Establishing A Circular Economy: Waste Management Program In Bhandup Region Of Mumbai

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are 17 integrated global goals adopted by all United Nations member countries that aim to create social and environmental sustainability. Earth5R’s Circular Economy model works to achieve the same. 

A vital step to accomplish this challenge is to combat the grave situation of climate change which is further interconnected with other concerns such as the responsible consumption of goods and establishing sustainable communities. Here, waste management programs become imperative as they are an essential aspect for preventing climate change. 

The incorrect disposal and treatment of waste can produce emissions of several greenhouse gases which contribute to global climate change.

A collective effort that combines waste management at each tier, ranging from household waste management in the form of waste segregation and composting to citywide waste management initiatives, is a contributing factor to the solution for global warming. 

A general view of Dharavi, considered to be one of the largest slums in the world, in Mumbai (Source: EPA)

55 percent of Mumbai’s total population lives in slums.

Mumbai, India’s biggest city and a financial centre, faces the challenge of consisting of approximately 2000 slum dwellings that often lack access to civic amenities such as electricity (58% of the slums) and a formal waste management system. 

Source: Times of India

Earth5R’s sustainability programs present a solution to this problem by raising awareness and implementing a preventive strategy to remove and reduce waste in the environment. 


This community training program mainly focuses on the underprivileged section of society and works by educating them on circular economy practices that create a sustainable future for such communities residing in slum regions. 

Earth5R volunteer in an interactive demonstration session about waste management techniques with the locals

The foundation of this program rests upon the citizen volunteers who visit slum settlements in different parts of the city and conduct frequent training sessions for approximately 50 families each day. This initiative aims to reduce socio-economic disparities through environmental solutions in order to create an empowered and inclusive social structure by educating the lower stratas of society.

Earth5R community training sessions provide insight to the local residents about practices such as waste segregation, recycling and upcycling that can easily be employed by individuals at the household level


The main aspects that are brought up and taught to the residents using visual demonstrations and presentations in these training sessions are as follows: 

  1. Waste segregation – segregation of household waste into dry and wet waste.
  2. Composting – using the wet household waste to produce compost that can be used as fertilisers for plants.
  3. Upcycling and recycling – recycling plastic items as much as possible and using plastic, old clothes and paper to generate new, useful products. 
  4. Highlighting correct and impactful waste disposal methods for each waste type.
  5. Explaining and raising awareness about critical issues such as the widespread impact of incorrect waste disposal on public health, quality of life and the planet. 

The program also lay emphasis on explaining to residents the importance of maintaining and keeping water bodies around or within their area clean. Disposing of waste into water bodies can severely pollute them and raise the risk of spread of diseases. 

Under Earth5R’s Waste Management Training Program, the citizen volunteers train the locals in composting and about the do’s and don’ts of preparing compost

All of these actions, if inculcated into the residents’ lives, help to create a circular economy that is built on sustainable practices. 

The sustainable community initiative by Earth5R offers a solution to problems faced by a majority of non-notified slums. Such programs have several advantages for slum communities, from monetary benefits to the reformation of the social structure while still participating in actions that can save and protect our environment. 


Earth5R is an environmental organization from India with its head office in 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.

– Reported by Siya Wadhwa, Edited by Trisha Garg