Program Overview

Social Alpha Innovations in Waste Management is back with its second edition
as ‘Techtonic – Innovations in Circular Economy’.

Science and technology have the power to transform the waste management crisis through viable solutions which bring about a convergence of social, economic, and environmental benefits. To further move the needle towards a circular economy, a confluence of technology driven social innovations and the integration of the informal waste pickers are necessary all along the waste management spectrum. With technological advancements, the waste management sector is poised to create opportunities for climate action, economic growth, and livelihood enhancement for all stakeholders.

The collaboration between the H&M Foundation (H&MF) for the Saamuhika Shakti Initiative, the JSW Foundation (JSWF) and Social Alpha seeks to support startups in waste management scale and build sustainable models. This partnership is designed to address the most intractable challenges that early-stage start-ups in the sector face – lack of capital and inability to scale to new geographies.

Innovations in Circular Economy

 Market Validation Track


Bengaluru and other cities

Scale Up Track

Vijayanagar, Karnataka

Dolvi, Maharashtra

Market Validation Track

This track supported by the H&M Foundation as a part of the Saamuhika Shakti initiative envisions to create an enabling ecosystem stack for innovators and entrepreneurs developing solutions to accelerate waste management and improve the overall quality of life of the informal sector in India.

The partnership is focused on innovative solutions which can integrate informal wastepickers into the operations and create stable employment opportunities for the wastepickers in Bangalore and other cities.

Through this track, 5 winners will be selected for a year long accelerator program which includes a pilot opportunity of INR 15 lakhs and will be supported in their lab to market journey.

Problem Statements

Network Optimization: Enabling innovative solutions to build an efficient supply chain for waste generated.

Waste to Value: Enabling recycling and resource recovery from waste streams through tech-based innovations, with a focus on low value waste streams.

Program Offerings

Scale Up Track

This track is supported by the JSW Foundation, to promote waste management and processing in Tier 2/3 towns in India. Given JSW Foundation’s presence in Vijayanagar, Karnataka and Dolvi, Maharashtra, these locations have been chosen for pilot implementations.

Through this track, 2 startups will be selected, whose innovations contribute to sustainable management and reduction of waste. Financial assistance of INR 40 lakhs for pilot implementation and on ground support will be provided to startups to set up operations in Dolvi or Vijaynagar (as per the startup’s choice) – this would be a soft-landing pad to support the startup’s work in a new geography and scale up.

Startups focusing on end-to-end operations to transform waste into value will be supported.

Problem Statement

Network optimization for creating value from waste

Recycling and resource recovery from waste streams through science and tech-based innovations, combined with process optimisation to establish efficient systems, and sustainable microentrepreneurial models to promote decentralised waste management.

Startups will work with JSW Foundation and Social Alpha to identify how their solutions can be implemented in the pilot location(s). Given below is information regarding the two pilot locations, to familiarize the startups with the on-ground situation and help them select the location that would be more suited for scaling up.

District: Bellary, Vijayanagar
Area (sq km): 9,886
Population: 27,54,598
Number of Households: 5,47,679

With JSWF’s support, waste collection, sorting and recycling/upcycling has been happening for 3 Gram Panchayats (6 villages) and 1 Town Municipal Council in this region for households and shops. After collection of waste, sorting is carried out in godowns, following which non-recyclables are sent to cement factories, and recyclables are sold to local vendors.

~16k households (population of 65k) are currently covered under JSWF’s activities. There is huge room for improving efficiency across supply chain and maximizing the value of different waste streams.

Indicative monthly data for 16k households:

Highest quantities of dry waste collected for:

  • Clothing 31%
  • Tin bottle 9%
  • Footwear 7%
  • Tetra pack 8%
  • Leather 7%
  • MLP 5%

District: Raigad
Area (sq km):  7,152
Population:  26,34,200
Number of Households: 5,26,840

JSW Foundation’s initiatives in Dolvi have focused on segregation and recycling/upcycling of waste in 20 villages in the region and are looking at scaling up to 69 villages. After collection, waste is transported to sheds where it is categorized into different categories.

Given that Dolvi is a recent addition, only 900 households (population of 3.6k) are covered under JSW Foundation’s activities. There is scope to reach a population of 15.6k in Wadkhal, Dolvi, and Karav for improving infrastructure facilities in villages, processing wet waste, streamlining waste management operations and generating value from different waste streams.

Indicative monthly data for 1.2k households:

Program Offerings

Meet the cohort

Read more about Our Impact