Indian cities are among the largest garbage generators in the world, producing about 62 million tonnes of waste every year, most of which is left untreated.

According to Borneo Bulletin, Mysore, by combining the availability of cheap labour with traditional methods and modern plants, is helping the turn the image of the country around. 

Borneo Bulletin

DG Nagaraj, health officer of the Mysuru City Corporation says:

“We don’t want waste to be waste; we want to get wealth out of it. Zero landfill is our motto.”

Every day at 6:30 AM, workers in olive green aprons go around the city of Mysore, collecting garbage. At the same time, residents emerge from their homes, with garbage separated into two bins – compostable and non-compostable. 


There are nine recycling centres and a compost plant in Mysore. The reusable trash is segregated and the non-reusable is composted. The compost is then sold to farmers.

The system is being run by the local government and NGOs with the cooperation of the citizens. They cover their costs by sale of scrap and compost.


The government is getting the system work by appealing to the public through campaigns, radio jingles, WhatsApp messages, street plays, pamphlets and even a door-to-door awareness program is being carried out.


For the waste-to-fertiliser plant, Mysore charges an annual fee and takes 5% of the finished compost as payment. It also collects a solid-waste management levy from residents along with the property tax to help subsidise the programme.


Mysore’s recycling system depends partly on government support. Before the central government grants, only about 70% of the costs of the plant were covered by the sale of fertiliser.

This is one of the most efficient waste management models in the country. It’s running smoothly as both the residents and the government is willingly involved.


Waste management is a fast-growing industry, and Indian states can do a lot by taking a cue from Mysore. Not banking on garbage is making them miss out on revenue opportunities.

The problem is that most of the Indian municipalities don’t have enough manpower, vehicles, infrastructure and revenue to support such measures.

Hopefully, the government is listening and the incentives are on the way.