Prototyping & Driving

Sustainable Waste Management Solutions

The Problem

Tourism-related activities in the Indian Himalayan Region generate over 8.4 million MT of waste per annum. This is projected to increase rapidly over the next few years as the tourism boom continues. Due to a lack of proper collection and processing systems, over 60% of this waste is dumped or burned in the open.

When waste is dumped in these eco-sensitive areas, it generally ends up in our forests or water bodies, and when it is burnt in the open, it releases dioxins and furans, some of the most toxic and carcinogenic chemicals known to scientists. 

This senseless dumping and burning impacts countless species of wildlife in the region, who ingest the waste and inhale the fumes.

Waste burning also releases black carbon, a significant source of pollutants, leading to the faster melting of the Himalayan glaciers, thereby reinforcing anthropogenic climate change.

Unfortunately, the marginalized communities who live near landfills and dumpsites and wildlife who live in these eco-sensitive regions are the most vulnerable to the impacts of waste!

Waste dumping also contributes to the global ocean plastic pollution crisis and increases microplastics in our water sources. Plastic pollution has reached everywhere, from the highest point on land, Mount Everest, to the lowest point in the sea, Mariana Trench.

Over the years, there has been more documented evidence of an increase in microplastics in human blood, in the placenta of unborn babies, and even in something as sacrosanct as a mother’s breastmilk. This is simply unfair, and unsustainable in the long term!

Waste burning also releases black carbon, a significant source of pollutants, leading to the faster melting of the Himalayan glaciers and thereby reinforcing anthropogenic climate change.

Root Causes


Consumer and consumption patterns have been changing rapidly in the Himalayan region, with people buying more plastic products as cheaper alternatives.


The region has been seeing a heavy influx of tourism, not just in hotels but also in trekking, rafting, and other adventure sports. This has led to massive rise in single-use plastic products.


There hasn't been enough government convergence on schemes and programs to handle the influx of tourists, businesses, or plastic usage.


The entire region, especially big cities, suffers from a lack of effective waste collection systems and material recovery infrastructure.


In both urban and rural areas, there is still a lot of social stigma attached towards waste, its disposal, and the waste workers who collect and handle it every day.

Our Theory of Change

Empowering Communities

Active participation of the local communities in designing, implementing, and monitoring systems is critical for the sustainability of any solution. We believe in strengthening existing community-based institutions wherever possible and creating new institutions if necessary.

Enhancing Infrastructure

Behaviour change campaigns can be successful only when reliable services can be ensured, which requires enhanced infrastructure for waste collection & processing.

Inspiring Local Governments

When local governments are inspired, they can come up with ingenious & creative solutions. We believe that by building the capacities of local governments, we can enable effective convergence & utilization of available resources for the implementation of solid waste management systems.

Promoting Local Entrepreneurship

Local entrepreneurship ensures the value generated from the systemic solution remains within the local communities. The local entrepreneurs are accountable to the community and need to develop a trust-based relationship with them.

Overcoming Social Stigma

We can overcome social stigma by providing a sense of identity and igniting agency among marginalized communities through the generation of dignified livelihoods.

Scaling Through Partnerships

Scaling the solution is more important than scaling the organization. We believe in developing open-source playbooks & partnerships with multiple stakeholders to scale solutions.

Our Solutions

Zero Waste Program

Enabling better governance in waste management in urban and rural areas, with a special focus on tourist areas of IHR.

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Community Activation

Activating communities to take local environmental action and co-create solutions.

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Research & Advocacy

Addressing research and policy gaps specific to the eco-sensitive Indian Himalayan Region.

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Dignified Livelihoods

Igniting agency in women and youth to earn their identity through dignified livelihoods.

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Model Ward Dehradun

Funder: Lal Family Foundation

Objectives: To create a model ward in Ward 97 where 100% household waste is segregated and sent for processing at the MRF in Harrawala.


Model Ward Dharamshala

Ward 7 & 8, Dharamshala
Funder: HT Parekh Foundation

Objectives: To initiate behavioural change and strengthen municipal systems for the adoption of best practices on solid waste management.


Dry Waste Management

Location: Dehradun
Funder: UNDP

Objectives: To build a self-sustainable decentralized model for solid waste management and replicate this model for establishing more such decentralized MRFs.


Tetra Pak Project

Location: Dehradun
Funder: Tetra Pak

Objective: To develop a market ecosystem where post-consumer used beverage cartons (UBCs) are considered a valuable resource, capable of increasing the daily income of waste workers.


Project Aviral Rishikesh

Location: Rishikesh
Funder: Alliance To End Plastic Waste through GIZ

Objective: To reduce plastic waste entering the Ganga through scalable and replicable plastic waste management solutions in Rishikesh.


Our Impact

Since 2012, our teams have been working in North India's urban and rural Himalayan regions. We're proud of our efforts, and recognize that there still is a lot more to do in the war against waste!

Metric Tonnes Collected
People Engaged
Cleaner Businesses
Schools Trained