Waste Management Training For Sustainable Economy, Society And Environment: Earth5r’s Circular Economy Program In Mumbai

More than half of Mumbai’s population lives in slums, or areas of extreme poverty.

With an estimated 6.5 million people residing in these conditions, Mumbai has the largest slum population of any city in the world.

Due to these poor sanitation practices, Mumbai faces many environmental and social issues that threaten both the health of the people and the local ecosystem.

Without a proper waste management system, millions of slum residents in Mumbai, as well as the 5,000 or so small scale to mid-scale businesses, have resorted to environmentally detrimental methods of disposing of waste including direct dumping onto the streets. These unsustainable practices not only lead to poor sanitation for the community but also may further deteriorate the ecosystem when the waste ends up polluting the Mithi River which flows by.

The Earth5R team is working with RiverRecycleUnited Nations Technology Innovation Labs, and VTT to clean up Mithi River in Mumbai with the help of a plastic debris recovery machine funded by Huhtamäki which can remove 60 tonnes of plastic per day.

But a more spearhead response is needed by the community.


In addressing this poor waste management system in Mumbai, Earth5R volunteers introduced the Solid Waste Management and Circular Economy for Livelihood Training Programme. 

The Earth5R volunteer team visits multiple regions within Mumbai to teach residents the importance of waste segregation and management through interactive hands-on workshops.

These workshops not only heightened environmental awareness but also promoted creativity in adopting different circular economy approaches to solving problems.


A circular economy is a closed-loop system focused on minimizing waste and pollution by maximizing the value of products. By adopting circular economy approaches, Earth5R seeks to shift communities to pursue a more sustainable lifestyle that reduces environmental exploitation, maximizes the use of goods, encourages innovation, and boosts local economies.


In merely the Kurla region, Earth5R volunteers trained 500 families on valuable environmental lessons that teach topics such as the importance of composting out of organic waste. By adopting the practice of composting, families not only reduced the amount of organic waste ending in landfills but also received significant benefits from utilizing compost as gardening supplements. Through these sessions, they were also able to sell the compost for a supplementary income for their families.


By introducing economic opportunities to slum residents, the Livelihood Programme further empowers communities. Residents, especially women, are taught to upcycle waste like discarded clothes, paper, and plastic into products for generating income.

Through these seemingly simple actions, Earth5R’s volunteers create massive impacts as they continue to equip communities with the necessary training and tools to create a more sustainable and independent community and a more healthier planet. 


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 Claire Hsu, Edited by Riya Dani