ITC’s Well-being Out of Waste (WOW) programme is a flagship initiative that seeks to address the crucial issue of post-consumer waste management in line with the Government’s `Swachh Bharat’ programme, ensuring the proper segregation and recycling of waste in a manner that protects and restores the environment, ensures the cleanliness and hygiene of neighbourhoods and in the process creates sustainable livelihoods for a whole host of participants in the waste management process.
ITC’s WOW programme aims to create awareness among general public about the “Reduce-Reuse-Recycle” approach. The programme seeks to inculcate the habit of source segregation prior to collection of post-consumer waste.
The ecosystem of participants involved in the collection and recycling of segregated waste include waste handlers who derive sustainable livelihood from this activity, recycling units who benefit from a steady source of identified and relevant waste, NGOs who train waste handlers and increase awareness about segregating waste among communities, and social entrepreneurs who avail of the opportunity to develop a sustainable business model out of waste collection and supply to recyclers.
This programme is today being actively propagated and is receiving widespread support across 8 cities in South India, including Bengaluru, Chennai and Coimbatore and 5 cities in Telengana with plans to extend it to other towns and cities as well. The WOW programme started with a collection of just 10 MT of recyclables in 2007 has now swelled to collections of over 20000 MT. Over 2100 waste handlers have gained sustainable livelihoods through this activity. Additionally, similar waste collection and recycling programmes along with composting of organic waste in Munger in Bihar, Saharanpur in Uttar Pradesh and Tribeni in West Bengal provide gainful livelihood to 300 people.