Waste Ventures Gives India’s Waste Pickers Access to Carbon Markets

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Urban India generates 40 million tons of rubbish each year, a figure that is growing by more than two million tons ever year. Just 25 percent of that rubbish is collected by government contractors and there is little recycling; the rest is dumped and left to rot, producing methane, which is 23 times more harmful to us than carbon dioxide.

Waste Ventures is a social enterprise aims to build a model in waste management that empowers the waste collectors, gives them financial benefit and has a positive impact on the environment. It was founded by social entrepreneur Parag Gupta, who previously worked at the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The business has both a non-profit (Waste Ventures) and a for-profit (Waste Capital Partners) division. First of all it is focusing on creating waste picker cooperatives — business units owned and operated by the waste pickers themselves who go door to door to collect people’s and companies’ waste. Waste Capital Partners finds investment to feed into Waste Ventures. Waste Ventures takes a minority stake in each of the cooperative businesses in return for mentorship.

Next, Waste Ventures offers these companies incubation, including training in processing waste, learning to compost the organic material, which makes up around 50 percent of the total urban trash. The resulting bio-fertiliser can be sold to rural farms (currently biofertiliser production in India only meets 1.5 percent of the demand).The composting process helps to save 60 kg of CO2 per ton of organic waste.

Source: Wired (link opens in a new window)