Solid waste management is one of the biggest challenges faced by communities. Most solid waste, if not processed properly, goes to a landfill. The residents of Chennai need to be well connected with local kabadiwallas (waste collectors) to ensure that less recyclable wastes go to landfills.
Kabadiwalla Connect works with city residents and commercial establishments to provide them with solutions for waste segregation. They also help them sell the recyclable waste materials (like paper, metal scrap, glass, plastic, etc.) to the local kabadiwallas, which in turn sell it to be upcycled, or recycled for a profit.
To date, the Chennai Hub has undertaken the following activities:
- Launch of an Instagram campaign to celebrate recyclers in the informal waste ecosystem. Volunteers collected over 400 photos of kabadiwallas and others in the city.
- Mapping of kabadiwallas was done to facilitate easy engagement between the residents and the kabaddiwallas.
- Launch of an information service to the public on solid waste management.
- Organization of various events such as expert-led discussions on waste management, public art display on upcycling.
- An extensive survey was conducted with the kabadiwallas to understand the informality in solid waste management.
Kabadiwalla Connect is no longer a hub project but has evolved into a full-time organization providing decentralized waste management solutions and technology for cities in the developing world. It has prevented 1.25 lakh kilo of PET bottles from entering into landfills. To date, 2,000 kabadiwallas have been listed, 100 of whom have specialized and professionalized with Kabadiwalla Connect. Kabadiwalla Connect is now one of the leading organizations driving Chennai’s solid waste management.