Sustainable Waste Management In Indore: A Case Study

Indore, a fast-growing city in India, has emerged as a model for sustainable waste management practices. Over the past few years, Indore has consistently ranked as the cleanest city in India, thanks to the efficient waste management system put in place by the municipal corporation. 

This case study explores the background, challenges faced, solutions implemented, and key learnings from Indore’s successful waste management system.

Indore, with a population of over 3.2 million people, generates around 1,100 metric tons of waste daily. Prior to 2016, the city struggled with waste management, leading to unhygienic conditions, increased pollution, and negative impacts on public health. 

However, the launch of the Swachh Bharat (Clean India) campaign in 2014 led the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) to undertake a comprehensive transformation of its waste management system. This involved an overhaul of existing infrastructure, policies, and community engagement initiatives to create a more efficient and environmentally friendly waste management system.

Challenges faced:

Lack of waste segregation at the source:  

Indore faced issues with mixed waste, which hindered the recycling and disposal process. Unsegregated waste resulted in inefficient waste collection and processing, causing further strain on the waste management system.

Inefficient waste collection and transportation system: 

With limited resources and vehicles, the city’s waste collection and transportation system could not keep up with the growing population and waste generation.

Open dumping and burning of waste: The absence of adequate waste processing facilities led to the practice of open dumping and burning of waste, which contributed to air and land pollution.

Inadequate public awareness and participation: 

Citizens were not fully aware of the importance of waste segregation, recycling, and proper disposal, resulting in low participation rates and disregard for waste management rules.

Limited infrastructure for waste processing and disposal: 

The city’s waste processing and disposal infrastructure was unable to cope with the increasing waste generation, leading to unmanaged landfills and environmental degradation.

Solutions implemented:

Segregation at the source: 

The IMC implemented a mandatory waste segregation policy, requiring households to separate waste into wet (biodegradable) and dry (recyclable) categories. This allowed for more efficient waste collection and processing, as well as increased recycling rates.

Door-to-door waste collection: 

A fleet of over 600 GPS-enabled vehicles were deployed to collect segregated waste daily from all households and commercial establishments. This ensured timely and efficient waste collection, preventing littering and illegal dumping.

Waste processing and disposal: The city established a state-of-the-art waste processing facility capable of handling 1,000 metric tons of waste daily, including a 15 MW waste-to-energy plant and a 200 TPD (tons per day) composting plant. These facilities enabled the city to process and dispose of waste more effectively, reducing the environmental impact of waste disposal.

Public awareness and participation: 

The IMC launched numerous awareness campaigns, involving local celebrities, schools, and religious institutions, to educate the public on the importance of waste segregation and cleanliness. This resulted in increased community involvement and support for the waste management program.

Strict monitoring and enforcement: 

Regular inspections, fines, and incentives were introduced to ensure compliance with waste management rules. This helped maintain the cleanliness of the city and encouraged citizens to adhere to waste segregation and disposal guidelines.

Results achieved:

Waste segregation: 

Over 90% of households in Indore now segregate their waste, significantly improving the efficiency of waste collection and processing, and reducing the burden on landfills.

Waste processing: 

The city’s waste processing facility successfully manages 1,000 metric tons of waste daily, with a 95% waste recovery rate. This has led to a substantial reduction in landfill usage and has minimized the environmental impact of waste disposal.


Indore has consistently ranked as the cleanest city in India in the annual Swachh Survekshan survey since 2017. This highlights the success of the city’s waste management system and the active participation of its residents in maintaining cleanliness.

Health and environment: 

Cases of vector-borne diseases have dropped by 60% since the implementation of the waste management system, and air quality has improved due to reduced open burning of waste. This has led to a healthier environment and improved overall quality of life for Indore’s residents.

Key learnings:

Political will and administrative commitment are crucial for the successful implementation of waste management systems. Indore’s transformation was made possible by strong leadership and a dedicated municipal corporation committed to addressing the city’s waste management challenges.

Public awareness and participation play a significant role in ensuring the success of waste management initiatives. By actively involving the community and raising awareness about the importance of waste segregation and proper disposal, Indore was able to achieve a high level of public participation and support.

