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«Background Page 1 Methodology Page 3 Survey Findings Page 5 Map Page 13 Case Studies Page 14 Conclusion Page 22 Annexure Annexure 1- Survey ...»

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Sample Study of Informal Scrap Dealers and Recyclers in


February –April 2011


Background Page 1

Methodology Page 3

Survey Findings Page 5

Map Page 13

Case Studies Page 14

Conclusion Page 22


Annexure 1- Survey questionnaires Page 25 Questionnaire for small/ medium scrap shops study Page 25 Bangalore 2011 Questionnaire for Large scrap shops study Page 26 Bangalore 2011 Interview with Reprocessor Page 28 Annexure 2- Maps Page 29 Background India has an age old practice of recycling. However a large amount of waste, due to newer forms of packaging, does not find its way into the recycling stream and is mixed with other forms of municipal solid waste. Traditionally, people are used to keeping newspapers, magazines, used note books, milk packets, large shampoo and detergent bottles etc. But there exists a huge potential for the recovery of several forms of paper and plastic packaging that can feed into the recycling chain. Bangalore has a long history of community participation in its solid waste management with a number of initiatives started in the late nineties, with focus on management of waste at the source, many of them involving waste pickers. At this time there was no legal obligation on the part of citizens to segregate waste at source or on the part of medical establishments to dispose of the hazardous waste safely. There was, however, a rising awareness of the need for such legislation mandating citizens and municipalities on the manner in which solid waste should be handed over, collected, transported and treated, a paradigm shift, from NIMBY (not in my backyard) to YIMBY (yes in my backyard) syndrome.

In 2000, the Municipal Solid Waste (handling and management) Rules came into force making it mandatory for citizens to segregate waste at source into bio-degradable and non bio-degradable fractions. Further, since 2009, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) has laid down the stipulation that all apartment complexes with a capacity of more than 100 units should manage their solid waste at source, which implies dealing with both the organic and the recyclables at the point of generation. As a result, all large-sized apartment buildings now provide the necessary infrastructure to carry out composting and segregation of dry waste for recycling.

The informal resource recovery of waste is a sector whose role is underplayed and underestimated. It remains at the fringes, with no formal recognition like other sectors. Y et the role that it performs is invaluable. Starting from the recovery at the point of generation through the chain of secondary sorting, storage, wholesale trade and reprocessing, there is an age -old system that has been working in the city since the last fifty years and more. There are waste pickers, itinerant traders and waste buyers, local scrap dealers, wholesale dealers and reprocessors. At every stage there is value addition. By recovering nearly 20% of the total waste at the point of generation (this is the average amount of recyclable dry waste out of total waste generated), significant savings can be made in transportation and land filling costs. Estimates shows that the BBMP saves Rs. 15 lakh per day for a total daily dry waste generation of 700 tonnes (calculated at the current cost of Rs.2219 per tonne, the current costs for BBMP to landfill 1 tonne of waste).

The first level of recovery is done by waste pickers and itinerant buyers. In India it is es timated that there are 15 lakh waste pickers and itinerant buyers (Source: Alliance of Indian Waste pickers). In order to draw attention to the lack of accurate data on waste pickers in Bangalore, and recognition of their contribution to the waste management in the city, CHF International and Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi (MSSS) undertook a sample survey of 264 informal waste pickers in Bangalore September and October 2010.The survey gave insights to the different categories of waste pickers that exist and their socio-economic conditions and initiated a process of change.

The waste pickers and itinerant buyers sell the materials to scrap dealers and whole sale dealers who aggregate and sort the material before it is reprocessed. In an effort to understand the quantities of recyclable waste retrieved and the informal systems that manage them, CHF International and MSSS undertook a sample survey of informal and formal recyclers (including scrap shops, whole sale dealers and reprocessors) in Bangalore in February to April 2011.

CHF International /Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi, February- April 2011 1

The objectives of the survey were to:

 Understand the socio economic conditions of different categories of recyclers in order to help formalize their role in managing waste in the city.

