Ocean Action Hub

Resource title

No Longer Going to Waste: Improved Plastic Waste Management Builds Roads & Livelihoods for women in India

30 Dec 2019 - Plastics constitute a growing threat to our environment - and in turn, human well-being - affecting the world’s freshwater systems and marine resources in particular, as well

30 Dec 2019 - Plastics constitute a growing threat to our environment - and in turn, human well-being - affecting the world’s freshwater systems and marine resources in particular, as well as terrestrial biodiversity and public health.

In India, where plastic use is rising, most cities and towns do not have an integrated solid waste management system.

This means that very little plastic waste is properly collected or disposed of, resulting in a massive waste-management challenge as cities continue to grow.

But in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, waste collectors in two cities, Bhopal and Indore, are turning plastic waste into roads, as well as income for women.

A Circular Solution

India generates about 62 million tonnes per annum and nearly 1,70,000 tonnes per day of waste, only about 24 per cent of which is recycled, while the rest is dumped in landfills.

Bhopal generates ≈800 metric tonnes of municipal solid waste per day. Around 120 metric tonnes (or ≈15 per cent) is plastic waste, and approximately 60-70 per cent of the total waste is dumped into landfills.

In the city of Indore, home to almost 2 million people, 800-900 metric tonnes of waste are generated every day, 14% of which is plastic – enough to fill 5-7 shipping containers.

Urban waste management is one of the top priorities of the Government of India and local and affordable innovations in this sector are highly valued.

In this context the ‘circular economy’ concept - an economic system intended to eliminate waste and the ever-increasing use of resources - offers a pathway to more sustainable resource management. It means reduced production, use, and disposal of plastics.

Resource title

Plastics and Circular Economy: Community Solutions

11 Jun 2019 - This publication captures the GEF Small Grant Programme's (SGP) experiences and lessons learned on plastics management, spanning not only the area of chemical and waste manag

11 Jun 2019 - This publication captures the GEF Small Grant Programme's (SGP) experiences and lessons learned on plastics management, spanning not only the area of chemical and waste management, but also international waters and biodiversity conservation. The projects focus on implementing a circular economy either through recycling, reducing and reusing plastics for new products, influencing consumer use and behavior, or developing better waste collection and management practices at the community level. Some of these initiatives have also been scaled up in partnership with government and private sector. The 10 cases (below) included in this publication show that local communities and grassroots solutions are already contributing to the implementation of the circular economy concept by providing circular solutions to plastic waste problems through community-based actions to “reduce, reuse and recycle” plastics, known as “3Rs” ranking by the priority of actions.

Material Engineering and Product Design:

CASE 1. BURUNDI: Banana-tree Bark as an Alternative to Plastic for Seedling Transport Bags 

CASE 2. INDIA: Improved Plastic Waste Management Supports Marginalized Women’s Livelihoods 

CASE 3. JAMAICA: Recycling Plastic Waste to Conserve Negril’s Coral Reef 

CASE 4. SIERRA LEONE: Youth-led Innovation: Transforming Plastic Waste into New Construction Material 

Consumer Use and Behavior Shift:

CASE 5. GAMBIA: Plastic Recycling led by Women’s Group Contributes to National Policy on Plastic Ban 

CASE 6. GHANA: Plastic Waste Turns into Employment for People with Disabilities 

CASE 7. MALDIVES: Advocating Alternatives to Single-use Plastic Bags 

Waste Collection and Management:

CASE 8. AFGHANISTAN: Community-based Plastic Waste Management for Wetland Conservation 

CASE 9. ARMENIA: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle: Use of Innovative Bar-coded Shopping Bags 

CASE 10. BAHAMAS: Piloting Sustainable Community-based Waste Management in South Eleuthera

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