Building a Social Business to lift waste pickers out of poverty.

Together with a German family company, we are currently developing a social business in plastics recycling. It supports waste pickers and their families in India. At the same time, it helps the corporate partner to increase the amount of recycled plastics in their supply chain. In India, 80% of plastics are discarded as waste. Moreover, at least 40% of plastic waste is even uncollected. Plastic waste recycling capacities remain insufficient to cope with the sheer amount of waste in the country. At the lowest strata of the waste recycling hierarchy, rag pickers (Kachrawalas) make a living from collecting and reselling recyclable wastes found on the streets or in landfills or visit households, shops, or offices to buy their valuable wastes. They then resell the collected metal, plastics or paper to Kabaddishops. Generally, informal waste pickers earn below $1.90 per day – which means that waste pickers earn significantly less than the internationally agreed-upon poverty line.


of Plastic Waste produced in Bangalore.

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of plastics in India are discarded as waste.

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or less, is the daily income for waste pickers.

Changing Corporate Mindsets by creating tangible Impact.

The development of the social business is engrained in the corporate partner's sustainability strategy which is focused on creating circular plastic streams. Setting up this social business in India is an opportunity to create a tangible artifact that outlines how the sustainability strategy may be implemented. The excitement in the company about this initiative has been overwhelming.

How Yunus Social Business adds Value

Our services during this project:


Creating empathy for the situation on the ground is at the core of our work. We provide primary and secondary research on the potential impact and organize field trips to visit waste pickers on the ground. This funnels into the development of a meaningful impact strategy.[

Business Model

We helped the corporate partner develop a sustainable and scalable business model. This includes setting up sourcing partnerships with social entrepreneurs in India, seeking additional capital on top of the investment of the family company and validating regulatory requirements.

Alliance Building

Yunus Social Business leverages its network to provide access to implementing and strategic partners for the ventures. This starts early on in the process, providing intrapreneurial and circular economy expertise through external partners. And it ends with setting up sourcing partnerships with social entrepreneurs on the grounds.


Acquiring strong staff on the ground is a key success factor for the social business. YSB helps leverage its network to acquire strong staff that push the business forward in an entrepreneurial way. Supported by the corporate partner, staff members get to work at world-class levels.

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