Transforming Mumbai Through Solid Waste Management And Circular Economy For Livelihood Training Program

The waste generation rates across the world are rising due to the rapid population growth and urbanization.

Currently, estimated per capita waste generation rates in India are about 0.5 kg/day. By 2030, this is expected to increase five-fold to 2.5 kg/capita/day.

Solid waste management is critical for sustainable, healthy, and inclusive cities and communities, yet it gets overlooked very often. 

The annual global waste generation is expected to increase by 70% from 2016 to 2050. (World Bank Report)

Mumbai is one of the highest waste generating megacity in India. Amongst the backdrop of high rise buildings, the city is distinctly marked with informal, sprawling slum settlements, with a flawed waste management system.

The team works at grassroot level, enabling proactive participation of these slum residents and businesses in waste management across Mumbai.  Under its Solid waste Management and Circular Economy for Livelihood Training Program, they educate and generate awareness among locals regarding sustainable waste management at household level and how the waste can be used as a source of livelihood. 


Waste is a particularly bad problem in cities, due to lack of space, growing populations and the ubiquitous availability of disposable goods. However, solid waste can also be a very serious problem in slum areas where regular and formal waste removal is not available.

Our waste reflects who we are, what we do, what we eat – it reflects our beliefs, choices, tastes, our income, and most of all, our lifestyle and the lifestyle of those around us.

For that matter, the Earth5R citizen volunteers are conducting a series of trainings for the diverse slum residents which comprise of the children, adults and elderly to help them better manage their daily garbage generated at household level. 

These training are to reinforce the citizen’s role and commitment to a safer and better local environment.

These ‘agents of change’ i.e Earth5R volunteers create awareness by explaining about the ideal waste scenario i.e. segregation-at-source from the perspective of an individual/household/office. Safe waste disposal practices, reduced consumption, cleanliness, the 3R’s of waste management are the other key highlights of these interactive sessions.


At Earth5R, the waste is looked at in a whole new way – as a RESOURCE that supports livelihoods and fights poverty and as a tool that empowers women and children. 

Here the slum dwellers are taught about the different ways of upcycling of waste material such as old cloth or plastic or newspaper or making compost from the household organic kitchen waste. Such products can then be sold in the local market, thereby boosting the local economy and better income conditions. 

Earth5R volunteer training the participants in circular economy by teaching methods to convert waste into products at Andheri (East), Mumbai

Converting waste into social wealth by creating and facilitating jobs in the waste sector, organizing the informal sector for self-representation are some of the actions undertaken in the Circular Economy Livelihood Training.

According to some estimates, waste pickers recycle anywhere between 20% to 60% of the waste we produce.

An Earth5R volunteer conducting Livelihood Training for the women at Vikhroli (Varsha Nagar), Mumbai

Citizens have the largest power with regard to solid waste management as they are the ones who generate waste, individually, as families, and as businesses. The habits of citizens in disposing of waste plays a crucial role in creating sustainable communities and for a better common 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 Trisha Garg, Edited by Riya Dani