Establishing A Circular Economy: Waste Management And Livelihood Training At Mumbai

Earth5R team has devised a solution based on Circular Economy to solve the waste management crisis and empower the communities

Mumbai, the most populous city of India, is also one of the most progressive, developed, and wealthiest regions of the country. However, while a part of its population enjoys economic prosperity and social development, it is also home to one of the world’s biggest slums and a total of almost 2000 slum dwellings. 


Earth5R volunteer training the locals in circular economy solution by waste segregation (Earth5R)

An estimated 6.5 million people, around 65% of Mumbai’s total population, live in slums.


The locals are trained in the basics of Waste Management to manage their waste disposal crisis (Earth5R)

50% of Mumbai’s slums are non-notified, i.e, they do not have security of land tenure and are not entitled to basic city services such as connections to water supply and sanitation.

The Kurla region of Mumbai, home to the 3rd largest slum in India that shelters over 100,000 families, does not have an established formal waste management system. Within this area, there exist almost 5000 businesses and as a result, the 125 tonnes of daily waste produced by these small-scale industries accumulates on the streets and due to incorrect waste disposal, a large part of this waste often ends up in Mithi River which runs through the locality.

Earth5R’s Community Training initiative focuses on establishing a sustainable and circular economy in this region of Mumbai.


The training is interactive to encourage greater involvement and action (Earth5R)



This project focuses on REDUCING the amount of incorrectly disposed waste before there is a need to REMOVE it from the environment.


Locals – especially women are trained in converting the wastes like paper, plastic and clothes into sell-able products (Earth5R)


Livelihood training empowers the women of the community by making them financially independent (Earth5R)

The Earth5R’s Community Training Project uses a preventive strategy by conducting waste management and composting training sessions for the local communities of this area. Volunteers from Earth5R are educating the residents of slums using interactive forms such as games and visual aids. The community is trained in actions such as:

  • Recycling waste materials (such as plastic)
  • Composting (using organic waste produced in households)
  • Upcycling and Repurposing (waste materials such as plastic and paper)

Residents of all age groups – children, adults and elderly – are trained using fun and interactive activities (Earth5R)



This program focuses on empowering women by training them to produce new products by repurposing old clothes, plastic and paper which can then be marketed and sold, thus enabling them to become financially independent. The residents are also taught marketing skills and strategies to help establish their position in the market.


The Circular Economy based solution helps in overcoming the crisis of waste management while providing a means of livelihood to many (Earth5R)

To further reduce socio-economic disparities within the community, rag-pickers are included in the collection of recyclables that enables them to earn an income and provides them with livelihood opportunities.


An Earth5R volunteer training the women of the community in the importance of waste segregation (Earth5R)

An effective solution to the problems faced by several slums, This Project has successfully trained more than 500 families on livelihood projects and circular economy initiatives. Local community programs such as this have several benefits in the form of monetary benefits, social development, and improving our environment. They lead us one step closer to creating an inclusive social structure and a sustainable future.


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.

Reported by Siya Wadhwa, Edited by Riya Dani

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