From our roots in volunteer-driven cleanups in McLeod Ganj & Triund in 2009 to registering as a society in 2012 in Dehradun, we have certainly come a long way. Our team of nearly 100 people are working to build sustainable, affordable, and replicable Solid Waste Management models in three different regions: urban Dehradun, hilly Dharamshala, and the rural forested landscape around Corbett Tiger Reserve.
We engage a range of residential and business communities, focus on changing behaviours towards waste and the environment, develop livelihoods to improve basic income and empower lives of waste workers and waste pickers. We also focus on collaborative partnerships with government entities, corporates and institutions through CSR and EPR programs, as well as other civil societies doing great work.
Our Core Models
Model Wards & Villages
Proper waste management begins with individuals, their homes, and the community that surrounds them. Our goal is to build models of cleanliness through community engagement and empowerment in urban wards and rural panchayats. We build strong relationships with Ward Councillors (Parshads) in Dehradun and Dharamshala and Village Leaders (Gram Pradhans) in the Corbett region to implement SWM programs with the following approach:
- Raising awareness and changing behavior to improve source segregation and waste reduction.
- Supporting municipal systems for door-to-door collection of segregated dry and wet waste.
- Boosting civic engagement between residents and their representatives, service providers, and administrators.
- Helping informal waste workers in the area become formally recognized, trained, and integrated into the SWM system.
Zero-Waste Tourist Destinations
Our work began in remote areas, like Triund and Corbett, suffering from tons of waste generated by lakhs of tourists. Businesses, from small shops to large hotels, have mushroomed to cater to this high footfall. It's important to mitigate the environmental damage caused by waste, especially plastic, being generated on unprecedented scales. Our integrated approach involves:
- Raising awareness amongst businesses on the issue and convincing them to provide tourists with access to waste bins or bags.
- Providing training on source segregation and affordable waste collection services through trained Green Workers and women-led SWM self-help groups.
- Ensuring that tourists in these hotspots have access to multiple labelled waste bins that are maintained and emptied regularly.
- Conducting cleanup drives with volunteers from local communities, nearby schools and colleges, and government staff like forest rangers.
Teacher Training & School SWM Activities
Our education programs aim to sensitize students about waste management & their environment through hands-on and thought-provoking activities. ‘Green Gurukul’ in Dehradun follows a Training of Teachers (ToT) model to train educators on how to conduct interactive sessions and raise awareness amongst students to bring about behavioural change. 'Swachhta Ki Pathshala' in Dharamshala and 'Children's Day' in Corbett directly engages teachers and students through interactive activities and learning sessions. Our approach includes:
- Participatory activities for school students, teachers, principals, and community members.
- Interactive awareness sessions for students on effective systems for waste management.
- Activities like clean-up drives, recycling drives for plastics and e-waste, mural painting, and creative upcycling sessions.
- An end-goal focus on establishing effective SWM systems within the school premises.
Waste Collection & Material Recovery Facilities
Changing community behavior is only the first step in waste management. Our teams offer affordable access to waste collection services and we operate centers for processing recyclable waste. Our services are supported by our team and run by trained Green Workers and self-help groups of formalized waste pickers as well as rural women. Our approach includes:
- Organizing near-daily dry waste collection services for households and businesses who we engage to raise awareness and train to segregate their waste.
- Training formalized waste workers to collect segregated waste and further sort them into recyclable and non-recyclable categories.
- Operating small-scale segregation centers in the villages of Corbett to larger scale Material Recovery Facilities in Dehradun and Dharamshala.
- Adding value to recyclables using balers, shredders, and air-blowers. Recyclables are then transported and sold to larger certified aggregators or recycling factories.
Waste Worker Upliftment and Livelihood Development
It is our mission to formalize, train, and empower the lives and livelihoods of waste workers. We believe in the importance of mitigating the stigma that surrounds their work through a sense of dignity, equal opportunity, and inclusiveness. Starting small from where we are, we have built strong relationships with waste worker communities as well as rural women. Our approach includes:
- Providing formal ID cards in partnership with local government entities, including municipal corporations and state schemes.
- Linking waste workers with basic government services including Aadhaar, PAN, and Ration cards, as well providing support to get access to banking for earnings and savings.
- Forming self-help groups of waste workers with support from National Urban-Rural Livelihood Mission, and providing training and mentoring support.
- Providing formalized Green Workers with training and access to formal employment with better wages, as well as EPF and ESIC.