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MoHUA Organizes City-Recycler Connect Workshop to Promote SBM Under ‘Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar’ Campaign

Urban India generates around 1.45 lakh tonnes of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), with dry waste accounting for 35 to 40% of the total.

Shivam Dwivedi
MoHUA Organizes City-Recycler Connect Workshop to Promote SBM Under ‘Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar’ Campaign (Photo Source: PIB)
MoHUA Organizes City-Recycler Connect Workshop to Promote SBM Under ‘Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar’ Campaign (Photo Source: PIB)

The nationwide campaign 'Meri LiFE, Mera Swachh Shehar' campaign, launched by the Union Minister for Housing & Urban Affairs and Petroleum & Natural Gas, Hardeep Singh Puri on May 15, 2023, is gaining widespread traction across the country.

The campaign, centered around the principles of Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle (RRR), aims to encourage cities to establish 'RRR Centres' where citizens can contribute items such as clothes, shoes, old books, toys, and used plastic for reuse or recycling.

Aligned with the vision of Garbage-Free Cities under SBM-U 2.0, the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) collaborated with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ) to organize the City-Recycler Connect workshop on June 01, 2023. The workshop brought together cities, states, and agencies involved in the digital space, as well as recyclers and recycling associations with a strong network for collecting recyclables from cities.

These agencies and associations specialize in plastic, glass, rubber & tire, and paper recycling. Panellists included experts and officials from TERI, GIZ, and private players like Kabadiwala Connect and Recykal, among others. The discussions focused on creating enabling conditions for recyclers to collaborate with cities, exploring opportunities, and outlining a roadmap for establishing forward linkages to source materials from city RRR and MRF (Material Recovery Facility) centers.

During the workshop, Secretary of MoHUA, Manoj Joshi emphasized the need for improved recycling equipment and organized involvement of both recyclers and ragpickers, both organized and unorganized. With the significant amount of waste generated, there are ample opportunities to generate wealth from recycling. He called for collective engagement to complete the RRR chain.

Cities have embraced the key messages of the campaign, resulting in the establishment of over 15,000 RRR Centres and counting. More than 2 million citizens have actively participated by voluntarily donating their unused items, old books, clothes, shoes, toys, and more. These items will be refurbished by the cities for recycling and reuse. To date, cities have collected 188 tons of plastic, 315 tons of cloth, and around 200,000 old books.

Dr. Dominik Wallau, Counsellor of Financial Affairs at the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, expressed pride in the partnership between India and Germany through this program. He highlighted the importance of bridging the gap between cities, the private sector, and recyclers to divert more waste towards effective recycling, thereby reducing waste leakage into the marine environment. He emphasized the need for circularity, digitalization, and material traceability to accelerate recycling efforts and mitigate waste leakage globally.

Urban India generates approximately 1.45 lakh tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW), with nearly 35 to 40 percent constituting dry waste. Most types of dry waste can be reused or recycled. For example, studies indicate that around 60 percent of the plastic waste generated in the country is recycled. Plastic waste is the predominant fraction in the dry waste stream. India has a relatively higher recycling rate compared to other countries due to its long-standing practice of reuse and recycling. However, the full potential of dry waste recycling remains untapped due to limited collection channels and high transportation costs.

Swachh Bharat Mission-Urban 2.0 (SBM-U 2.0) aims to scale up and streamline the recycling of discarded items through the establishment of RRR Centres and collaboration with recyclers, thereby improving the recycling value chain.

A best practice document on the 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle – was launched during the workshop to assist cities and states in formulating effective strategies. Additionally, a digital platform called "Sansaadhan," which facilitates connectivity between cities and the recycling market, was showcased at the event.

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