Strict monitoring and enforcement mechanisms help ensure compliance with waste management rules and regulations. Indore’s approach to enforcing waste segregation and disposal guidelines, combined with regular inspections and penalties, proved to be effective in maintaining the city’s cleanliness.

Investing in modern waste processing infrastructure can significantly improve the efficiency of waste management systems and reduce environmental impact. Indore’s investment in a state-of-the-art waste processing facility allowed the city to process and dispose of waste more effectively, leading to a substantial reduction in landfill usage and associated environmental issues.

Indore’s transformation into a clean, sustainable city serves as an inspiring example for other urban centers in India and around the world. 

By adopting a comprehensive, integrated approach to waste management, Indore has successfully addressed its waste management challenges and set a benchmark for sustainable urban living. 

The city’s experience provides valuable insights and lessons for other municipalities looking to improve their waste management systems and promote environmental sustainability.

Solid Waste Management in India: A Ground Report

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solid waste management case study in india

  • Tabassum-Abbasi 12 ,
  • Sonu Kumar Sahu 13 &
  • S. A. Abbasi 13  

Part of the book series: Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering ((LNCE,volume 275))

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Ever since solid waste generation began to spiral up from early 1970s onwards enormous efforts have been vested from scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs as also governmental agencies, to control/treat/reuse/recycle/recover Municipal Solid Waste (MSW). But the quantities and complexities of the MSW have only been rising, that too rising steeply… almost exponentially. From the late 1980s two new solid waste streams—e-waste and plastic waste—have been added while the stream of battery waste has swelled. As all these are non-biodegradable as well as hazardous, they have made handling of MSW increasingly more complex. The situation is particularly grim in developing countries like India who are facing the prospect of being swamped by MSW. This study has aimed to go beyond the claims of governmental agencies, and the material available in scientific papers, books and reports, to assess the ground reality associated with the MSW challenge.

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SKS gratefully acknowledges the three National Science Academies for summer fellowship.

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Akmalov Shamshodbek Baxtiyarovich

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Tabassum-Abbasi, Sahu, S.K., Abbasi, S.A. (2023). Solid Waste Management in India: A Ground Report. In: Siddiqui, N.A., Baxtiyarovich, A.S., Nandan, A., Mondal, P. (eds) Recent Advances in Recycling Engineering . AIR 2021. Lecture Notes in Civil Engineering, vol 275. Springer, Singapore.

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Challenges, Issues and Opportunities towards Management of Solid wastes in Indian Cities: A Case Study of Srinagar City

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2022, International Journal for Research in Applied Science & Engineering Technology (IJRASET)

Considering the geo-ecological sensitivity, the Himalayan urban centres are seriously struggling to design useful and economical municipal solid waste (MSW) management systems. The Srinagar is the first metropolis and fastest growing city of Western Himalayas and here the management of MSW is a big challenge for local authorities. The aim of this study was to study the overall scenario of MSW in the city. A comprehensive survey was conducted and data were also collected from local municipal department. The results suggested that in most of cases MSW is being dumped openly along roadsides and open spots in the city. Open dumps are responsible for so many negative environmental impacts in the study area. The paper presents the current status of municipal solid waste generation and disposal practices, and different sort of environmental problems arising out of it. Major problems identified include land and water pollution, inadequate technical know-how, shortage of sweepers and collection bins, non-availability of sanitary landfill, uncontrolled disposal of solid waste by people, lack of public awareness, etc. a comprehensive survey of the whole city revealed that biodegradable/ compostable food waste was the major constituent of municipal solid waste (MSW) stream followed by inert material and recyclable materials including polythene, plastic, cardboard and paper. Most of the solid waste generated was found to remain unattended and only 40-45% was being collected that too irregularly by municipal workers and unscientifically disposed off at a dumping ground located in the buffer zone of Anchar Lake, around 8 km north of Srinagar city. Irregular and selective waste collection was the major force behind disposal of solid waste in water bodies, roadsides and open spaces by the people. The study reveals that due to lack of funding and unscientific management the existing solid waste management system is not working successfully in the city. Due to shortage of storage bins, collection efficiency is very low which has severely damaged the environmental condition and also induces to stray dog population phenomenally. The acute absence of waste segregation at the source all types of materials are being disposed along with municipal solid waste which make waste handling very risky especially dumping and disposal points. The lack of governance and inadequate infrastructures for waste collection, transportation and management are the major constrains in designing a suitable MSW management plan for the city. Apart to that unplanned urban settlement and encroachments are also responsible for poor waste collection and disposal system.

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Current Issue Volume No: 3 Issue No: 1

Sustainable Municipal Solid Waste Management - A case study of Kanpur, India

Ashna mehra  1 ,   akshey bhargava  2  .

1 B. Tech Civil Engineering, VIT, Vellore

2 Ex. Rajasthan Pollution Control Board, CEPT University

Municipal solid waste generation and disposal is a problem not only in India but all over the world. Presently majority of such waste is being dumped indiscriminately over vacant lands causing problems of odor, methane generation leading to air pollution, leaching effect polluting ground water and runoff polluting water bodies. Technological options are available to treat this solid waste and convert it into usable products but the biggest problem is its segregation preferably at the source of generation or even at the disposal area. Municipal solid waste generated in India consists of 15 percent non biodegradable which has high calorific contents and can be converted into power generation. Remaining 85 percent is degradable which can either be converted into compost or bio fuels. Under the present context, sustainable municipal waste management strategy needs to be evolved and put in place with effective implementation to address the issue of environmental pollution. An attempt has therefore been made by the authors of the present paper to take up a case study of Kanpur, India for managing such wastes having sustainable approach. The authors have worked out trends of population starting from the year 1951 and projected to 2051. Similarly waste generation trends established on the lines of population. An effort has also been made as to how much compost, bio fuel and power can be generated along with economic value to make it sustainable on a time scale.

Author Contributions

Academic Editor: Zhe-Sheng Chenz, Professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy and Allied Health Professions, St. John’s University, United States.

Checked for plagiarism: Yes

Review by: Single-blind

Copyright ©  2020 Ashna Mehra, et al.

Creative Commons License

The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

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The increase in population and resulting modernization and urbanization throughout the world has resulted in the drastic increase in the production of waste. The management of the solid waste has become a universal issue due to the rate at which dumping sites are getting piled up with waste. The openly dumping of wastes or burning the waste has lead to a lot of greenhouse gases emission and climatic changes. Moreover, the unmanaged dumped waste not only effects the environment but also creates an impact on the human health. Kaza et al (2018) predicted that by the year 2050, the annual production of the waste would account upto 3.40 billion tons which is approximately 1.7 times present day annual production of waste 1 .

India is the second most populated country in the world and the amount of waste generation has increased substantially over a decade. As per the reports, 277 million tonnes of the waste is produced in our country in the year 2016. It is expected that around 387.8 and 543.3 million tonnes waste will be produced by the year 2030 and 2050 respectively. There are various existing technologies which can be used for the conversion of the waste to the usable products. But, there is a need of certain guidelines that needs to be followed within the country which must include the proper collection, segregation, disposal of the municipal solid waste 2 . Proper system is thus mandatory as it not only reduces the dependence on landfills but also lead to the reduction in utilization of the energy resources, health issues and environmental impacts 3 .

Henry et al (2006) studied the MSWM of Kenya, which is a low-income developing country. The improper and unplanned dumping of the wastes by the citizens of the country on the river banks and roads has resulted in the environmental and economic problems to the nearby places. The increasing urbanization, inadequate availability of the collection vehicles and poor management of waste disposal are certain factors which have made the planning of the waste management the need of an hour in such developing nations 4 .

Mumbai is one of the largest metropolitan cities in India and hence the amount of waste is proportional to the population of the city. Sarika (2006) suggested two major alternative methods that can be incorporated for a better management in the disposal of waste. Public private partnership and community participation are the two suggested alternatives out of which the most viable and the economic is the one which involves community participation in the management of the waste (5).On the other hand various developed nations such as Japan and USA have analysed the problem and found pragmatic solutions to it in comparison the developing and the under-developed nations. The changes in the strategy over a time period and adoption of recycle, reuse and renew policy have resulted in this change. Nevertheless, India yet has to develop some comprehensive structure for the management of the solidwaste 6 .The present study gains importance as it considers the enormous waste production in the Kanpur city and hence, the need of the sustainable and economic waste management system in the city.

