Solid Waste Management

About Solid Waste Management

In India, about 150,000 tonnes of waste is generated every day. Of the total municipal waste collected, on an average 94 percent is dumped on land and only 5 percent is composted.
The Solid Waste Management or SWM intervention strives to facilitate local bodies to handle the garbage menace. One of the main focus areas of the SWM project is to substitute street collection of waste with a distinct waste collection process.


The Environment programme works across communities, schools, and local government bodies to spread awareness on environment issues with special emphasis on solid waste management. Awareness on source segregation is created through community-level competitions, school-level awareness programmes, mobile exhibitions, and through wall displays. SEED Trust works with various stakeholders to advocate policy-level changes and to establish solid waste management systems sustainable in the long run.

Yearly Growth of SWM


Creating a Keen Community for a Clean Community (Mudichur Village )

The first step towards change is awareness, the second step is acceptance. Closely working on these lines the project initiated by Solid Waste Management team in Mudichur in the suburbs of Chennai aims to create awareness among various stakeholders of the community on the best Solid Waste Management practices – with special emphasis on segregation at source and ban on the use of plastic carry bags. As part of capacity building initiatives, training programmes on the Solid Waste Management procedures are conducted for Green Friends (sanitary workers); community volunteers, local SHG members and government officials. Meanwhile, awareness generation activities such as presentations in schools and colleges, mass rallies, mass cleaning involving different stakeholders, Resource Recovery Park (RRP) visits, study tours, programmes in religious institutions and innovative awareness methods such as rangoli competition, street plays, puppet shows etc. are conducted at prominent locations. Handholding support is provided to the local government to help local bodies run projects in a sustainable manner.

Moulding the Good Samaritans of Tomorrow (Kundrathur Town Panchayat)

Segregation at source and avoiding the use of plastic carry bags is the first step towards a clean and green environment. Inculcating a change in behaviour among the people about the need for Solid Waste Management is as important as the interventions. Training programmes on SWM process are conducted for Green Friends (sanitary workers), community volunteers, local SHG members and government officials through SWM workshops. Several awareness generation activities such as PPT presentations in schools and colleges, mass rallies, cleaning drives, programmes in religious institutions and innovative awareness methods, such as rangoli competition, street plays, puppet shows are conducted at prominent locations.


Emerging from the Grassroots to Global (Mamallapuram Town)

The SWM project in Mamallapuram Town has gained momentum and is much talked about, not only within the community but has also struck chords in the international media. The ‘Waste to Energy’ project at Mamallapuram was one among the 640 nominations for the BBC World Challenge award. The project was awarded runner-up in the contest.
Through the door-to-door collection model and the support of Green Friends, an average of four metric tonnes of waste is collected every day, of which nearly 60 per cent is processed. The green (kitchen, garden) waste is converted into bio and vermicompost in a constructed-for-the-purpose compost park. Recyclable wastes are further segregated into plastic bottles, aluminium foils, rubber products, plastic carry bags, and metal and glass products and sold to the respective recyclers. A host of awareness initiatives on the need for Solid Waste Management are organised in the community through training and handholding of local bodies to ensure sustainability of the project.

Green Garbage Disposal Techniques (Chitlapakkam Town)

Burning of garbage in Chitlapakkam, a southern suburb 20 km from Chennai, was leading to breathing problems among residents. The city generates 8 tonnes of waste every day and the generated waste is set ablaze in the half-acre Chitlapakkam yard. This conventional style of waste management had its role to play in environment degradation and global warming. Through the intervention of SEED Trust the waste is collected through Green Friends of SEED Trust and segregated in a scientific method at a bio-compost shed. The SWM intervention initiated by SEED Trust in the year 2008 was handed over to the local body in October 2014. Since then SEED Trust is engaged in creating awareness among various stakeholders of the community about the best Solid Waste Management practices especially, segregation at source and avoidance of plastic carry bags, through capacity building and project handholding.


Mass Cleaning to Spread Green Education(Madambakkam Town Panchayat)

In Madambakkam town panchayat source segregation of waste was a far-fetched dream for the municipality until a few years back owing to two crippling issues: shortage of sanitary staff and dumping of wastes on the roadside. SEED Trust’s intervention has not only initiated a mechanism for proper Solid Waste Management but has also helped in conducting mass cleaning drives and educating the residents on the need for waste segregation at source. Every week the town panchayat staff assembles in a ward and thoroughly cleans all the streets, roads, public places, temples and storm water drains. Nearly 7 tonnes of garbage is generated in the town panchayat every day. The aim of the project is to educate the stakeholders at several levels to engage in a proper solid waste disposal mechanism.

