Decentralized approach of managing solid waste is an approach by various small waste management centers within the community. The individual micro-management centers engage informal sector i.e., rag-pickers for collection and transportation of waste via small vehicles. The decentralized system is not only sustainable and financially viable but also helps to improve the quality of life and working conditions of the waste pickers.
Many bulk waste generators such as large industries, hotels, IT companies and some forward-looking municipal corporations have started adopting various decentralized waste management solutions as a part of their overall waste management strategies. Technologies such as recycling of waste, pit composting, vermi-composting and small scale anaerobic digestion (Bio-Gas) are available for decentralized solid waste management.
A successful case study of decentralized approach is observed in Chennai. EXNORA International, an NGO, included informal workers who were responsible for waste collection and transportation from various households within the community to common waste bins placed by Corporation of Chennai (CoC). The community contributed a nominal amount towards the service rendered which along with revenue from sale of recyclables covered the operational expenditure (salary of the workers and other administrative expenses) of the project. CoC provided their support by transporting refuse from the street bins to dump sites.
EXNORA focuses on environmental services and encourages women workers to collect the waste who sort, dry and process the same into 45 different categories which is then sold. Bio-degradable waste is taken to composting centers to convert into organic manure through vermi-composting process. The natural manure is used for enhancing the green cover in the campus while segregated fruit and vegetable peels are used for making cleaning powder.