Transformation of Waste into Usable Products

There are several technological options available and presently in use to transform waste into usable products in the form of compost, bio fuels, and energy. Some of these technologies in brief are described hereunder :

Transformation of Waste to Compost

There are various technological options available for the conversion of the waste produced into the usable products. This conversion of the huge amounts of waste produced in the city is mandatory as it causes environmental as well as health issues. The various technologies available for composting are as follows:

Closed Bins method

Pit Composting Method

Open Bins Method

Tumblers Method

Piling Method

Vermicomposting Method

Out of the above listed methods, one method of vermi composting is being briefly described as under:

This is one of the most used methods in India and is an easy method to covert the waste into compost. This method involves burying of the food waste in a pit which is enriched with earthworms. The composting can also be done at our homes by placing the 15-gallons container underneath the sink in our kitchens. Red Wigglers are good for composting in our houses. Then, for harvesting the manufactured compost, move the entire waste to one side of the container and then add new waste to be composted in the same bin. On doing so, the insects migrate to the fleshly added waste over a period of few weeks 7 . Figure 1 shows the finished product after Vermicomposting.


It is one an easiest method of composting.

It is also best suited for the small spaces.

Materials used are tidy and do not create a mess.


There might be fruit flies in the area if the waste is not buried properly.

Transformation of Waste to Energy

The production of energy from waste involves the usage of the waste material as a fuel. It is usually done in a closed area and is properly mixed before the waste is combusted. Then, the negative air flow is given in order to remove the dust particles from the combustion chamber. After the preparation, the mixed waste is added to the chamber and the waste is exposed to the ample ample of oxygen and fire so that it burns up completely. The burning waste (fuel) results in the formation of steam that in turns rotates the turbine to generate electricity. This is very advantageous as it would reduce the dumped waste to an extent of 90% and also decrease in the greenhouse gas emission upto one ton for the same amount of waste(8). The waste to energy cycle is depicted in the Figure 2 .

 Waste-to-Energy Cycle

Sustainable Waste Management-Case Study of Kanpur

An attempt has been made to workout sustainable municipal solid waste management for the city of Kanpur, India. In the present context, the population trends with forecast of population for the year 2051 were estimated along with solid waste generation. An effort has also been made to estimate the quantity of compost, bio fuel and energy that can be produced from the generation of solid waste during different years. In order to have sustainability, economic dimension in terms of the possible financial cost of compost, bio fuel and energy were also estimated. The salient steps taken are as under :

Population Trends and Projections of Kanpur

The population of India is increasing at an alarming rate and the statistics reveal that our country is the second most populated country in the world. This increasing rate has made the population forecasting an important tool. The population data from the year 1951 to 2011 was collected and was then forecasted for 2021, 2031, 2041 and 2051. Arithmetic mean, geometric Mean and incremental Increase are the three methods that have been used for projecting the population of Kanpur city. The population calculated from the arithmetic mean method is assumed to be underestimated whereas over-estimated when calculated using Geometric mean method. Thus, an Average value is calculated which will be further used for calculating the waste generation in the city. Table 1 , Figure 3 and F Figure 4 clearly shows the population trends till 2051.

Year Arithmetic Mean Geometric Mean Incremental Increase Average
1951       1,325,778
1961       1,647,150
1971       2,099,164
1981       2,665191
1991       3,253,572
2001       4,167,999
2011       4,581,268
2021 5,123850 5,640,513 5,142,229 5,302,197
2031 5,666,431 6,944,669 5,721,570 6,110,890
2041 6,209,013 8,550,361 6,319,289 7,026,221
2051 6,751,595 10,527,310 6,935,389 8,071,431

 Showing population trends and forecasting

Solid Waste Generation Trends and Projections of Kanpur

The generating of the waste in the cities depends on various factors such as living standards, eating habits and extent of commercial activities. For the prediction of solid waste generated in Kanpur, the waste production assumed is 1 kg/capita/day for the year 2021. This is higher than the general value assumed as it takes into consideration the migrant laborers. Due to the migrations, changes in the lifestyle and increasing urbanization the waste production in kg/capita/day have increased by 0.1for the coming decades. The solid waste generation over past decades and for the upcoming decades is mentioned in Table 2 and depicted in Figure 5 .

