Men collect sorted waste by bike (India)

India Sustainable waste management: raising awareness of and developing expertise in waste separation and recycling

South & Central Asia
Circular economy

The recycling value of beverage and food packaging is high. If packaging is not recycled, the negative economic, environmental and social consequences are significant. Under develoPPP, the packaging manufacturer Tetra Pak and the beverage group Coca-Cola therefore worked with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to implement a pilot project for sustainable waste management in the Indian city of Gurugram. Companies see it as their responsibility to ensure that the valuable packaging raw materials are reused in keeping with the concept of a circular economy. develoPPP is a programme of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

In India, the recycling rate is low, with too many valuable raw materials ending up in landfills instead of being recycled by industry. Although there has been a law on waste separation in India since 2016, the population still lacks awareness of the need to perform this activity. Working conditions for formal and informal waste collectors are poor and the risks to their health are great. Most live-in dire poverty.

Tetra Pak produces aseptic paper-based packaging material for food and beverages, including for its customer Coca-Cola. The two companies see the packaging as valuable raw materials. They wish to be part of a movement championing cleaner cities and sustainable waste management and want to use the pilot project to demonstrate this commitment to policy-makers and society. The companies also expect stricter legislation in the coming years, for which they want to be well prepared.

The aim of the ‘Alag Karo: Har din 3 bin’ (Waste separation: Every day in 3 bins) project was to collect, separate and recycle more packaging waste in a pilot region in Gurugram. A system of three waste bins for waste separation was introduced for this purpose.

From 2016 to 2019, the partners invested a total of 495,000 euros in the following measures, among others:

  • Awareness-raising campaigns on waste separation in schools, public authorities, companies and private households.
  • Training of 500 informal waste collectors to collect packaging waste from private households and companies and to sell it to local recycling companies.
  • Formal integration of waste collectors into the waste management system.
  • Establishment of structures, financing models and operation of waste management.

The project was implemented by the non-governmental organisation Saahas, which has been actively involved in the disposal of solid waste since 2001. GIZ contributed its expertise in sustainable waste management to the project and established contacts with ministries and local administrations.

Source segregation is the first and most important step in waste management as it increases the circular economy potential by improving the value of post-consumer recyclables. Project Alag Karo has demonstrated that sustained awareness efforts on segregation in communities lead to higher waste segregation.
Kamlesh Kholiya, Sustainability Manager, Tetra Pak India
Project Alag Karo is a significant step towards creating awareness on source segregation and promoting circular economy within project areas and has substantial scaling-up potential. As a project partner, GIZ technical expertise has played a key role in success of the project.
Shailly Gupta, Sustainability Manager, Coca-Cola India
Woman reaches for stacked waste paper (India)
Raising awareness on the importance of waste separation is key in waste management. Foto: Mona Singh
Two men in a garbage depot shovel compost (India)
Recycling is essential for a circular economy that benefits the people as well as the environment. Foto: GIZ

In the pilot region in Gurugram, a model for an effective and sustainable waste management system has been successfully established, which is already being replicated at other sites and is increasing the recycling rate of recyclable materials. Awareness of waste separation has increased in society and among waste collectors. The project results can feed into local and national policy recommendations.

  • Recycling of recyclable materials in keeping with the concept of a circular economy
  • Improved working conditions and more appreciation for informal waste collectors and domestic workers
  • 14 residential complexes with over 6,000 households have their own composting facilities  

Development successes

Recycling Logo

20,000 households and 400 offices in Gurugram separate their waste

Two heads

Campaigns reach 23,000 students in 39 schools

Recycling Logo

Every day, 14.5 tons of waste are recycled or composted in Gurugram

Business successes


Tetra Pak and Coca-Cola take responsibility for recycling packaging products and other waste

Circles connected by lines

Working together with municipal enterprises at local level

Woman working at a loom

develoPPP Classic

develoPPP Classic is aimed at medium-sized and large companies that want to invest sustainably in a developing or emerging country and expand their operational activities locally. Suitable projects receive technical and financial support of up to two million euros in public funding.

Tetra Pak logo

Tetra Pak India

Tetra Pak is a world leading food processing and packaging solutions company. With more than 23,000 employees Tetra Pak delivered more than 184 billion packages into the market across 170 countries last year. Tetra Pak has been present in India for over 35 years, with an integrated manufacturing site located in Chakan (Pune).

Coca-Cola India logo

Coca-Cola India

Coca-Cola in India is one of the country’s leading beverage companies, offering a range of refreshing beverage options to consumers. The Company along with its owned bottling operation and other bottling partners, through a strong network of over 2.6 million retail outlets, touches the lives of millions of consumers, at a rate of more than 500 servings per second.

GIZ Logo

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

GIZ is a federal enterprise operating in international cooperation for sustainable development and education work for over 50 years. GIZ supports economic development and employment and works with companies to develop strategies for sustainable business development.

Tetra Pak logo
Kamlesh Kholiya Sustainability Manager Tetra-Pak India Private Limited
Coca Cola Logo
Shailly Gupta Sustainability Manager Coca-Cola India Private Ltd.
Dieter Frick
Dieter Frick Project Manager develoPPP Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH