Waste No More


Section 3.1

Need for a partnership, key partners and roles​

The need for partnership


Urban local
body (ULB)


Implementation partner




List of partners

Waste generator

Role : Supplies waste at low to no cost and enables waste segregation at source

Duration: Agreed upon frequency of collection (daily, weekly etc.)

Agreement: Letter of arrangement and/or collection receipts

Urban local body (ULB)

Role : As a primary approval body the ULB provides access to land along with existing collection infrastructure. The ULB also supports with data collection, formalisation (e.g. ID cards for waste pickers) and incentive schemes for communities to imbibe responsible waste management.

Duration: Long-term commitment between 12 – 36 months (with renewal) 

Agreements: Project proposal, approval letters, MoUs

Local aggregators

Role : Gives access to network of safai-saathis and waste collection routes

Duration: Long-term commitment between 12 – 36 months

Agreements: Letters of Engagement, informal agreements (e.g. email)

Implementation partner

Role : Project management, partial (or full) capital expenditure and integration of safai-saathis

Duration: Long term engagement for the project duration

Agreements: MoUs

Funding partner

Role : Provides funding for capital expenditure(infrastructure setups, IEC activities) and operation expenditure of Material Recovery Facility (MRF)

Duration: Till project becomes financially viable (covers operating expenses); typically within 18-24 months

Agreements: MoUs, grant letter

Offsetting partner

Role : Supports project cashflows by creating demand for end-of-life or recycled products and/or through EPR certificates. Also supports with large-scale behavior change campaigns.

Duration:Long term engagement for the project duration

Agreements: Letters of Engagement, informal agreements (e.g. email)

NGO partner

Role : On-ground deployment and execution of behavioral change programme and awareness activities

Duration: Long-term commitment between 12 – 36 months

Agreements: Scope of Work


Onboarding partners and formalising the partnership​

Onboarding Partners

The majority of dry waste is made up of plastic. It is either dumped in landfill or incinerated. This is both financially and environmentally unsustainable.

Approach and due diligence

  • Approach once funding and implementation partner has been shortlisted

  • The best approach would be reaching out to the Assistant Commissioner or Assistant Engineer – Solid Waste management of the ULB.

  • Together with implementation partners conduct an on-ground baseline assessment to understand the current waste management needs and challenges of the area

Proposal and value proposition

  • Once needs have been understood outline the proposal with key partners involved (including the implementation and funding partner) and potential impact

  • Inspect site options provided by ULB together with implementation partner


  • Formal work order signed by the Assistant Commissioner

Approach and due diligence

  • Approach first to identify implementation partner through primary and secondary research based on their expertise on managing operations on ground, plastics recycling, understanding of the local ecosystem and a business model approach

  • Due diligence is crucial as the chosen implementation partner receives a stamp of approval when including them in discussions with your funding and offsetting partners

Proposal and value proposition

  • Once you have identified your implementation partner, approach them to formalise connection

  • Communicate clearly the business case and incentives for the implementation partner

  • Document CAPEX and OPEX information as estimated by your implementation partner


  • Secure buy-in and a signed document, e.g. Letter of Intent (LoI) or (MoU).

Approach and due diligence

  • Approach once the implementation partner has been short-listed and first level of interest has been received from the ULB
  • Contact management and gauge common interest on CSR goals and budgets. Once you have established a common ground, align middle management and project managers through regular business meetings

Proposal and value proposition

  • Outline costs, outcomes, and your funding proposal. Connect the partners CSR goals with project outcomes (e.g. if funding partner wants waste diverted from landfill or informal sector outreach, how does the overall programme facilitate this.)
  • Clearly outline roles, responsibilities and use of funds. Highlight other players such as implementation partner and their capabilities e.g. end-of-life products


  • Secure in-principle alignment followed by a signed partnership engagement (MoU, LOI etc.)
  • Secure grant letter

Approach and due diligence

  • Approach independently of transaction with ULB and implementation partner.

  • Contact management and gauge interest in offsetting or behavior change programmes. Focus on partners with EPR obligations to recover plastics (existing spend, difficulties in traceability, partnership goas etc.)

Proposal and value proposition

  • Build relationships through management business meetings. Introduce implementation partner and outline all paths of traceability from waste source to closing the loop.

  • Outline role of offsetting partner e.g. fees for EPR, generating demand for end products. Outline business case e.g. cheaper EPR, valuable traceability documentation etc.

  • Based on project scope, make targets explicit and clear e.g. WNM programme will recover 10 MT each month for offsetting partner to fulfil EPR mandate


  • Secure in-principle alignment followed by a signed partnership engagement (MoU, LOI etc.)

Approach and due diligence

  • Ideally the waste generator is in the funding partner’s ecosystem. E.g. if SBIF funds the project, waste is collected from SBI residences and offices
  • ULBs often assign a waste generator to the programme e.g. housing societies, malls, where waste can be collected

Proposal and value proposition

  • Identify building management (e.g. housing associations) and communicate project benefits from waste traceability such as property tax reductions
  • Collaborate with existing informal sector workers such as waste pickers when identifying and sorting recyclable waste


  • Onboarded through project kick-off meetings with invitation from ULB or other partners

Approach and due diligence

  • Serve as an essential partner to establish connections with local communities and other bulk generators
  • Approach through implementation partner where there is existing relationships or through ULB support

Proposal and value proposition

  • Local aggregators benefit from the partnership as the WNM programme provides them with reliable demand for recyclable waste materials


  • Secure buy-in through principle agreement or letter of engagement from implementation partner with support from ULB

Approach and due diligence

  • Contracted vendors, sourced primarily for IEC outreach and campaigning. Documented as suppliers and contractors without formal partnership onboarding process

Proposal and value proposition

  • Contracted vendor NGOs still need to pass due diligence in identifying their capabilities and if they are a good match. Contracted NGOs should be involved in similar community outreach projects, have local networks and contacts to approach target groups, and should have done similar or relevant work in the past

Section 3.3

Investment and Financial Models​

Rule of thumb

A Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model is key for the success of any social enterprise, such as your WNM programme. Rental and land costs are very high in cities like Mumbai, so the earmarked land for waste management should be provided by ULB for setting up the centre.

To find the commercial viability and break even point for your WNM model, it’s essential that you determine the viability gap funding (VGF). This could be in terms of grants, subsidy and/or additional revenue required to make the programme viable for private sector participation.

The financial cost-benefit analysis

This is an indicative costing for setting up a dry Material Recovery Facility (MRF) for a 3-4 TDP capacity

Step 1

Determine the project capital expenditure (CAPEX) costs

Capex investments

Step 2

Determine the project operational expenditure (OPEX) costs

Opex investments

Step 3

Evaluate project viability and determine its break-even point

P&L for three years

*The financials are for the MRF with the maximum processing capacity of 4 TPD of dry waste

To look at detailed P&L template, download the file from here

Rule of thumb

To set up this end-to-end model and make it financially viable:


Minimum Viable Project​

Minimum Viable Project

The MVP describes the base requirements need to build a similar WNM model as outlined in the toolkit

Waste collection requirements

Closing the loop requirements

Demographic requirements

Awareness requirements

Urban local body requirements

Awareness requirements

MRF profit and loss statement

Chapter Checklist

Chapter 4 - Setting up the Material Recovery Facility

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