Year Population Assumed Waste Production (kg/per/capita/day) Waste Produced per day (in kg) Waste Produced per day (in tones) Waste Produced per Year (in tones)
1951 13,25,778 0.3 3,97,733 398 1,45,173
1961 16,47,150 0.4 6,58,860 659 2,40,484
1971 20,99,164 0.5 10,49,582 1,050 3,83,097
1981 26,55,191 0.6 15,93,115 1,593 5,81,487
1991 32,53,572 0.7 22,77,500 2,278 8,31,288
2001 41,67,999 0.8 33,34,399 3,334 12,17,056
2011 45,81,268 0.9 41,23,141 4,123 15,04,947
2021 53,02,197 1 53,02,197 5,302 19,35,302
2031 61,10,890 1.1 67,21,979 6,722 24,55,522
2041 70,26,221 1.2 84,31,465 8,431 30,77,485
2051 80,71,431 1.3 1,04,92,860 10,493 38,29,894

 Showing solid waste generation trends and forecasting

Transformation Waste to Compost and Energy- A Case Study of Kanpur

Various reports were analyzed and the following deductions were made for the calculations of the compost, bio-fuel and energy produced from 1000 tons of waste. In India, The amount of highly calorific value waste accounts to only 15% of the total waste which can be incinerated inorder to produce energy. Accordingly, based on assumptions, following can be produced from 1000 tons of waste


100 tons per day= 1mw power generation

1000 tons per day=10 mw power generation

Compost = 81.43 tons

( Figure 6 , Figure 7 and Figure 8 clearly depicts the compost, bio-fuel and energy that can be produced for the coming decades. Table 3 shows the waste to compost, energy and bio-fuel production.

 Showing waste to compost production

Years Waste quantity in 1000 tons/day Waste quantity in 1000 Tons/year Compost production in tons /year Bio fuel production in m / year Energy production in MW/day 
2011 4 1,505 1,21,901 32,252 6
2021 5 1,935 1,56,759 41,467 8
2031 7 2,454 1,98,735 52,589 11
2041 8 3,077 2,49,276 65,940 12
2051 10 3,830 3,10,221 82,077 15

Economic Dimensions

The following assumptions have been made in order to calculate the total economic value.

Per ton cost of compost production as Rupees 10 which would increase in upcoming decades due to the increase in the waste generation, Hence, Rs. 5 increase have been taken per decade.

Cost of bio-fuel per liter = Rs. 45

Cost of per unit Power = Rs. 4

( Table 4 ) shows the economic value calculation on converting waste to compost, energy and bio-fuel. Figure 9 and Figure 10 depicts the revenue generation from compost, bio-fuel and energy production.

Years Compost quantity in tons/year Value in rupees Bio fuels quantity in m /year Value in rupees Power generation in MW/day Value in rupees
2011 121,901 12,19,007 32,252 14,51,347 6 24
2021 156,759 15,67,595 41,467 18,66,077 8 53
2031 198,735 29,81,030 52,589 23,66,515 11 74
2041 249,276 49,85,525 65,940 29,67,307 12 84
2051 310,221 77,55,535 82,077 36,93,461 15 105

 Revenue Generation from Compost And Bio-Fuel Production

With the emerging problem of indiscriminate disposal of municipal solid waste and consequential environmental pollution to a great extent, there is an urgent need to demonstrate environmentally sustainable management of municipal solid waste. Such a management strategy should be formulated for the next 30 years to make sustainable on a time scale. The present paper highlights a case study of Kanpur wherein trends of population and solid waste generation from 1951 to 2051 were estimated. Technological options were also briefly described for transformation of waste to usable products. Accordingly, it has been estimated that how much quantity of compost, bio fuels and energy that can be produced from waste generated in Kanpur on a time scale coupled with economic value likely to be generated from such products. However, segregation of waste preferably at source or otherwise at the disposal site should be carried out to make best use of degradable and non degradable wastes separately. Moreover, effective strategy formulation, commitments, use of best technological options and implementation would surely achieve environmentally sustainable management of municipal waste.

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Cited by (1)

  • 1. Chandra Shubham, Ganguly Rajiv, Parmar Dipteek, 2023, Assessment of gas generation and energy recovery from municipal solid waste in Kanpur city, India, Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 195(9), 10.1007/s10661-023-11727-3
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IIT Bombay study suggests sustainable waste disposal in the healthcare sector

The research, published in the clean technologies and environmental policy journal, highlights a crucial concern of medical waste generation in india, where tons of medical waste is disposed without following any safety measures. .  .

