Waste to Wealth Ė Time to Change Perspective

The United Nations forecast estimates that by 2025 the world population will grow from 7.2 billion to 8.1 billion. It is estimated that the growth will be more in urban areas predicting a shift of 1.4 billion people to cities worldwide. It is also estimated that the growth will be more in Asian and African countries. To accommodate this growth, the urban centres should be well equipped with infrastructure and basic needs of shelter, food and materials. Considering the fact that most of the Asian and African countries are in various stages of development, this would certainly mean more material consumption and therefore more use of natural resources and more waste generation. It is estimated that the cities will be producing more waste at an average of 1.42 kg per day. This is more than double the average of 0.64 kg per day being produced currently.

India is not far behind in this scenario. Currently India generates around 150 million tonnes of garbage per day. However, itís not the amount of waste generated thatís as much of an issue as the fact that more than 45 million tonnes, or 3 million trucks worth, of garbage is untreated and disposed of by municipal authorities every day in an unhygienic manner.

At Development Alternatives, we believe that waste is not a material to be thrown in the land. We look at waste as a resource waiting to be exploited and a means of creating profitable business models. Instead of disposing off the waste and incurring expenses, a systemic approach can be adopted to transform the waste into an income generating commodity. Over the last few years, we have developed technologies and business models like creating building products from mining and stone crushing waste; handmade paper from textile industry wastes and tetrapak; internal fuels in brick making from beverage and sponge iron industries; stone paper from marble dust etc. In all these initiatives, a profitable business model approach has been followed.

We hope that these models are replicated so that entrepreneurs can make profit from waste and the environment benefits from the proper management and reuse of waste.

Soumen Maity
smaity@devalt.org

 

 

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