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Urban Science

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Zero waste -- India; Plastic waste -- India -- Circular economy, Regenerative economy, Waste management


This study uses a qualitative approach to address limitations and blockages to current plastics reduction via semi-structured interviews with zero waste business practitioners in India. Although they are nascent, India is home to a budding zero waste community that is grappling with how to reduce plastics—via trial and error—and these stakeholders hold insights from lived experience on how plastic reduction can actualize in the Indian subcontinent. This research involved interviewing zero waste businesses and consultants and makers of plastic alternatives in India to understand their experiences with plastic reduction strategies. The key stakeholder interviews reveal key insights for moving forward with plastic reduction initiatives, including challenges faced at government, business, and social levels; considerations regarding plastic waste generation; motivations for starting zero waste businesses and organizations; how it will be possible to operationalize plastic bans in India; appropriate actions for plastic waste reduction; elements that would help India shift into a more circular, regenerative economy; and locally appropriate alternatives to plastics. The discussion further delves into caveats with various alternatives to plastic materials, economic considerations, and characteristics of the zero waste network, and provides next steps for action at the government, business, and civil levels for reducing plastic waste generation in India and minimizing plastic pollution.


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