T is for Trash To Cash

Madhmita Puri’s favourite words are reputed to be ‘I have an idea’. She translated these into action when founding Trash to Cash. The video above is from a talk she gave at a session for the Unreasonable Institute.

Below are excerpts from several websites that focus on the work of the organisation. You can discover more via the following links.



Trash for Cash logo

What Does Trash To Cash Do?

In India, 99% of adults with disabilities are unemployed.

Trash to Cash trains adults with a variety of disabilities in India to collect trash and turn it into beautiful products that can be sold in India and elsewhere.

Since 2008, we have generated $220,000 and employed 87 women with disabilities who would otherwise be without employment.

Our strategy uses waste material as raw material to reduce operational costs and increase profits. Traditional crafts persons (who were struggling to earn) are our trainers.

Since the products are creative and different, they are frequently reported by the media, which helps reach out to a vast and diverse population. We also provide eco-friendly kits for conferences and seminars.

Thus, in 4 years we have established a venture that maximizes profits, employs 87 people (including women) considered to be unemployable, with raw materials that pollute our waters and lands, to showcase that employment is possible!

Encouraging the replication of this model in other parts of India will provide income to many more.


Here is more information from the following websites.



Why We Started This Company

The World Bank states that even after more than fifteen years of economic reforms in India, the employment gap for persons with disability is increasing since they often lack access to education and training.

About 99% are jobless and 99.5% do not go to school.

We train people with disability in traditional Indian crafts and upcycle waste (reduces raw material costs) into quality products.

This enterprise specifically addresses the inclusion of persons with intellectual disability in work.

What Sets Us Apart

Most organizations working in the disability sector avoid livelihood ventures due to the challenges of the business aspect.

Our aim is to spread our innovative products and approaches to reach our mission of “Jobs for Many” through our own production center and by training (and partnering) other organizations.

For example, every year we collect about 1000000 kg of waste flowers from temples and convert them into colored powders for “Holi” a very popular Indian festival.


Our Keys To Success

Our work is two-pronged:

Firstly, to upscale our already self-sustaining model for the employment of adults with disability (especially those who have had little education) to provide jobs to reach at least 1000 persons in the next 5 years.

Secondly, to showcase this to encourage parents to send their children with disability to school. This is long-term.

Our business for employment generation is to create products out of waste using traditional (and low-cost) handicraft techniques.

Our Accomplishments

Last year we generated an income of $90000, have provided employment to 84 persons with intellectual, hearing, visual and orthopedic disabilities and have recycled many tons of waste.

The Delhi government’s Department of Environment has been a strong supporter of our training programs and is also one of our biggest buyers.

Other buyers include the World Bank, UN agencies in India, Bharti-Walmart, FICCI, CII, as also school and college students.

Count Me In

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