Plastic waste in India is ubiquitous. This challenge, however, has largely gone unnoticed for the rural areas of India and has magnified into a major environmental problem – Single use plastics, multi layered packaging waste, diapers, electronics, sanitary pads, etc. making in-roads into rural markets. One main cause of this problem is the lack of financial resources towards the implementation of waste management systems.
In recognition of the rising amount of plastic waste generated in the villages, the jurisdictions of plastic waste management rules (2016) have been expanded to rural areas with the responsibility for implementation handed to the local administration, also known as "Gram Panchayats" (GP). Despite this fact, very little has been invested in capacity building or sustained implementation of waste management projects in these rural regions.
Against this background, the Wuppertal Institute, together with the project partner rePurpose, started the project "Plastic Credits – Financing the Transition to the Global Circular Economy" that aims to plan, finance and implement efficient and ethically justifiable waste management systems in rural regions of India.
This project strives to finance the development of efficient and ethical infrastructural waste management systems in the following rural regions in India. The pilot regions cover Goa, Maharashtra and Kerala.
Central milestones are the creation of a continuous supply chain for waste collection, processing and ethical disposal; followed by the improvement of local employment and income conditions for informal workers in waste collection and processing; and last but not least, the finance and maintenance of rural waste management systems (beyond the project duration) through the monetization of previously worthless plastic waste streams and the creation of so-called "plastic credits”.
The Wuppertal Institute navigates the project management as well as the coordination and scientific support for the local implementing organisations, which will be responsible for raising public awareness, extending capacity and coordinating the collection and separation of plastic waste on site. The researchers at the Wuppertal Institute will carry out the essential literature research on waste management in the pilot areas and collect secondary data; support local partners in infrastructure development; and evaluate the status quo of the current waste management processes and based thereon, conduct an environmental impacts assessment (EIA) of the pilot projects with a Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA).