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In Kolkata, India, the Trash2Cash initiative has developed an innovative solution to both the city’s waste problem and climate change.

The city generates more than 5,000 tonnes of solid waste every day. Dumping this waste pollutes the groundwater and emits large amounts of methane gas, which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in the atmosphere.

The South Asian Forum for Environment's Trash2Cash initiative is an independent community enterprise, led by people who live in the city’s slums, who are paid to collect and recycle waste in urban areas.

The waste is segregated at the source, diverting organic waste from the landfills to produce compost. Paper waste is recycled into marketable handicrafts in a workshop run by women. The initiative has trained hundreds of women to turn recycled paper into handicrafts.

Each month, slum residents collect and recycle 1,000 kg of waste paper, and compost 2,000 kg of food waste. This reduces C02-equivalent emissions by 520 metric tonnes each year.

To learn how Trash2Cash creates sustainable jobs for the urban poor and reduces emissions, we spoke with Amrita Chatterjee, the project leader.

Listen to the interview below, and subscribe to the Momentum for Change podcast. To stay connected with Momentum for Change, subscribe to the e-newsletter.

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