Why Recycle Guru

Cities already have a complex network of recycling waste collectors.

By strengthening informal collection networks, we can recycle more effectively. This costs the city less and creates more visibility for the hard work of recyclers. This network is efficient and provides livelihoods.

Cities already have a complex network of recycling waste collectors.

Harness the current system, and don’t try to replace it.

Why? Kabadiwalas already:

  • Are experts on materials
  • Pick up at your doorstep
  • Pay for materials
  • Work with a network of recyclers
  • Are entrepreneurs!
  • Reduce emissions! Read This

Bring identity and dignity to this profession.

The informal sector suffers from our collective apathy and disdain, both because of the way we view the people and the sector and because of the way they view themselves. 

We must redefine this sector in terms of its green potential, especially in the current climate of ecological concerns. In addition to understanding the value of materials, we want these professionals to see the social and environmental value they create. By fully acknowledging the important role they play, Recycle Gurus can leverage their tacit knowledge to create more dignity in their profession. 

Supporting Recycling Workers

Like we know our beautician or our barder and value them, we need to develop a new relationship with these brave “green warriors” who are working to keep waste off our streets. We need to know how they work to help them do their work better.

“People's notions of what is proper, and what is forbidden, and for whom, are fundamental to how hard they work, and how they learn, spend, and save. Thus people's identity--their conception of who they are, and who they choose to be--may be the most important factor affecting their economic lives. And the limits placed by society on people's identity can also be crucial determinants of their economic well-being.”

Identity Economics: How Our Identities Shape Our Work, Wages, and Well Being

Why do we need a change?

our current perspective

the kabbadiwalla's perspective

Where can I find a kabadiwalla?

Every metropolis in India today has a "phone dial enquiry" system. In Bengaluru if you are stuck in some place and need a biryani, you can call a number and they will send you a list of biryani places in that area. But try this - you have moved into a new home and you want to know the contact of a local kabbadiwalla.

No phone service will provide this information.

They are unable to provide this service as they don’t have this information. The reason being that most people don’t want it. People are unaware or don’t feel like segregating waste at home and storing it to sell it. And when they do sell their waste, they think that the kabbadiwallas cheat them! So some people haggle and fight with these small operators while others prefer a larger contractor, who has a pollution certificate (often obtained as a result of paying a bribe), who can speak in English and "appear professional".