As a fast growing economy with an ever increasing urban population, solid waste management is an area well worth focusing on for India. Currently, Urban India generates 42 million tones of solid waste, a number that is only projected to grow over the years.  The municipal corporations of the country cannot be counted upon to tackle this mammoth task on their own. There is a huge scope for innovation in this field, and luckily some people are already tapping into the field.


The solid waste management is a step- wise process of disposing off the solid waste. This includes production, collection and treatment or disposal of the solid waste. Treatment often refers to the recycling process. The management ensures that the waste is disposed with minimal harm to the environment and people. However, that is a tough one. It may differ for different regions like residential and industrial, urban and rural, and for developed and developing nations. The administration of hazardous and non hazardous waste materials is regarded as highly cardinal and supreme feature as it may result into various types of impurities and pollution.



First up let’s look into Protoprint. A Social Seva initiative based in Pune, Protoprint takes scrap plastic and turns it into a very ‘now’ commodity, 3D printer filament. In 2013, founder Siddhant Pai, who is a student at MIT, partnered with SWaCH, Solid Waste Collection and Handling to overcome the country’s growing unrecycled plastic waste problem.

Protoprint sets up labs on landfills and in these labs, High Density Polythene is converted into HDPE filaments used for 3D printing. According to the Protoprint website, “The goal is to market the filament globally as a fair trade, ethically produced alternative to virgin plastic filament with a vertically integrated model to ensure that the vast majority of the profits flow back into the community.”

Most of Protoprint’s ventures are crowdfunded, with like-minded individuals helping them do some good. Protoprint’s aim is to impact the lives of 200 new waste pickers.



Next we have, Code. Not the programming Code, but the Noida based startup started by two friends named Vishal Kant and Naman Gupta. These young men set out with an aim to recycle an unconventional yet important part of India’s solid waste. Cigarette butts! As harmful actual cigarettes are to the human body, cigarette butts are pretty harmful to the environment, especially if dumped in water bodies.

Code, collects discarded cigarettes, often times paying people to hand over their smoked cigarettes. And then proceed to recycle every last bit of them. They experimented in their garage to come up with a chemical that treats filters and makes them reusable in things such as furniture stuffing. The paper and tobacco are turned into manure.

The startup’s range is currently limited to Noida and Gurgaon, but the people’s response is a welcome sign. People are increasingly willing to use Code’s bins to dispose off their cigarette stubs.



Let us visit the colorful world of Chindi. A Mumbai based startup that turns the huge amounts of textile waste in the city into beautiful decorative pieces.  Tanushri Shukla’s brainchild, Chindi started off with her and a friend reusing the scrap fabric from her family’s garment business.

Now Chindi has expanded with marginalized groups of women from Mumbai’s Mankhud slum producing these “upcycled” products, as the official website calls them, on a large scale. This startup takes care of the textile solid waste problem as well as provide a safe space work environment for these women to better their lives.

GEM Enviro Management – from polyethylene to t- shirts


This is a Delhi based start up started in 2013. This company holds a brand called Being Responsible. You might have seen their clothing and accessories range if you live in India. How they work is that GEM Enviro Management uses PET i.e. polyethylene terephthalate disposed by offices and hotels. They convert PET into bags, t- shirts, caps etc.

GPS Renewables – from food to air


Organic waste is yet another big concern in waste management. Production of such waste can be minimized, but not avoided completely. However, it doesn’t matter anymore; GPS Renewables is at your help. Mainak Chakraborty and Sreekrishna Sankar, the two founders of the company, have come up with a very environment friendly method to manage the organic waste. What they do is convert the organic waste into biogas.

Namo E- waste – from electronics to e- waste to e- disposing


Electronic waste is yet another concern. Often it is found dumped with the everyday garbage found in disposing locations. To tackle this issue, Akshay Jain started Name E- waste. The start up today has access to 70% of India’s e- waste. They work by recycling the e- waste.


All though these ventures speak volumes about the ecopreneurs’ commitment to solving  waste management problem, there is a lot still to be done. A key point ventures need to focus on is classifying and separating waste at the source. Every type of solid waste needs a different approach and can be taken as the raw material for a different kind of industry. Separating them at the source can enable no wastage of the waste itself and efficient recycling. Another area worth focusing on is reducing the load on the dump sites. Around 50 percent of India’s solid waste is bio degradable and should be treated on plants on site.

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