Waste Management lessons from an ITC project in Saharanpur..

The authors call it best out of waste.

Given rapid urbanisation and the increasing amounts of solid waste generated in India cities, there is a pressing need for effective waste management processes. In this article, Sourabh Bhattacharjee and Ujjwal Sinha, who have been associated with a successful waste management project in Saharanpur, provide an outline of the project and highlight lessons for other Indian cities. 

There are nearly 125,000 households in Saharanpur in the state of Uttar Pradesh and approximately 65 tonnes of waste is generated daily. In order to dispose of household waste in a safe and cost-effective manner, ITC Ltd. launched the Mission Sunhera Kal in October 2006, under its social development initiative. The project has developed a model that reduces the burden of land filling, and helps in recycling/ reusing of biodegradable and recyclable waste. It is implemented in collaboration with an NGO (non-governmental organisation) called Muskan Jyoti Samiti (MSK).

The programme covers nearly 17,000 households in Saharanpur. The model is one of door-to-door collection of waste4, six days a week. Each waste collector covers 225-250 households daily, between 7.30 am and 1.30 pm. They move around in a rickshaw trolley, carrying two plastic bags – one for recyclable waste and the other for biodegradable and non-recyclable waste5. Thus, primary segregation of the waste is done at the household level. Households are made aware of the importance and process of primary segregation through campaigns such as road shows, pamphlets etc., as well as day-to-day reminders by waste collectors.

To separate the non-recyclable and biodegradable waste, secondary segregation is done at the waste management site. The biodegradable waste is then processed to make organic compost, the recyclable waste is sold to private vendors, and non-recyclable waste is transported to landfills. Therefore, nearly 85% of the total waste is recycled or reused and only 15% (non-recyclable) goes to landfills….


Lessons for others:

‘Mission Sunhera Kal’ shows that cleanliness can be achieved in a cost-effective manner with a well-designed system for house-to-house collection of solid waste, which provides employment opportunities without putting undue financial burden on the local government body. The model is environment-friendly and economically self-sustainable, and easily replicable in cities across India.

  • The PPPP9 model, involving the community, local government bodies, and other stakeholders, is a key factor in the success of the programme in Saharanpur. MCs can either implement solid waste management on their own, or outsource the process to other organisations while limiting its role to monitoring and facilitation. Community awareness regarding the importance of effective solid waste management, environmental and health hazards etc. is central to the process, so that households are willing to participate by undertaking primary segregation, and pay user chargers for waste being picked up directly from them.
  • The model should be revenue-driven to make it economically sustainable in the long run. Money can be raised by either levying user charges on households, or through taxes. Sale of recyclable waste and manures are other key sources of revenue.
  • MCs generally pick up waste from community bins. However, the Saharanpur model promotes picking up of waste directly from the source (households) for greater cleanliness and hygiene in the community. This would require more human resources in the form of waste collectors, in addition to the street sweepers.

Trying to make Saharanpur livable using simple ideas..


2 Responses to “Waste Management lessons from an ITC project in Saharanpur..”

  1. gchawla123 Says:


    This is Govinda, Commercial strategy manager in Mumbai and recent MBA graduate from Germany.

    I really appreciate your efforts and idea regarding waste management. I have also prepared a business plan to implement this idea in Indonesia and very much looking forward to implement this in India, or starting from one city, May be Saharanpur. (I was born and brought up in Saharanpur).

    I was wandering if we can meet some time, to discuss this. I would like to know more about the current situation of waste management in Saharanpur. It could be a good opportunity for all of us.


  2. Nida ansari Says:

    I want u to help me in RBG project……..
    It will give benifit to ur sunehra kal project.
    I’ll be highly obliged if u respond on this👍🙎

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