Waste pickers in Pune, India formed SWaCH (Solid Waste Collection and Handling) a cooperative of self-employed waste pickers. For over 10 years, SWaCH has worked in partnership with city authorities, providing door-to-door collection for a small fee and unlike other contractors that favor landfills and incineration units SWaTCH recycles and composts the city’s rubbish.
Each week these invisible environmentalists recycle 8,800 pounds of “waste” that would otherwise be incinerated or sent to landfills. With over 2300 members, SWaCH services over 4,00,000 households. SWaCH is promoted by the waste pickers’ union that organized 9000+ rag pickers /waste collectors to work with dignity and created a sustainable de-centralised, waste management model in the country.