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The concept of waste as "a material which has no use" is changing to "a resource at a wrong place". This realisation is making society to think how to minimise waste/ put to other uses. Waste Minimisation hence can be considered as "A new and creative way of thinking about products and the processes which makes them. It is achieved by the continuous application of strategies to minimum the generation of wastes and emissions".To put this definition to practical use organisations have developed various methodologies to suit their requirements. But the underlying principle on which all the WM methodologies are based on the famous DEMING cycle of Plan-Do-Check-Act.

This approach was found suitable for individual industries who have information, knowledge resources and can initiate actions on their own. However, the results of these approaches were confined to that specific industry. In cases where, Government Agencies tried to demonstrate the benefits of WM by publicising the efforts of industry and other organisations the efforts could not catalyse the similar industry to adopt WM. To create a multiplier effect and promote WM across the entire industrial spectrum a need was felt to develop appropriate supportive mechanisms. In this regard Ministry of Environment and Forests, New Delhi to help Small and Medium Industrial Clusters adopt WM in their industries initiated the project titled "Waste Minimisation in Small Scale Industries" using the concept of "Waste Minimisation Circles". This project is being implemented with the assistance of National Productivity Council (NPC), New Delhi.

The concept combines the methodology of WM and concept of Quality Circles. The team concept of Quality Circles was extended from the team being a group of people from various departments of Industry to a group of entrepreneurs wherein they will discuss about the areas available for WM. However, realising the practical difficulties involved in applying this concept on their own Facilitators (Consultants, institutions from various techno-managerial disciplines) were appointed who will facilitate the meetings and guide them till such time the concept is ingrained into their working culture and adopt it in their work place.

The facilitators were selected and necessary training was provided by NPC to undertake the task of facilitating the WMC meetings.

After the project was conceptualised it was pilot tested in fifteen Industrial sectors to understand the barriers that could arise in the
So far we have established 91 circles involving 400 SME's covering 30 industrial sectors in different cities/towns in various parts of India. Of the 91 circles about 50 circles are in completion stage and 50 are progressing. The 50 circles which are nearing completion together have identified 300 WM options of which 130 options (40%) were implemented and remaining are in various stages of implementation. So far in these circle units have invested around Rs75 lakh and achieved savings of around Rs 1crore per annum. This excludes the benefit to environment and cost of treatment which if included will increase the benefits by another 10-15%.
People interested in knowing more about this concept and project can contact key personalities involved in visualising and implementing this project by clicking on their pictures given below.

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