Management of post-consumer recyclable waste

Led by the private company Kabadiwalla Connect, 2500 informal waste sector stakeholders were surveyed to create a comprehensive dataset on Chennai, India’s informal waste ecosystem. The resulting report contains the survey design and deployment methodology; stakeholder demographics; business characteristics; material analysis at super-category (paper, plastic, glass, metal) and subcategory levels; and key insights gained. The data and insights are available online through a dedicated data platform.

This project addressed the following SDGs: SDG 8 - Decent work and economic growth, SDG 11 - Sustainable cities and communities, SDG 12 - Responsible production and consumption, SDG 16 - Peace, justice and strong institutions. One of the key goals was the standardization of stakeholder and material classification within the informal waste ecosystem. The largely unorganized nature of the sector is a major impediment in the path towards its integration with formal waste infrastructure. The stakeholder classification is based on the functional roles of various sector workers in order to facilitate the study of similar informal economies across the developing world. 

The material nomenclature section aimed to map out the vocabulary used by various stakeholders for the materials as they moved through the ecosystem and to associate it with formal material nomenclature. The section on the material life cycle shows how materials move through the ecosystem and what kind of processing takes place at each stage. It also lays the groundwork for future studies by looking at the data available on the various materials in the informal sector.

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