A cloud-based platform created by IT services firm MindTree as part of a corporate social initiative aims to help India’s waste pickers to organize themselves as small businesses to help increase recycling in India, while improving the lives of 1.5 million waste pickers in Bangalore.
The I Got Garbage initiative offers an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system for waste pickers, a social engagement platform for citizens, a marketplace for waste management services and a waste picker benefits tracker. The service is now available to citizens of Bangalore.
India’s garbage is mixed and because it is not separated, it is difficult to recycle. Waste pickers are the main contributors to recycling, as they salvage reusable or recyclable materials thrown away by others to sell. But unhealthy working conditions mean life expectancy is just 39 years with an infant mortality rate of one in three.
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Waste pickers, who do not have access to the mainstream supply chain of waste, earn less than a dollar a day.
I Got Garbage, set up by Mindtree, Hasiru Dala, Waste Wise Trust and seven other social businesses, turns waste management into an organized sector. Waste pickers can use cloud-based technology to organize themselves into franchises and participate in online marketplaces where waste generators can procure waste management services from them.
The service, which is up and running, is already proving beneficial. Nalini Shekar, co-founder at waste picker member organization Hasiru Dala, said: “Mindtree is helping us build structure and processes into our model, which enables us to scale and provide more dignified employment to waste pickers. Over the past six months, we have been using the platform and are seeing the positive impact of technology.”
“I Got Garbage aims to take ragpickers away from scavenging, and bring them to the source of waste as uniformed service providers. It is estimated that bulk generators such as apartments, institutions, offices and hotels contribute to over half of the waste generated in Bengaluru,” reads the I Got Garbage website.