 Understand the economics of waste retrieval / management by the informal economy through studying how waste is retrieved at the source and chart its journey to the recovery and recycling markets.

 Map scrap dealers in 16 wards in Bangalore on a GIS platform The funding for the study was jointly shared by CHF International and MSSS. CHF International utilized its own funds for the survey while MSSS was supported by FEM Italia Onlus.

–  –  –

Categories of recyclers

After preliminary discussions the following categories of recyclers were identified:

 Small scrap shops (less than 300 kg/day)  Medium scrap shops (300 Kg - 1 tonne/ day)  Large scrap shops ( more than 1 tonne /day)  Wholesale dealers (in specific whole sale markets)  Reprocessors ( in specific recycling hubs)  Companies ( dealing with collection and sale of scrap materials) Categories can also depend on type of recyclables handled by scrap shops. A small scrap shop mainly deals with materials which are high value and have less volume due to space constraints, majority are shop cum residence with only one worker or no workers to segregate the materials.

Medium scrap shops are more spacious and will have workers to sort the materials and they deal with all recyclables. Large scrap shops will have a lot of employees with spacious area to store the materials and usually located away from residential areas although this is not true across the city.

Data collection Information on the economics of waste management by the informal and formal recyclers and their socio-economic conditions was collected using questionnaires. An external consultant prepared the questionnaires with inputs from CHF and coordinated the survey in association with CHF and MSSS. The questionnaires were field tested before finalization. The survey of small and medium scrap shops in 16 wards in the city was undertaken by field staff of five grassroots organisations in different locations of the city


–  –  –

The number of scrap shops surveyed in each ward is given below:

CHF International /Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi, February- April 2011 5 Some of the major findings are given below.

1. Type of scrap shops Of the 310 small and medium scrap shops based on the

quantities of waste handled per day:

 91 %( 279) were Small scrap shops (less than 300Kg per day)  9 %( 26) were Medium scale scrap shops (300 to 1 ton per day)

2. Length of the time in business Around 70% (214) of scrap shops are less than 5 years old, 23 % (69) are between 5 to 10 years old and 7 % (22) had more than 10 years of business experience in the recyclables trade.

3. Shop ownership

–  –  –

4. Number of employees 34% of scrap shops has one worker, 27% have two workers, 9% of scrap shops have 3 workers and a significant 24% of scrap shops do not have any workers in their shops. Here the owner’s work themselves and in few cases family members assist. Only 1% has more than five workers.

Women sorting through scraps of paper

5. Sources of recyclable waste Both small and medium scrap shops get recyclables from various sources. Majority of the waste is sourced from house maids (78%) and residents(74%), 48% from waste pickers, 37% from BBMP municipal workers, 35% from Itinerant buyers and 21 % from other traders including factory workers, hotels, office assistants, CHF International /Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi, February- April 2011 6 bar & restaurants and construction workers also supply recyclable material s to the shops.

6. Frequency of sale of Recyclables Materials A significant 49% (150) scrap shops sell their recyclables once every month and 26% (79) sell once a week mainly due to space constraint. Similarly 14% (42) scrap shops sell waste every 15 days and 3% (9) sell twice in a week. 5% (15) of shops had varied times ranging from once in 3- 4 months to depending on quantities and dealers flexibility to pick up materials.

7. Average income per month:

Although most scrap dealers are reluctant to give this information. Broadly the analysis shows that 50% of scrap shop owners earn in the range of Rs 1001 to 3000 per month, 29% in the range of Rs 3001-5000, 7% more than Rs 5000 and 6% earn a profit in the range of Rs 300 to 1000 per month. 8% refused to reveal details.

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9. Transportation of materials Transportation is a major expense while selling recyclables in the market; the shops have to invest in transporting the materials. Analysis shows that 69% are hiring vehicles to transport recyclables whereas 20% have dealers sending vehicles and 10% of shops have their own transportation.