Raising the Stakes in Mangadu (Mangadu Town Panchayat)

One of the major initiatives of the Trust is Solid Waste Management in several town panchayats including Mangadu. Efforts on solid waste management such as segregation at source and awareness drives is a regular here but SEED Trust has gone a step forward and created a learning space for the heads of municipal bodies to get global exposure on Solid Waste Management in other countries. As part of this effort, in 2015, officials and heads of town panchayats in the city suburbs and rest of Kanchipuram district visited Sweden to acquire greater learning on garbage collection and disposal. Besides routine interventions, this project helped in ensuring involvement of the implementing officers and the community in the project. Besides, several awareness generation efforts and mass education drives are conducted under this project.


Acharapakkam Gets the Green Nod (Achirapakkam Town Panchayat)

Acharapakkam town panchayat has proved to be one of the cornerstones of Solid Waste Management project of SEED Trust after it received ISO 14001:2004 certification for best practices in collection and segregation of solid waste. Acharapakkam town panchayat has been found to be operating an environmental management system which complies with the requirements of ISO certification. Acharapakkam battles with heavy vehicular traffic, making it difficult for ‘Green Friends’, to commute, as a result of which they often had to extend their working hours to avoid being caught in traffic. The local government body, which strongly supports the SWM project, decided to accommodate the additional costs incurred due to the extended working hours. Besides, SEED Trust has also been instrumental introducing a biogas unit at the project location. Green Friends collect food waste from nearby hotels and eateries and feed it into the unit to generate biogas. The SWM intervention initiated by SEED Trust in the year 2012 was handed over to the local body in September 2014. Since then SEED trust is handholding the local body to ensure sustainability of the project.

Perungalathur, an eco-restoration hub (Perungalathur town panchayat)

Perungalathur town panchayat has an immense contribution towards Solid Waste Management and and has received ISO 9001:2008 certification for the provision of public utility services. Thanks to the efforts of SEED Trust the local body is implementing environment-friendly eco-restoration techniques. Perungalathur generates 12 tonnes of wastes from its 15 wards and door-to-door collection and segregation were carried out by Green Friends of SEED Trust. The local body employs 65 vehicles to transport kitchen waste to a three-acre site in Gundumedu, where it is converted to manure and thus converted from waste to energy. The SWM intervention initiated by SEED Trust in the year 2012 was handed over to the local body in September 2014. Since then SEED Trust is actively involved in educating the stakeholders on the need to resort to such eco-friendly waste disposal mechanisms.


Ambassadors of Change (Nandhivaram - Guduvancherry Town Panchayat)

Since the project commencement, the town has undergone a significant change in terms of solid waste management. Most of the wastes generated in the town panchayat have been diverted from reaching landfills. This is a clear indication that the community has imbibed the habit of source segregation in a commendable manner. Littering spots within the town panchayat have reduced drastically. There has been a reasonable reduction in the amount of plastic carry bags used in the town panchayat. The town now has a cleaner environment with a well-established SWM system, through the active participation of the community The SWM intervention initiated by SEED Trust in the year 2013 was handed over to the local body in September 2014. Since then SEED Trust is heavily engaged in creating community awareness and involving the stakeholders in green waste disposal techniques.

Case Study

The Recycle for Life project, a rigorous training and awareness campaign in Kundrathur Town Panchayat has reformed the face of a whole school, whose students have become the green warriors. John Xavier Thangaraj, Principal and Correspondent of Little Flower Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Kundrathur, is fully committed and an active volunteer of the green campaign being carried under the SWM programme, and has also incorporated green activities in the school’s academic curriculum to promote sustainable environment. In addition to that, he runs a dedicated forum called APPLE (Anti Plastic to Protect Laudable Earth) Club and implements various measures to ensure their campus a plastic free zone. The work of the students can be found in the following website In recognition of its efforts the school has bagged the ‘Green School Award 2015’ that was constituted under the Recycle for Life project.
N M Murugan, the executive officer of the Mamallapuram town panchayat is not merely a man of words. He has restrained from using plastic carry bags, not only on a personal level, but has also banned the usage of plastic carry bags in the entire Mamallapuram Town Panchayat.
SEED Trust has been implementing Solid Waste Management in Mamallapuram from 2008 and has been conducting capacity building through training programmes on a regular basis. One such awareness camp greatly inspired Murugan, turning him into a change-maker, who restrained from using plastic bags on a personal capacity. Moving a step ahead, he has implemented the ban on plastic carry bags in the entire Mamallapuram Town Panchayat.
Likewise, M Kesavan, Executive Officer of Perungalathur Town Panchayat, has set a mark at his workplace by using an innovative method to curb plastics himself as a role model to other staff members and the community. He has taken several initiatives, to curtail usage of the plastic carry bags in his local body. To encourage the other co-workers, he has placed a “Hundial” made out of terracotta in his office. Anyone using a plastic bag has to contribute Rs. 5 per carry bag to the hundial fund. Moreover, he has replaced plastic/paper items in his office with metal ones. Apart from this, he also actively participates in all campaigns and awareness programmes in the locality.