Waste-to-Energy (WtE), the process of creating energy from waste, has gained broad appeal domestically and internationally with programs such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) providing funding for many WtE projects across the world.

Indian policies and rules, while not perfect, have some important safeguards and recognition for informal sector recyclers, particularly wastepickers. However, municipalities, urban policy makers, and private companies ignore them while conducting business in solid waste management. In so doing, they bypass the environment and the poor.

A social impact assessment of the impact of two waste-to-energy plants on wastepickers in Delhi. The study shows a definite livelihood loss and likelihood of increased number of child wastepickers.

This study by Chintan examines role of the informal recycling sector in climate change mitigation in developing countries, with focus on India. Shows that informal sector in Delhi reduces emissions by an estimated 962,133 TCO2e which is 3.6 times more effective in reducing emissions than formal waste management units.

When the economic downturn nosedived in the second half of 2008, the talk was primarily about macro-economic trends, causes and impacts in the formal economy. In India, where over 90% of the livelihoods