I Got Garbage: Turning Trash Into Opportunity
Mindtree launched the I Got Garbage initiative to transform the lives of India’s wastepickers while helping cities do a better job of managing residential and commercial waste. We built the I Got Garbage technology platform to bring together businesses, government organizations and social entrepreneurs. We then worked with wastepickers to develop innovative microbusiness models that would enable them to deliver structured waste-management services directly to waste generators (households and offices) in the city of Bangalore.
Through I Got Garbage, wastepickers receive training in recycling, composting and other waste-management skills, and they are connected with local nongovernmental organizations (NGOs). By turning them into entrepreneurs, the initiative is improving working conditions and reducing poverty among wastepickers, who have an average life expectancy of 39 years and a one-in-three infant mortality rate. Instead of sorting through garbage heaps in search of recyclables, wastepickers can now collect waste directly from residences and businesses while avoiding exposure to hazardous chemicals and infectious diseases.
I Got Garbage makes recycling more efficient, creates a safer and more stable work environment for thousands of people, and improves how cities manage their waste. After about a year in operation, I Got Garbage has shown a significant social and environmental impact.
- 497 wastepickers increased their income roughly by 83%, from Rs. 4,828 up to Rs. 8,834 (working on a full-time basis)
- 5,251 wastepickers enrolled in the program
- 20,111 trees saved by paper recycling
- 5.5 million electric units saved by plastic recycling
- 25.4 million liters (6.7 million gallons) of water saved
- 9,209 liters (2,433 gallons) of fuel saved by reducing transport for local waste processing
- 4.9 million kilograms (10.8 million pounds) of waste recycled
- 700,000 kilograms (more than 1.5 million pounds) of organic waste composted—enough to enrich 175,000 acres of farmland
I Got Garbage currently operates only in Bangalore, but Mindtree is working to roll out the platform in Aurangabad and Pune.