Published - June 28, 2024 08:10 am IST - MUMBAI

KARNATAKA  BENGALURU  12/05/2021 Wokers disposing Medical waste at K C General Hospital in Bengaluru .  Disposing of Medical waste is a huge tusk for hospital and BBMP   Photo : BHAGYA PRAKASH K

KARNATAKA BENGALURU 12/05/2021 Wokers disposing Medical waste at K C General Hospital in Bengaluru . Disposing of Medical waste is a huge tusk for hospital and BBMP Photo : BHAGYA PRAKASH K | Photo Credit: Bhagya Prakash K 6700

A team of researchers comprising of Dr. Anuj Dixit and Professor Pankaj Dutta from Shailesh J. Mehta School of Management, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT Bombay) carried out a study to identify the key factors for effective implementation of the circular economy model, which allows for the sustainable disposal of healthcare waste management. Their research was recently published in the Clean Technologies and Environmental Policy journal.  

The research, carried out from January 2023 to August 2023, highlights a crucial concern of medical waste generation in the country. In 2020, India produced 774 tons of biomedical waste per day. Additionally, large amounts of used, unused and infected medications, instruments, safety gear, and packaging materials are disposed of by individuals and healthcare centres, Mr. Dutta explained. Safe disposal of healthcare waste is a concern as the special methods and technologies needed for it are not easily available. Public awareness and professional training regarding healthcare waste disposal is inadequate and funds for proper planning and implementation of effective waste management systems are not enough.  

Mr. Dixit said that a ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ approach, termed as circular economy model, helps mitigate pollution and environmental damage, which a ‘take-make-dispose’ approach is likely to cause. Though the effectiveness of the circular economy model is well-proven for efficient waste management in the non-healthcare sector, it is not explored enough in the healthcare sector.

Practical implications  

The researchers collected data about how the participants of the survey rate the importance of various factors such as awareness and training about waste management, budget, use of technology, waste segregation/collection and responsibilities of various stakeholders. This data was gathered through an objective questionnaire survey from medical practitioners and other professionals from 54 healthcare organisations in India. The organisations included hospitals, nursing homes, healthcare waste recycling units, pathological laboratories, and pharmaceutical companies in the private and public sectors operational for a minimum ten years with a minimum annual revenue of ₹100 million, which indicates that they are growing organisations. “Our major challenge was to select appropriate health organisations according to their type and nature of healthcare waste,” Mr. Dutta said.  

“Initially, the policymakers may apply their efforts on important Critical Success Factors (CSFs) like ‘Technology involvement’, ‘Segregation/Collection’, ‘Monitoring & Regulation’ and ‘Product design’. Then, the least important CSFs like ‘Tax Incentives’, ‘Affixing the responsibilities of government/Manufacturer/service provider/consumer’ ‘Information visibility’ and ‘Training’ will be considered based on their importance and the adoption level of CE through a continuous improvement process. When the adoption level of CE ensures that up to the satisfactory level, the CSFs will be reevaluated,” Dr. Dixit explained.

Factors such as ‘government’s responsibility’ and ‘stakeholders’ participation’ were found to have the highest driving potential, whereas ‘segregation and collection’, though considered critical, were found to depend on other causal CSFs. ‘Information visibility and transparency’, ‘manufacturer/corporate responsibility’, ‘training and empowerment’ and ‘budget allocation’ were the factors found to impact healthcare waste management most.

Mr. Dixit said, “Implementing a circular economy in the Indian healthcare sector encounters several formidable challenges. Firstly, many healthcare facilities across the country lack the necessary infrastructure and technology to adopt a circular economy. Biomedical waste management facilities are often inadequate, hindering the proper segregation and processing of medical waste. Secondly, the financial implications of transitioning to a circular economy pose a substantial challenge. Initial investments in infrastructure, technology, and compliance with regulations can be prohibitively expensive for healthcare providers, particularly in resource-constrained settings. Thirdly, co-ordinating diverse stakeholders, including manufacturers, distributors, hospitals, and waste management companies, to implement recycling programs for medical devices and packaging materials requires careful planning and cooperation especially in a big economy like India.”   

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