Bagmati, Madesh, and other provinces of Nepal

Prayaash: Strengthening Waste Workers for Zero Waste Nepal

The Alliance-backed Prayaash initiative pilots solutions that tap and grow Nepal’s informal waste collection network, while creating the necessary infrastructure to divert waste away from landfills and towards recycling.

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In Nepal, where difficult terrain and inadequate infrastructure remain major constraints to recycling, the Alliance is working with local waste collector Creasion to give both its waste management infrastructure and network of informal waste workers a much-needed boost.


Bagmati, Madesh, and other provinces of Nepal


Creasion Ventures Inc Pvt Ltd


- Plastic waste collected and recycled from untapped areas of Nepal: 1,000+ tons
- No. of waste collectors given formal roles: 50+
- No. [of companies?] in recycler’s network: 10+
- No. of waste workers socially uplifted through their involvement in the programme: 500+

Better Lives and Livelihoods for Nepal’s Waste Workers

At the Haleshi Kabaad Center in Kathmandu, a young mother takes a break from segregating plastic waste for recycling. She retreats into a sanitary private room to breastfeed her child, and then freshens up in a female changing room before returning to work.

Here workplace today is drastically different from just a year earlier, when men and women shared a single makeshift latrine.

The complete rehaul of the Materials Recovery Facility is part of Project Prayaash, an initiative by the Alliance and waste collector Creasion to strengthen Nepal’s plastics recovery and recycling chain, while also growing a critical component – the army of formal and informal waste workers that navigate its challenging geographical terrain and lack of formal infrastructure.

Without their help, much of the waste ends up in landfills – 600 metric tonnes a day, according to the World Bank, a growing problem as the country continues to develop.

But many of these poor and marginalised workers, who resort to waste picking for income or survival, often do so without health or safety considerations, fair wages, or dignity. The right kinds of intervention could mean improving their lives while effectively channelling waste towards recycling.

To that end, the initiative found ways to integrate these workers into the project ecosystem. They were given the right protective equipment and tools, and workshops on effective and safe plastic waste management to work safely. Some 45 waste workers in the area landed formal roles in the sector, and over 500 waste workers benefited from the social inclusion initiatives. These included fairer wages and, for some, insurance coverage.

To strengthen the baling, collection and trading capacity of smaller aggregators, three baling machines were installed, and relationships were established with larger aggregators and recyclers for the collection of the waste – effectively turning them into micro-entrepreneurs. The detailed journey of the waste – from source to recycled product – was documented to ensure transparency and traceability.

The initiative, which began in July 2022, has been rolled out in two major Nepal provinces, Bagmati and Madhesh. Targeted areas of collection include Birgunj, Chitwan and Kathmandu Valley, where plastic waste leakage threatens ecosystems.

In the first phase, which ended in March 2023, close to 1,050 tonnes of plastic waste was recovered and recycled, exceeding the project target of 1,000 tonnes. Of this, 61.4% was PET and 38.6% were LDPE and HDPE.

Through Prayaash, the untapped value of Nepal’s plastic waste can be harnessed through recycling, benefitting its community of waste workers – but it needs to be done with the right people and infrastructural strategies in place. The project has now entered its second phase, where it aims to collect and recycle 1,700 tonnes of plastic waste over a 10-month period. Creasion is also studying the feasibility of building a PET recycling facility, helping to push Nepal closer to plastics circularity.