Collaborative effort by Coca-Cola, GIZ, Tetra Pak, and Saahas transforms waste management in Gurugram

Background and initiative – teaming up to improve waste management

Coca-Cola, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), and Tetra Pak joined forces to launch the Alag Karo programme in Gurugram, India. The primary focus of this collaborative initiative was to promote Source Segregation of Waste (SSW) to enhance recycling efforts and reduce waste dumping and burning in the city. The programme also aimed to empower waste workers by providing training to handle segregated waste.

Implemented by Saahas, a renowned Bengaluru-based non-profit organisation, the Alag Karo programme brought its expertise to sustainable waste management solutions. Saahas has been actively engaged in solid waste management since 2001 and endeavours to achieve a 90% resource recovery rate while promoting a circular economy. IMAGE caption: Spreading awareness about waste segregation in Gurugram

Gurugram faced significant challenges in waste management, with the indiscriminate dumping and burning of waste contributing to environmental pollution and health hazards. Lack of source segregation led to a significant portion of recyclable waste ending up in landfills, hindering the city's recycling efforts.

The Alag Karo programme devised two clear goals: to implement source segregation of waste in residential complexes, educational, and commercial establishments, and to enhance the capabilities of waste workers in handling segregated waste.

Men and woman holding recycling brochures

Results – measurable impacts throughout the waste management chain

Saahas was pivotal in executing the programme, creating awareness and support for waste segregation at the source in 20,000 households across 40 selected residential welfare associations (RWAs). The programem also engaged 50 commercial establishments and 50 schools in waste management and environmental awareness. Moreover, 500 waste workers in Gurugram received specialised training on safely handling segregated waste.

The Alag Karo programme has made substantial progress in transforming waste management in Gurugram. In the 32 apartment complexes where the programme was implemented (consisting of 17,500 households), an impressive 90% waste segregation has been achieved, amounting to 18,400 kg of segregated waste daily. Additionally, 14 apartment complexes (comprising 6,215 households) now boast on-site composting plants, utilising their own wet waste for composting.

This waste recovery of approximately 9.2 tonnes daily has reduced landfill usage, leading to cost savings of approximately € 3,300 per month for the municipality in landfill fees. The residential welfare associations (RWAs) also benefit from the compost produced through the programme, which they sell at € 55/ton.

The programme's social impact is equally noteworthy, as every 250 kg of wet waste composted generates one job opportunity. With cleaner waste, waste workers can sort more recyclables, improving earnings, dignity, and livelihood. Moreover, the absence of mixed waste ensures a cleaner work environment without foul smells.

Woman giving guide

Image: An Alag Karo presentation on waste management and recycling

Looking ahead – spreading the initiative to more communities

The success of the Alag Karo initiative has laid the foundation for further progress in waste management and recycling efforts in Gurugram. Building on its achievements, the programme aims to continue expanding source segregation efforts and on-site processing in more communities.


Coca-Cola India, Saahas and GIZ

Tetra Pak contacts
Jugran Sumit