The International Alliance of Waste Pickers is a union of waste picker organizations representing more than 460,000 workers across 34 countries
Supported by Logo WIEGO


April 20, 2012

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Integration of wastepickers in solid waste management within the framework of MSW Rules 2000 

The imperatives of climate change, non-availability of land for landfills, urbanization and increasing waste generation on account of lifestyle changes and finite resources that can be extracted have made solid waste management an important issue today.

The “cradle to cradle” approach places recovery, reuse and recycling centre stage. “Cradle to cradle” establishes that products should be designed such that once they are no longer considered useful, their components can be recovered, reused or recycled, minimising the need for disposal.

India has a long way to go as far as this approach is concerned. Nonetheless, the MSW 2000 rules do seek to implement in some measure the waste management hierarchy of waste by specifying that all recyclables must be recycled. The rules also prescribe the management of landfills.

The role of the informal recycling sector is known and accepted and documented in many government reports. The reports also highlight the need to upgrade the livelihoods and conditions of work of these workers as also recycling processes which though efficient may not always be environmentally compliant. Mainstreaming of informal recycling workers (wastepickers) and indeed the sector as a whole will yield rich dividends for diverting waste from landfills into recycling, composting and bio-methanation.

A Consultation for ULB officials

The Consultation will bring together waste pickers, environmental organisations and officials of municipalities to deliberate on issues related to recycling and solid waste management from across few cities across India. It is an opportunity to show case some of the successes, place the challenges for discussion. It will look at the scalability of the models that integrates wastepickers and decentralization of waste management.

Objectives of the consultation

  • Discuss the forms and ways of integration of wastepickers in the city
  • Discuss the possible avenues for pre-processing recovery of recyclables that would be environmentally and socially acceptable with inclusion of wastepickers
  • Understand the legal instruments and policy recommendations that would facilitate integration of wastepickers
  • Challenges faced by ULBs in scaling  wastepickers integration
  • Filed visit to PMC model of integration of wastepickers

Tentative programme

The program includes:

  • Presentation from PMC
  • Presentation on legal frame work  that will enable the integration of wastepickers
  • Sharing by different ULBs about their experiences  of wastepickers integration in their cities solid waste management
  • Exposure Visit to SWaCH, Pune and decentralised solid waste management system setup by PMC
  • A moderated Q&A session for discussion on various issues concerning integration of wastepickers

Proposed time: 9 am – 5 pm

Expected participants:

We expect between 10 and 25 ULB representatives to participate. We will invite Ahmadabad, Ahmednagar, Bangalore, Bareli, Bhopal, Chennai, Chintamani, Indore, Kolkata, Latur, Mumbai, Mysore, Nagpur, Nasik, NDMC, Patna, PCMC, Pune, Surat, Tirupati and Ujjain


Efforts are also being made to invite Hon. Shri. Kamal Nath, Union Minister of Urban Development to inaugurate the event.

Convention of wastepickers:

A Convention is proposed as a platform to hear the voices of wastepickers and dialogue among themselves about their changing role and need of the hour – integration of wastepickers into solid waste management. The workshop will also highlight the experience of wastepickers from cities where integration into solid waste management has taken place and where it has not and discuss the advantages and challenges.

Specific objectives:

  • Wastepickers learn from each other about the need for changing current methods of collecting waste
  • Understanding the solid waste collection and management systems  operational in different cities
  • Identifying the areas they can complement the city services and get integrated in solid waste management of the city
  • Exposure to different forms of organizing that can be used to get recognition for venturing into service provision

Tentative programme:

The program includes

  • City wise sharing of wastepickers about their situation
  • Articulate the impact of changing solid waste management and waste processing technology choices by ULBs
  • Sharing about being a part of the solid waste management of the city : Advantages and Challenges

Ahmednagar, Ahmadabad, Bangalore, Bhopal, Delhi, Latur, Mumbai, Pimpri and Chinchwad,   Pune, Ujjain etc..

  • Exposure visit to Pune Municipal Corporation and Pimpri Chinchwad Corporation

Expected participants:

At least 250 wastepickers and 50 activists from different parts of the country will participate