FROM THE FIELD: India’s plastic waste revolution

UNDP Waste pickers sort through a garbage dump in India.

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


The recycling of plastic waste in India is boosting the incomes of impoverished women and helping build roads and fire cement furnaces, thanks to support from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Waste collectors, or ragpickers as they are known more colloquially in the cities of Bhopal and Indore, in Madhya Pradesh state, are being encouraged to hand over plastic waste to local collection centres.

Single-use plastics, which would have ended up in landfill sites, are now being used to fuel cement furnaces and build roads, providing an additional income source for the ragpickers.

The project, under the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Small Grants Programme (SGP), implemented by UNDP, has been so successful that it has been extended across India and has been replicated in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Read more here about how India is revolutionizing the recycling of plastic waste.

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