Creating value from waste | Global Ideas | DW | 23.04.2013
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Global Ideas

Creating value from waste

In Delhi, trash is being given a new lease on life with an initiative called Green the Gap collecting waste and using it to make bags and purses. They don't just look trendy, they're good for the environment too.

Project type: Adding new value to trash

Project goal: Reprocessing rubbish ensures it’s no longer a hazard to the environment, and no new resources are consumed

Project size: Green the Gap processes 20,000 kilograms of trash a year and has already turned 100,000 kg of waste into new products

Project volume: The company earns $100,000 a year. It has 20 full-time employees and 10 volunteers. The seamstresses and employees receive a salary of $175 a month.

Whether it’s household rubbish or electrical waste, India has a trash problem, and it’s growing fast. Electronic items are separated by so-called “rag pickers” and sent to garages and facilities for recycling. But it is precisely those recycling plants that are the problem: under an open sky, inexperienced workers melt down copper, aluminum, gold and lead bits that have been stripped from air conditioners, electrical wiring or circuit boards. The process releases poisonous gases into the air, putting the trash collectors and the environment at risk. Now, a joint German-Indian project is aiming to make recycling eco-friendlier and more effective – a win-win for the climate and for India.

A film by Carl Gierstorfer

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