H&M Foundation aims to expand its waste-picking project

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2023-02-10 07:37:37 – India

The Saamuhika Shakti project, which the H&M Foundation established in 2020, invested US$11 million to help uplift the informal waste pickers in Bengaluru out of poverty.

As of right now, the initiative has produced 152 million buttons. These are used on clothing that is sold all over the world and is created in part from post-consumer PET waste. The buttons, along with the names of the workers, social security, wages, and working conditions, can be traced back to the point where the waste was generated at the aggregation center in Bengaluru.

This initiative emphasizes the move toward circular business models, where recycled resources are essential. Ten organizations have participated thus far, and 32,000 individuals, including rubbish pickers and their families, are believed to have benefited.

The initial timeline for the Saamuhika Shakti project was from 2020 to 2023.  However, given its success, H&M Foundation’s strategy lead, Maria Bystedt, said that now, they're reviewing their work and searching for a gap inside these new supply chains to see which areas they can improve and scale up. This is due to the initiative's success. Perhaps hangers can be made out of recyclable plastic. Or, they can make use of other waste materials gathered by waste pickers, such paper or metal.

Bystedt added that Saamuhika Shakti had had great success since all of the partners worked together to achieve the same objective. They believe it will encourage other funders to take the risk of making lengthy investments in challenging projects and to adopt a more comprehensive perspective.

In addition to providing employment and income opportunities for the community of waste pickers, this project transforms used PET bottles into a valuable resource for the apparel and textile industries as a crucial link in the circular value chain.

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