The Zero Waste Kovalam Project is an on-going program of Thanal Conservation Action and Information Network, a voluntary public interest research, action and advocacy group based in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.

The Zero Waste Kovalam Project aims to tackle the waste issue through the globally invigorating process of Zero Waste that is changing the way communities use materials and resources. Zero Waste is an ethical, economical, and efficient way of looking at material use and in the process eliminating the concept of waste and waste management.

Thus the zero waste approach shows how this far reaching environmental progress will be achieved by just impacting change at one single point: where and how we empty our bins.

Clean production, environmental friendly designs, and products eliminate creation of waste. At the end of the pipe, so to say, zero waste lines up facilities like resource recovery, composting, and waste to wealth ideas to tackle the waste generated.


Landfills are those assigned places or holes in the ground where wastes are dumped. Low lying areas are usually selected for this purpose. In developed countries, landfills are holes in the ground lined with plastic sheets and concrete to prevent pollution of the environment due to the poisons that these wastes would release during decomposition.

Incineration and Open Burning:

Conventional waste disposal relies significantly on burning garbage, either in the open (common in India) or in machines. The machines are known as incinerators. Incinerators are wasteful because they burn resources that rightfully ought to be conserved for further use.

Centralised Composting:

In this method, mixed waste is allowed to sit for days or weeks before entering the compost process. During this time, poisons from the toxic components of the waste stream contaminate the biodegradable substances that will be composted to form soil conditioners. Hence plastics and other gross impurities, which are usually removed in other types of composting, are by this time too dirty to be viable raw materials for any recycler and end up in a landfill.


Recycling has some pitfalls. The most important of them is that not all materials can be recycled. Especially toxic substances should not be recycled because when you recycle a hazardous substance, you also recycle the hazard. Take for instance recycling of PVC. So many poisonous substances go into the production of PVC. These poisons are inevitably released during recycling.