Kabadiwalla Connect

  • India

About The Innovator

The recovery of post-consumer waste in cities in the developing world is driven by the informal ecosystem. Kabadiwalla Connect (KC) has determined that leveraging this unique supply-chain of urban waste aggregators has the potential to decrease the amount of waste being sent to landfills, waterways and oceans by 70%.In the current scenario, municipalities, multinational brands, and waste management companies struggle to work effectively with informal stakeholders – despite increasing evidence of the commercial, environmental, and social benefits of working together.

Using ICT and IoT based technology, KC helps integrate the informal ecosystem of waste-pickers, itinerant buyers, small and large scrap-shops into the formal waste management system. In 2015, Kabadiwalla Connect (KC) pioneered an approach to mapping and surveying the informal waste ecosystem in Chennai, India. It uncovered a fascinating system of waste-pickers, itinerant buyers, small and large scrap shops who worked together in the recovery of recyclable waste. KC mapped over 2000 small scrap shops distributed across the city and our analysis revealed that collectively these shops and their waste-pickers were responsible for recovering over 120,000 tons of post-consumer recyclable material every year.

Pilot Description

Location: Chennai, India

KC is currently developing a pilot, ISWMTrak, in Chennai, which is a GIS-enabled Data Platform that creates a baseline and monitors the progress made in delivering effective and inclusive Integrated Solid Waste Management (ISWM) in a city or region. The dashboard allows users to model ideal waste recovery systems and conduct critical gap assessments in Chennai’s administrative regions. The dashboard will be primarily used by key stakeholders in the waste management industry to track and monitor ISWM in the region. The data platform can also be used to engage with local residents and communicate progress regarding municipal and plastic waste management.

KC will overlay its dataset of the informal sector on Chennai’s formal infrastructure and model optimal collection systems based on the demographic, informal and formal assets available in Chennai’s Municipal wards. This data platform when completed for Chennai, would provide a strong case for the inclusion of the informal sector into the future plans of the waste management and recycling industry and be replicable across other cities in India, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

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