A collaborative effort by Coca-Cola, GIZ, Tetra Pak, and Saahas Transforms waste management in Gurugram

Coca-Cola, GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), and Tetra Pak joined forces to launch the Alag Karo program 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 program also aimed to empower waste workers by providing training to handle segregated waste responsibly.

Implemented by Saahas, a renowned Bengaluru-based non-profit organization, the Alag Karo program 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.

Men and woman holding recycling brochures

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 program 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 responsibly.

Saahas played a pivotal role in executing the program, creating awareness and support for waste segregation at the source in 20,000 households across 40 selected residential welfare associations (RWAs). The program also engaged 50 commercial establishments and 50 schools in waste management and environmental awareness. Moreover, 500 waste workers in Gurugram received specialized training on the safe handling of segregated waste.

The Alag Karo program has made substantial progress in transforming waste management in Gurugram. In the 32 apartment complexes where the program 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, utilizing their own wet waste for composting.

This remarkable waste recovery of approximately 9.2 tonnes daily has significantly 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 program, which they sell at €55/ton.

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

In terms of environmental impact, source segregation has not only improved recycling rates but has also reduced greenhouse gas emissions and diverted waste from landfills. The program's recycling efforts have saved an average of 12.5 trees per day, considering that approximately four percent of waste is paper, thus contributing to preserving the environment.

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 program aims to continue expanding source segregation efforts and on-site processing in more communities.

Woman giving guide


Coca-Cola India, Saahas and GIZ

Tetra Pak contacts
Jugran Sumit