigious awards such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Solid Waste Management Award and the Clean City Award.

Pune's Garbage Cafe

Waste collection in exchange for a meal, where citizens can deposit plastic waste in designated centers and get a meal in return.

  • Increased citizen participation in waste management activities by approximately 5% within the first year.

  • Reduction of plastic waste accumulation by an estimated 10-15% in targeted areas.

Surat's Waste-to-Energy

Construction of a Waste-to-energy plant for processing solid waste into electricity.

Landfill burden reduction and converted approximately 300-400 metric tons of waste per day into electricity.

Mysuru's Clean City

Focus on cleanliness drives, segregation and citizen awareness programs.

  • Consistently ranked high in cleanliness surveys, maintaining a cleanliness score of over 95%.

  • Reduced littering and waste accumulation by an estimated 20-30% in public areas.

Kerala's Haritha Keralam

Comprehensive waste management program focusing on decentralized waste treatment, composting, and recycling.

  • Improved waste management practices across the state, resulting in an estimated 30% reduction in waste sent to landfills.

  • Increased recycling rates by approximately 10-15% in targeted regions.

Bengaluru's Enforcement

Strict enforcement of solid waste management rules, penalties for non-compliance, promotion of decentralized composting.

  • Increased waste segregation rates by approximately 20-25% in compliance areas.

  • Reduced landfill dependency by diverting an estimated 40-50% of waste towards composting and recycling.

Thiruvananthapuram's Units

Establishment of small-scale composting units across the city to process organic waste.

  • Reduced organic waste sent to landfills by an estimated 50-60%.

  • Produced approximately 100-150 metric tons of compost per month for agricultural use.

As we navigate the intricate landscape of waste management, let us seize these opportunities with fervor and optimism. Together, we can forge a path towards a more sustainable, resilient planet—one where waste becomes not a burden, but a catalyst for positive change.


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