Back in 2017, Coca-Cola, GIZ and Tetra Pak decided to collaborate to create Alag Karo, focusing on Source Segregation of Waste (SSW) in the city of Gurugram, India to improve recycling while reducing the dumping and burning of waste in the city.
The program had two clear goals: to implement source segregation of waste in residential complexes, educational and commercial establishments and to develop waste workers capabilities.
It was implemented by Saahas, a Bengaluru headquartered non-profit organization which had been actively involved in solid waste management since 2001. Committed to providing holistic and scientific solutions to responsibly manage waste, Saahas helps communities across rural and urban India towards reducing, reusing and recycling their waste with an aim to achieve 90% resource recovery and driving circular economy.
From the start, the Alag Karo program set up to:
The 32 apartment complexes (17,500 households in total) where the program has been implemented generate about 23,200 kg of waste per day. To date, these households are at 90% segregation amounting to 18,400 kg daily.
In addition, 14 apartment complexes (a total of 6,215 households) now have on-site composting plants, and have been able to reuse their own wet waste for composting.
With a total waste recovery of approximately 9.2 tonnes daily, they are diverting waste from landfill for recycling and resource recovery, saving the municipality approximately €3,300 a month on fees and benefiting the RWA which sells compost for €55/ton.
While the program has highlighted the importance of source segregation it has also been able to guide communities in taking the next important step with on-site processing.
In terms of social impact, the implementation statistics also show that for every 250 kg of wet waste composted one job is created. In addition, the simple action of segregating at source has a big impact for waste workers. With cleaner waste to work with, they can sort a higher number of recyclables and improve earnings, dignity, and better livelihood. In addition, with no mixed waste, the work area is cleaner without foul smell.
In terms of environmental impact, source segregation of waste has not only helped in improving the recycling of waste generated in the city but also lowering GHG emissions and diversion of waste from the landfill. Considering that approximately four percent of waste is paper, for every ton of paper recycled, seven trees are saved, the program is saving, on average, 12.5 trees per day.