India is generating more waste today than ever before, and the reasons are obvious. Three factors - a large and growing population, rapid and unplanned urbanisation and, perhaps most importantly, inefficient management of post-consumer packaging waste - are to blame. Waste disposal and management infrastructure has lagged severely, creating a massive environmental problem, choking landfills and the seabed, posing a serious public health risk, not to mention an enormous waste of resources.
ITC's Solid Waste Management programme focuses on building a clean and green environment. It uses a decentralized approach, and aims at minimizing waste, encouraging source segregation and the recycling of dry waste. Also, a closed-loop waste management model helps convert temple waste to useful biogas and compost.
ITC's flagship 'WOW - Well Being Out of Waste' initiative has reached 38 lakh households, 52 lakh school children and around 2,040 corporates since its inception, created social entrepreneurs and generated livelihoods for thousands of waste collectors. Community-based waste management projects are operational in 17 districts of 11 states.
The focus remains on source segregation and minimising waste to landfills, and creating decentralised community-owned waste management centres. Household clusters are formed and home composting encouraged to push waste management closer to the generator, and therefore minimise environmental impact and associated costs.
Additionally, a 'Green Temple Initiative' active in Tamil Nadu promotes a closed loop waste management model involving processing of waste generated in temples to provide biogas to the kitchen and compost for its gardens.