SN Tripathi Memorial Lectures (2011)…

'Combating Climate Change Through Waste'
Recycling- The Unsung, Unnoticed Heroes- The Kabadis...'

Ms Bharati Chaturvedi

Paper is either recycled or thrown somewhere but the problem with paper is that if it gets little water you can't recycle it. It's over. It loses its value of recycling chain. It does go to landfills and contributes to GHG emission as after all it is organic. In a way we are adding substance that generates waste and thus add more & more GHGs in our environment.
On one hand the situation looks grim but on the other, the good news is that all the three things mentioned above have simple and generalized ways of finding solutions.

Global Thinking

• Composting
• Reducing Landfilllng. Landfills are expensive to maintain and they emit GHGs
• Informal Sector Recycling. Most of the waste recycling is done by informal sector. The kabadis are not only Indian but they are
  global and across the world now people are looking at the informal sector. Globally there has been thinking to formalize kabadis
  as a weapon to fight against climate change.
• Clean Development Mechanism

How Recycling Works

According to the World Bank, approximately 1% of the population of a developing country city is involved in recycling. A lot of recycling comprises trade, segregation, sorting and storage. The chemical reprocessing is just the tip of the pyramid. The system adds 750% value to plastic before it is even reprocessed. Amazingly well organzed but also, mostly informal.

Most recycling in our country takes place through informal sector. The informal sector of recycling works like a pyramid with the waste pickers/kabadis at the base-

• Reprocessors- they convert a sheet of paper into sweet box
• Large Scrap Dealers
• Small Scrap Dealers
• Itinerant Buyers, who collect raddis
• Waste pickers/Doorstep Collectors

A study by Chintan revealed that informal recyclers reduce 3.6 times more GHGs than any other plants launched to reduce GHG emission.But they never get carbon credits. They are unnoticed as they do not have any brand
Who Are These Recyclers?

• 1% of a city's population
• 20 lakh in India
• Save money for cities
• Rural, marginal, dislocated, often due to landlessness and agricultural crisis.
• Mostly Dalits and Muslims.