Project

Smart inclusive waste management India (SweepSmart)

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SweepSmart is a Smart Inclusive Waste Franchise system that cleans India’s streets and empowers the informal waste sector (former ragpickers) with European waste management knowledge.

India has a huge waste problem, with streets and rivers becoming polluted. The informal sector, especially waste pickers, are exploited and work under miserable working conditions with a highly fluctuating income of maximum $0.5-2 per day. SweepSmart gives the informal workers a job to be proud of, with higher income, better working conditions and a formal identity. The idea is to set up a system of micro franchisees that do collection, sorting and recycling waste. The system consists of an operational system for each type of micro franchise (processes + hardware) and a monitoring system (software) to manage the micro franchises and create insight in the waste and monetary streams.

The power of SweepSmart lies in combining European waste management knowledge and local entrepreneurship. The system is set up together with local cooperatives that organise the waste pickers. They already create a more stable income, but struggle with decreasing material prices and efficiency problems. Applying European waste management knowledge, we can make the existing informal system much more efficient (expected up to 5-6 times in some cases).

The system is Circular (higher recycling/value creation), Inclusive (jobs for informal workers), Transparent (insight in waste streams) and highly scalable. We believe we can quickly scale up this new business model and IT system after a pilot in which we want to test our business model and further shape the partnership with local partner(s). We expect to impact the lives of thousands of waste pickers within 5 years, while millions of households will benefit from a cleaner environment, and we believe the model is also scalable outside India.

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