Amiya Kumar Sahu, founder of the National Solid Waste Association of India, a not-for-profit organisation operating in the field of waste disposal conveys this message of garbage means money.

The Mint reports (reg. required) that five organizations are bidding to manage New Delhi’s 7000 tonnes of waste it generates every day. Why?

Entrepreneurs are hoping that they can convert some of that into gold. Five companies are bidding to process 1,000 tonnes of the waste. According to the financial details provided by one bidder, the company will earn a revenue of Rs 21 crore in the first year on an initial investment of Rs50 crore.

Waste HierarchyOne of the companies bidding for the Delhi project is Ramky Group, a Hyderabad-based company that has made its fortune by managing waste. It manages waste in seven cities, and plans to invest Rs400 crore in the business over the next few years, according to its managing director Ayodhya Rami Reddy. Ramky ended 2005-06 with Rs600 crore in revenue.

They have also been trying to understand how they can put their waste to productive use. The Delhi government, for instance, has asked IL&FS Ecosmart, a firm that offers environment management solutions, to study the feasibility of compost plants that will convert waste to fertlizer, and waste-to-energy projects.

“There is a sustainable business model in this (waste management),” says Mahesh Babu, the chief executive officer of IL&FS.

The Waste Management business inevitably will be a good business to be in. However, in the short term it will be hard to make money till systems are developed and more municipalities in India come forward to work with private companies.

As the Waste Hierarchy images above (courtesy of Zero Waste SA) shows there is a opportunity for waste management companies in the lower part of the hierarchy and in the area of waste transformation.

In the medium to long term this business provides a good opportunity to help the environment and make profits.

Crossposted on World is Green