How apartments handle waste

By TheHindu on 13 Apr 2017 | read

08 Apr 2017

A case study by NGO Atree of on-site solid waste management by bulk generators in Bengaluru has highlighted issues that need to be addressed by the BBMP. The team selected four residential complexes for the purpose located in ward no. 45, 150, 151, and 153. They had 68, 504, 820 and 92 apartments respectively. The study was carried out by a team comprising Megha Shenoy, Shwetamala Kashyap, Poornima Wasdani and Abhishek Vijaygopal and focused on design and method of on-site waste management by the residents.

In the first case (68-unit complex), the occupants had organised segregation with tank composting. In the second case (504 units), the method adopted was segregation with mechanised organic waste converter (OWC) and rack composting (where the wet waste was put into trays and left on the rack to turn into manure). The residents in the third case (820 units) segregated waste and handed it over to empanelled vendors. In the fourth case (92 units), the association did not segregate the waste and handed it over to a contractor not authorised by the BBMP.

In the first three cases, 90 to 95% of the waste was segregated with first two complexes reporting 75% of the wet-waste turning into compost. In the third case, 97% of the wet-waste was taken to a biogas plant. The residents of the fourth complex did not segregate the waste.

However, in all the cases the sanitary waste was not given to incinerators as is mandated and its end destination was not known. This included the dry waste rejects which vendors refused to take as they had no economic value.

Comparable averages

Each household was found to be generating 437 kg. of waste in a year on an average. The BBMP data says the household waste constitutes 75% wet-waste, 20% dry waste and 5% sanitary waste.

The data obtaining from the first three cases indicates that wet-waste constituted 67%, dry waste 19% and sanitary waste 14%. Given the upper middle class status of the occupants of these complexes, this variation from the BBMP data is considered normal.

The study points out that volume of wet-waste goes up by 20% on the eve of festivals which OWC machines cannot crush. An average household generates around 50 kg of additional wet-waste this way annually. Similarly, dry waste comprises 35% of rejects which DWCCs refuse to accept and their ultimate destination is not known. So is the case of sanitary waste which is not being sent to incinerators. The BBMP SWM (solid waste management) policy is yet to address these issues.

Cost and revenue analysis reveals that while each household in the first case was earning a revenue of Rs. 85 a month by way of sale of compost, in the case of second and third complexes, they were spending Rs. 500 and Rs. 925 respectively on waste disposal. The expenditure in the case of the fourth complex worked out to Rs. 800 for each household as they were engaging an unauthorised BBMP contractor for waste disposal.


The study recommends that the BBMP must formulate clear instructions for disposal of the rejects from the waste, setting up incinerators for sanitary waste, and examine the rejects from the waste and invoke the Extended Producers Responsibility (EPR) provisions for either their collection from the civic domain or their phasing out from production.

Finally, the study recommends that the SWM cess on property tax should be waived in case of property owner showing full legal compliance.