September 2022

Behind the scenes: All the work that goes into making waste worthy

Dry waste is valuable, provided it’s recycled.

And no one knows this better than our waste pickers and sorters. At dry waste collection centres (DWCC) across Bengaluru, waste workers have a meticulous system that ensures anything recyclable is salvaged and valued:

                                                                                                                       Collect -> Segregate -> Value -> Pride and Care

Our photographer Vinod Sebastian followed Hasiru Dala's waste workers to bring us some behind-the-scenes action that shows just how much work (and care) goes into turning our waste into wealth.


A Bengaluru civic body (BBMP) official scans a QR code of a waste collection vehicle and also takes a picture along with its operator. This data is uploaded to the BBMP app every morning and helps keep track of the work done and areas covered. They call this place the 'mustering' point.

When residents do not segregate their waste, the waste collection team speaks with them and shows them how it's done. Here, a team from Hasiru Dala is seen speaking with one such resident and handing over a pamphlet that explains segregation.

Garbage is regularly thrown on the streets, even though garbage collection vans visit localities daily. Here, a worker cleans up a littered street corner.

A quick refreshment break.



The first load of dry waste is unloaded at the JP Nagar Dry Waste Collection Centre.

The segregation process: these women segregate the piles of waste brought in by the vehicles into eight different categories.

Here, a Hasiru Dala staff explains how textile waste is collected and processed. The JP Nagar DWCC recently began collecting textile waste along with other dry waste items. When not mixed with other waste, textile waste generates value, she explains. The DWCC has tied up with people who recycle textiles, who buy up the whole lot.

Kumudha, who oversees the JP Nagar DWCC, which was recently shifted to a newly-built, larger space, says she is happy at her new office.

The DWCC at Marappanapalya Ward No. 44 has a conveyor belt system that speeds up the segregation process and makes it a lot easier for the workers. The waste is picked up from the conveyer and dropped into large bins dedicated to different materials.

A DWCC worker at Marappanapalya uses a baling machine to compress large cardboard cartons that can then be packed easily.

A worker stomps on a pile of waste to compress it into the sack.



A rate chart showing the value of different dry waste materials if brought in by the public in a recyclable form.

At the Pattabhirama Nagar Ward, Mansoor who runs the DWCC explains how each material is recycled and the industries that buy them from him.

Mansoor keeps detailed notes of all materials that come in and go out of his DWCC.


                                                                    PRIDE AND CARE

Two baby rats were found in the waste and were treated with care by the workers.

All smiles: Our informal waste pickers find value in the things we throw out. And many of them do it with a smile, proud of the work they do.

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