Zero Waste

In Bhutan as elsewhere, waste poses an escalating threat to the environment and human wellbeing in urban, rural, and even remote areas.

 In order to foster ecologically friendly development in Samdrup Jongkhar, SJI is actively promoting zero waste strategies that are significantly reducing waste, building awareness and empowering communities. These include:

Atsara (traditional clown, master of ceremonies) explains waste segregation at village festival

  • Establishing model zero waste communities in Wooling and Orong villages, Dewathang and Samdrup Jongkhar towns, Chokyi Gyatso Institute, Samdrup Jonkghar Dratshang;
  • Forming a successful zero waste craft group in Dewathang; 
  • Banning plastic bag use in Dewathang shops – Dewathang bazaar alone now avoids using over 600 kgs of plastic bags every month;
  • Successfully reduced waste generation by nearly 50% in Dewathang to date;
  • Building and installing Material Recovery Facilities and waste segregation stations in Wooling and Dewathang;
  • Developing zero waste manuals, tutorials and videos that have been used locally, nationally and even internationally;
  • Building community awareness through attractive signage, presentations, and discussions to reduce, reuse, and recycle waste;
  • Training seven local zero waste trainers;
  • Creating a Community Waste Fund in Orong Gewog;
  • Building community capacity, responsibility, and ownership through zero waste committees;
  • Cleaning up dump sites to prevent leachate reaching water sources;
  • Reducing waste at tsechus (festivals), religious ceremonies, and other events

    Before: Typical waste plastic wrapped ritual feast offering.

    After: Zero waste feast offering

In 2014, SJI was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Royal Government of Bhutan for its “innovative approach to waste management.”