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Clean Kerala protects our oceans from plastic waste

Location
Kerala, India
Capacity
1,000 tonnes / year
Support partner

Our story

Humble beginning

Hi I'm Jabir, founder and CEO of Green Worms Waste Management. I got in touch with waste management for the first time during my Gandhi fellowship in the slums of Mumbai where I worked as a rag picker for three months. During the fellowship I experienced working with waste in un-dignified conditions first hand. In that time the principles were formed for what was supposed to become Green Worms Waste Management: minimize waste generation at the source, divert wastes from landfills and create dignified jobs for the people working in the waste management sector.

Humble beginning

Establishing the solution

It took two attempts to really get Green Worms up and running. While people around Jabir liked the idea it was difficult to convince the core people to get the company going. Waste management in general is difficult from an economics point of view, as the majority of material collected has no value.

Establishing the solution

Growing the impact

Today Green Worms collects the household waste in more than 50 municipalities across South-India - and at the same time provides income to more than 300 people. These efforts already led to the collection and recycling of 27'000t of household waste. Together with CleanHub, we want to grow the model to more locations and island communities in the Indian territory.

Growing the impact

The process

1
Order is registered
Once you (a brand) decide to support our Clean Kerala Hub your order is forwarded to Greenworms and will be respected in the next collections.
2
Collection & Sorting
The collection is performed as a door-to-door collection service. From an environmental point this is the best way as plastic never enters the environment in the first place. There is also a social edge to it: the collection is done by women self-help groups across various municipalities in Kerala, India and create critical employment opportunities in the community.
3
Documentation
We use the CleanHub app to document the different steps of the collection and sorting process. Especially the non-recyclable waste is tracked on the app to create recovery credits that help to fund the collection, sorting and transportation. Together we are also looking into projects to cover the cost of transporting post-consumer waste from island communities to the mainland.
100%
Recovery & Payment
After the sorting step all recyclable goods are sold to local recycling companies. Instead of sending the non-recyclable plastic back to dump sites, from where they would face a high risk of entering the marine environment, the waste is sent for co-processing.
Status
1,952,489 kg
We work in a decentralized approach to be able to grow our service across India.
Maximise impact

We work in a decentralized approach to be able to grow our service across India.

Our collection efforts are performed by women-self help groups. That way we create dignified jobs and reduce littering.
Empower local communities

Our collection efforts are performed by women-self help groups. That way we create dignified jobs and reduce littering.

We educate the local communities on how to better segregate their waste to increase recycling rates and reduce waste.
Reduce & recover

We educate the local communities on how to better segregate their waste to increase recycling rates and reduce waste.

We strictly follow the waste management hierarchy and make sure that all waste is treated in the best available method.
Do no harm

We strictly follow the waste management hierarchy and make sure that all waste is treated in the best available method.

We are striving towards fair labour standards according to ETI, FLA and SA8000.
Set high standards

We are striving towards fair labour standards according to ETI, FLA and SA8000.

FAQs

CleanHub empowers companies to take immediate responsibility for their plastic footprints. We connect ocean-loving brands with local communities, and facilitate the collection and safe processing of non-recyclable plastic. We understand the importance of proving impact, so we’ve built track & trace technology to provide evidence of how much plastic is collected, and where it ends up after we take care of it.

We choose recovery methods with the lowest environmental impact possible, and use our market position to enforce better working conditions for local workers.

80% of the plastic waste that ends up in the oceans is so-called flexible packaging or multilayer packaging, like chip packets, sauce sachets, etc. This material is either impossible to recycle or there is no demand from the market for the products (unlike water bottles which are commonly collected as they can be recycled, and so have ‘value’). Plastic that can’t be recycled is openly burned in small backyard fires or in landfills, or it is carried away into nature by the monsoon or strong winds. While we do collect all plastics, we focus on non-recyclable plastic to maximize our impact.

In order to stop ocean bound plastic, we need to significantly increase plastic recovery rates in high leakage locations. To achieve that, we empower communities around the world to cope with their own plastic waste, create incentives, develop waste management standards and foster local entrepreneurship. In our network of recovery endpoints we provide critical off-take agreements to safely treat plastic waste.

Plastic pollution is a global problem that affects us all. CleanHub is building a global network of local Collection Hubs in high impact locations to facilitate the collection and safe processing of non-recyclable plastic. We operate primarily in South (East) Asia which is the gateway for more than 80% of all plastic that enters our oceans. With your contribution we can reduce the mismanagement of plastic waste in these regions to eventually stop this environmental crisis.

Recyclable goods are sold for local recycling. Non-recyclables are sent for co-processing.

Co-processing refers to the simultaneous recycling of mineral materials and recovery of energy in the process of cement manufacturing and achieves a superior environmental performance as compared to landfill and incineration. For co-processing recovery we partner with Geocycle.

To learn more, read our blog - What happens to the collected waste

Plastic neutrality means that for every amount of plastic created, an equal amount of plastic waste is retrieved from the environment to be appropriately disposed of - either recycled or repurposed.

We work with brands to calculate their plastic footprint and recover the equivalent amount from the environment in high leakage countries, such as Indonesia or India. Some brands want to go further and recover more plastic than they emit, earning them Plastic Neutral + status. . Every contribution directly prevents plastic from entering our oceans and supports the development of local waste management infrastructure.

To stop plastic from entering the environment, we need to get to a point where the material is collected as close to the consumer as possible, and intercepted before it can reach the ocean. The majority of our plastic efforts are door-to-door collection or other smart ways to aggregate waste in one point. We also finance projects with passive technologies that catch plastic in rivers. The smallest fraction of plastic stems from beach cleanups or is directly sourced from the ocean.

Recovering plastic from the environment involves three distinct operations. Firstly the collection of the plastic, secondly the sorting of plastic into its unique types and thirdly the safe and final treatment. We digitize the recovery of ocean bound plastic from start to finish.Our Hubs use our technology to track the full collection process, which means we can verify every piece of plastic that is collected and what happens to it after we take care of it.

Watch this video to see how it works

We choose the best recovery method according to three steps. Firstly, available recovery options are ranked according to the waste management hierarchy, i.e. Recycling > Energy Recovery > Landfill. Secondly, we rank all options on the basis of life-cycle assessment results that determine related Co2 emissions. Thirdly, all recovery options are ranked by their level of technology and safety. CleanHub only works with recovery companies that operate according to the European code of conduct.

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