Alter Waste into Resources (AWARE)

Alter Waste into REsources (AWARE) project aims to develop an innovative and sustainable waste management system which focuses on transforming waste into valuable resources that can be used to tackle local challenges. The first application of the project is in rural areas of Sunderbans, India.

Waste Management  Circular Economy • Environment  Sustainability  Socio-Technical Innovations  India • Block

There is currently no state providence for waste handling in rural Sunderbans, India, and with the accumulation of waste and introduction of new types of materials an increasing need to establish a sustainable waste management system has been identified. The current lack of a waste management system affects the local population and the environment.

AWARE, (formerly known as WAste Sustainable Handling – WASH) aims to establish innovative and sustainable waste management systems were all waste is considered as a resource in rural areas. AWARE targets to support and strengthen existing local waste management systems by ensuring the inclusion of all types of waste in the system and by transforming the waste into valuable resources used to target other local challenges identified.

AWARE will be the platform project under which a number of specific initiatives will be developed and implemented, targeting different type of waste, technical solutions, local challenges, and rural areas.

The first initiative that will be developed and implemented will target the increasing amount of soft plastic waste, developing local technical solutions to transform it into a valuable resource that can be used to strengthen the weather resistance of the rural mud houses.

AWARE Initiative 1: Transforming soft plastic waste into a valuable resource that can be used to strengthen the weather resistance of the rural mud houses.

Plastic waste generation is increasing in Joygopalpur, West Bengal, India and its proper handling is vital for the community. Due to the complexity of its recycling, there is no market for plastic waste and thus little motivation for its collection. Since no waste management system currently exists in Joygopalpur, waste without economic value is either burned or simply thrown away in the nature. Such disposal of plastic waste is harmful for the environment and human health.

This film shortly presents the challenges according to the waste in the village (in Danish/English): 

Giving value to plastic waste is an option to eliminate plastic ending up in the environment. A variety of products can be made using plastic waste and through field research a number of local challenges was identified that could be addressed by upcycling the plastic waste. Through a number of participatory workshops and activities, the local communities was part of developing the final idea of upcycling soft plastic waste to produce building blocks that could be used to address the continues deterioration of their mud houses due to the yearly heavy rain falls in the rural areas of Sunderbans.

This innovative concept won the 1st price in the International competition Green Challenge at the Technical University of Denmark. Film in Danish.


The concept: Plastic waste collected from the local households will be melted using a locally manufactured parabolic sun heater and then shaped into building blocks using a locally manufactured mold. The block can be used as frame and fundament for the rural houses, which will be covered with clay to maintain the current aesthetics. The block structure will resist the monsoon season and locals will no longer need to continuously re-build their houses or fear to become homeless in time of heave rains.

The novelty of this initiative is the approach used to analyse and solve the problem: While the analysis used a holistic perspective, the problem was solved using a micro perspective. This is a pilot project in Joygopalpur which could be expanded to the rest of the rural India and similar areas in the world.

A prototype of a building block has been made from recycled plastic in a stove and its properties are currently being tested at the Technical University of Denmark with very promising results. Film in Danish.

InnoAid is currently planning the further prototyping and production of the “building blocks” under local conditions as well as establishing the collection system for plastic waste together with the local partner organisation.

Project period: 2010 > ongoing

Status: Development and implementation of the first initiative

Target group:  Rural households and institutions such as schools and markets, local government administrators in the rural areas, local entrepreneurs within waste management and product development and lastly local NGOs working in the target area.

Target area & country:  Rural areas in developing countries. Focus for the first initiative will target villages in the rural areas of Sunderbans, India as per the selection made in consultation with the local partner organisation(s).


For more information about the project, please contact the

The project team:

Project Mangement team:

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