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The Vadakara Waste Management model - A case study

This case study is based on ATREE CERC team visit to Vadakara municipality and its waste management facility on 28th March 28, 2019. The visit aimed at understanding the waste management model run by Vadakkara Municipality and Hairyali (NGO). The visit was guided by Mr Manalil Mohanan who is the founder member of Hairyali, a charitable society, which works in close association with the Vadakara municipality. Hariyali consists of 54 full-time employees who work towards catering waste management service to all the Households from 47 wards in the municipality. The case study here shows the interesting model of climate governance by the LSG.

The model has been running for the past 15 months and has been able to process and manage approximately 18 tonnes of waste and raise approximately INR 7 lakh from selling waste and user fee collection. The success of the model is associated to the involvement of community members, proper planning, collaboration from municipality and stable income generation. Within less than four months, the model was generating revenue, and the system became automated.

In the initial stage, the team decided to hire two women from each ward in the Municipality. They organised a mass hiring exercise for the same. The ward counsellors were asked to select five women from each ward for the interview. Two women each from the five were chosen by intensifying interview process. The team decided INR 8000/ month as remuneration for the selected candidates based on the average expected income by the applicants. This is a crucial aspect of the project as only very committed and interested individuals were selected.

They worked from 8 am to 3 pm and every staff member had to sign the attendance register and also inform the team leader by Whatsapp. The selected team were given intensive training for one month before the launch of the program. The one-month program involved classes by government professionals such as Circle Inspector, DYSP, Chief Psychologist, Principal of Kozhikode Medical College etc. The exercise was conducted to provide necessary awareness on waste management, collection, segregation, management and also provided necessary confidence to work together to make the project successful.

With the help of Vadakkara municipality, the team set up small and big (Material Recovery Facility) where the segregation of waste was done. The facility was located in places which had public approval, and they also made sure to make the facility look attractive.

The recovery facility near the Vadakara bust stand is a 3500 sq ft area which has been divided into different areas for segregation of waste, bailing and shredding. All sorts of waste are being segregated by the women. Plastic is segregated based on the material, and each type of plastic is being sold to different buyers after getting quotation signed for one year.

The team collects a particular type of waste every month. One month would be just plastic waste, while in the next month they collected glass waste, then cloth waste, e-waste and so on, thus making segregation and sales easier. The first time they collected clothes, waste cloth collection team came from Tamil Nadu and bought the cloth waste of appro. 2 trucks for a price of INR 1.5 lakhs. The same way each of the waste is collected by different agencies thus generating a stable income.

The municipality also bought a bailing and shredding machine at a cost of INR 10 Lakhs. The bailing machine helps in pressing the plastic waste into small packs thus making it easier for transportation and weight measurement. The shredding machine helps in the shredding of plastic waste such as food packaging. Shredded waste is being sold for road taring purposes. Paper waste is also segregated into different types and is sent to paper mills for recycling. E-waste is collected and tested for usability. Working electrical devices or those which can be repaired go to a swap shop where they are being refurbished and sold to people in Vadakkara at lower prices. While the other e-waste is segregated in minimal ways, where they remove all sorts of copper wiring from the waste and the rest is being sent for recycling to units in Tamil Nadu. A truck of e-waste can fetch up to INR 60,000.

The households in the municipality pay a user fee of INR 50, and the shops pay a user fee of INR 150 per month. Some shops which have more than three sacks of waste every month have to pay extra for the collection of it from their shops. An e.g: a textile shop which generates lots of plastic waste pays up to INR 15,000 a month for collection of its waste.

The team also have a green shop at the Private bus stand in Vadakara that sells a variety of products such as cloth bags, upcycled products, composting products and so on were several people who come to see the model buy from. Also, the facility has a swap shop where used and discarded electronic devices in good condition are being sold or swapped. Two women work full time at the facility in making bags and also sales in the shop. The group is given a permanent office in the Municipality building thus making decision making faster and efficient. Revenue is also generated in the form of user fee for those who come from outside to visit the facility.


  1. The municipality has invested money into the system by integrating their work with an outside body.

  2. The investment on important machineries such as bailing machine and shredder has boosted the recycling process.

  3. Collection of a particular item or waste each month has helped in easy storage, segregation and bulk sales.

  4. The training for women and constant support mechanism has boosted their work and confidence.

  5. The leading team comes with immense experience and knowledge in the area.

  6. The swap shop and cluster-based waste collection has helped in more community participation.

To conclude, all of this was only possible with proper planning and stage by stage monitoring and implementation. Such integrated and participatory models need to be studied more and thus can be implemented in Muhamma too.

In continuation, the CERC team had a discussion with the Muhamma Panchayat President who agreed to consider our idea presentation during the next meeting and to take it up forward.

The case study was documented by Sanju Soman and Reema A

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