10. Challenges and problems faced by scrap shop owners:

The data reveals that 70% of the scrap shop owners are facing harassment from the police. They have to pay regular bribes as most of the shops do not have a license to operate. Some shops also face problems from residents. Space constraint is another major problem.

CHF International /Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi, February- April 2011 7 II. Large Scrap Shops Ten large scrap dealers were surveyed. They buy all types of scrap waste from high value cartons and PET bottles to low value thin plastic bags. One of the scrap dealers is located in Jolly Mohalla, the wholesale hub, while the rest are located in different parts of the city, more towards the outer areas such as Thanisandra, Cholanayakanahalli, Kodigehali and Bavaninagar.

–  –  –

Some of the major findings have been highlighted in this section:

1. Length of the time in business All of them, except for one dealer, have been in the business for more than 10 years.

2. Quantities of waste handled per day There were three scrap dealers dealing in 1 tonne per day, five scrap dealers managing between 1 and 2 tonnes per day and one scrap dealer dealing in more than 4 tonnes per day.

3. Sources of recyclable waste The materials were sourced mainly from other smaller scrap dealers in the surrounding areas. Two of the dealers sourced their waste from waste pickers, while four of the dealers also bought from BBMP workers. Three of the dealers bought recyclables directly from households.One of the dealers, Simpson, sourced the waste mainly from waste pickers and also employed them on daily wages to do the sorting, packing and loading.

CHF International /Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi, February- April 2011 8

4. Number of employees The dealers mainly employed both permanent and casual daily wage workers. Majority of the scrap dealers (7) surveyed had 3- 5 workers. One of the dealers, Maadhu, employed 7 workers while one dealer employed only 1 worker. Prakash (near Central Silk Board), did not employ any labour but took the assistance of three family members.

5. Shop ownership Most of the scrap dealers functioned out of rented spaces (7), while one of the dealers owned the space. There is no information from one dealer on this issue.

–  –  –

The dealers do not use any kind of machines to sort or segregate the waste, all operations are manually done. Two of them used a manual baling machine to compress and pack paper waste. One of the dealers (Maadhu, Thanisandra) used a gas welding and cutting machine to cut metal pieces.

Dealer using a manual paper baling apparatus, Lingarajapuram, Bangalore

7. Frequency of sale of Recyclables Materials The dealers sold the materials every day. The very large dealers (those dealing in more than 2 tonnes) packed the materials according to the type – for eg: a single load of PET bottles or iron rods or white paper.

8. Income (in sales per day) There are seasonal variations with a fall in business during the rainy season as the waste is wet and commands a lower price. The scrap shops surveyed were reluctant to disclose incomes and therefore information on the total sales per day was collected.

Five dealers were making a sale ranging from Rs.8,000 to Rs.20,000 per day; two dealers was making a sale between Rs 20,000 to 50,000 a day while one dealer was making a sale Rs 50000 and Rs. 1 lakh per day. There was no information from one dealer.

CHF International /Mythri Sarva Seva Samithi, February- April 2011 9

9. Challenges and problems faced A number of the dealers reported police harassment. They have also faced situations where police allege that the dealers buy stolen items, especially in the case of metal scrap waste. Sometimes the employees of the dealers are accused of petty stealing and summoned to police stations for interrogation. (Cases reported by Simpson, Cholanagar and Anderson, Chinnappa Garden).

Purchasing waste from BBMP collection trucks is a problem as the waste is mixed and emits odour, and as a result, neighbours complain. Dealer Anderson also reported chronic health problems and attributed it to his occupation.

–  –  –

Some of the major findings have been highlighted in this section.

1. Type of wholesale dealers Of the fifteen wholesale dealers interviewed five dealers work with only plastic (mixed grades of plastic), two wit only paper, two with only glass and two with only wires (metal and plastic). Four dealers dealt with all kinds of materials.

2. Length of the time in business Eleven of the dealers had been in the business for more than 10 years while four were newer entrants.

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