Waste Not, Want Not

Eva Helene Foust Yazhari

New York Galavante Local EH_2

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, this week we’re highlighting the many ways that Galavanters can give back to communities across the globe.

It’s easy to take basic necessities for granted amid our faced-paced lives and luxurious travels. But did you know that1 in 5 adults would not be able to read or write this article? Additionally, 12 percent of the world’s population does not have access to safe water. As astounding is 2.5 billion people – about 40 percent  – don’t have adequate sanitation.

The good news is that clean water, sanitation, and energy are increasingly becoming affordable, for many of these people who live each day on less than the cost of a McDonald’s Big Mac. And that’s because innovative companies are creating solutions to employ and empower the world’s poor. They’re doing it in a way that give people dignity and hope for a better life.

The Power of Recycling

As the saying goes, one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Or, in the case of the impressive Waste Capital Partners, one family’s trash is another family’s livelihood.  Waste Capital Partners employs waste-pickers who use both motorized vehicles and handcarts to collect waste door-to-door from households. Waste-pickers alert the neighborhood to their presence by ringing a bell as they approach. This has given them the colloquial name Ganta Ghadi, or Bell Car. Households and municipalities pay to have their waste collected. The trash is then sorted into scrap metal and organic waste and sold off or composted into fertilizer, which is bought by local farmers.

Waste Capital Partners’ business model is to profit from the lack of recycling companies in mid-tier cities in India. They then pay waste-pickers three times the salary they would earn if working for corrupt middlemen. WCP also has a zero-tolerance policy on child labor. If any of the company’s waste-pickers’ children are found to be working, WCP will assist to place the child in school. They then find appropriate support for the family’s financial needs.

WCP works with the municipal governments to ensure that the government is supportive of their presence. In India, governments are beginning to take a positive view of businesses that incorporate social services in their business models. Accordingly, several municipalities in India have provided WCP with land rights, water, and electricity. This is the result of the strong relationships WCP has been able to forge.

Giving Back

Businesses like WCP exist in many of the exotic destinations we travel to. We pass by them on the streets of Mumbai and amid the taxis of Brazil and rickshaws of Phnom Penh. But it’s not always easy to find ways to support these small, growing companies that share a financial and social mission.

That’s where Beyond Capital Fund, established by Eva Yazhari, one of Galavante’s Contributing Founders comes in. Beyond Capital Fund is a foundation that sources the most innovative social enterprises. They focus on the healthcare, clean water, energy, and sanitation sectors – to serve people earning less than $4 per day. Beyond Capital Fund provides a way for individual donors to contribute investment funds to these companies. Beyond Capital Fund is proud to be an supporter in WCP. To find out more about Beyond Capital Fund’s other investments and how to support enterprises like Waste Capital Partners, please contact [email protected].

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