Industrialization, urbanization, and population growth have steadily contributed to increased waste generation. People throw away the disposable waste on roadsides or dump them in slum areas or fill up spaces in the landfill, eventually suffocating the inhabitants of the area. 

The children from such slum areas face serious health issues due to pollution, lack of cleanliness and sanitation, and dirty wate

The situation of schools in slum areas of Mumbai isn’t any different. The lack of waste management, unhealthy environment, unavailability of drinking water and poor sanitation are some of the factors causing trouble to the students. 

The Earth 5R’s circular economy based ‘Sustainable Green School Project’ in partnership with the Swiss Staff Foundation principally focuses on building a school having an eco-friendly study environment based on the zero-waste concept.

This project places prime importance on improving waste collection methods, segregation, safe handling, and recycling

The Earth5R citizen volunteers visit children from slum areas and teach them different types of wastes and their segregation methods through interactive sessions.

An Earth5R Volunteer engaging children via games before ‘waste management’ training

Children are encouraged to collect recyclable plastic wastes from their area to convert them into school bags, school benches, and desks. 

The volunteers train these school children in sustainable waste management through visual examples of waste and its classification as given below: 

  1. Recyclable paper wastes
  2. Recyclable metal wastes
  3. Recyclable single-use plastics
  4. Recyclable high-value wastes
  5. Organic wastes
  6. Hazardous wastes
  7. Multilayer packaging wastes

Among these, segregation is cumbersome with single-use plastics because of the difficulty in their collection and recycling. Multilayer packaging wastes or mixed medium wastes are also non-recyclable.

An Earth5R pictorial guide for sustainable waste management 

Organic wastes or wet wastes were converted to compost that could be used as good quality manure.

Children have also created ‘Ecobrick Gardens’ in schools from non-usable waste materials. 

School children making eco-bricks from cleaned plastic wastes

Powai Municipality School in Mumbai overcame inconvenience due to shortage of benches and quality bags, lack of water filters, improper waste management through this sustainable green school project.

Before the sustainable green school project, the children used to sit on the floor due to the lack of sufficient benches and desks.

Through volunteer-driven actions, students can now sit on benches made from recycled waste plastic. Also, the project ensured quality bags for all the students.

The sustainable green school project offers a new strategy for the effective utilization of wastes for crafting useful products and sustainable livelihood. It paves an ideal way for the future generation to have high-quality and environment-friendly study space.


Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office at Mumbai. It works with the NGO sector, Companies and helps them conduct environmental Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs across India.

Earth5R specializes in circular economy based projects. Earth5R also offers short term and long term environmental courses and fellowships.


The Swiss Staff Foundation for Children in Need ( is committed to disadvantaged children throughout the world. This commitment is made possible by the voluntary payroll deductions of our employees, and by your donations.

– Reported by Sajitha Siril, edited by Trisha Garg