In April, the residents of a housing society in Sion uncovered the first batch of manure they made from their kitchen and garden wastes. Since February, the residents of Kalpataru Harmony Housing Society have adopted the practice of converting their decomposable garbage into compost and keeping aside dry waste (plastic, glass and other recyclable items) and electronic waste (E-waste), leaving only 10% at their garbage at the gates to be picked up by municipal workers, who dump them at a landfill.
“It took a lot of effort to convince the society members for this noble cause. Believe it or not, our wet waste quantity on a daily basis has reduced by more than 70%,” said Parvathy Raghunath, a resident of the society who came up with this idea.
Since February, the society has been treating around 250 kg of wet waste every month and got their first batch of compost only last month. “Even if a small quantity of plastic is left with the wet waste, the quality of compost won’t be good. So we had to make sure we are doing the right thing,” said Aparna Naik, another resident.
The project has cost them Rs 1.5 lakh. RUR Greenlife Pvt Ltd, a solid waste management enterprise, help them set up the bins and understand the composting process. The residents now know the process backwards. “Maggots in the garbage start feasting on the wet waste. They are giant eaters but are just guests in the process. After having eaten to their content, they metamorphise into flies and go away. They are considered better and faster than micro-organisms,” said Aniket Ramane, a resident who has been actively involved in the process.
Other recyclable wastes, including plastic, paper, metal and e-waste, are stored in the society and handed over to a recycler every month. “With all that process behind us, when we got the first batch of ‘green gold’ (manure), we felt elated. We had taken a small step towards solving a gigantic problem we face, especially in Mumbai,” said Suryakant Pedamkar, manager of the society.
The children too are enthusiastic participants in the project. “What will happen to composting process in rains? Won’t it get affected?” asked a curious Aditi Shriram, 9, daughter to a resident of the building. She was told that moisture is needed for composting. If the mixture gets too soggy, the drainage would have to be improved. “Our mindset has changed to an extent that we are almost conditioned to segregate the wastes and we find it difficult to throw it as it is,” said Aparna.
The society also plans to install solar panels and rainwater harvesting system. “We are also in talks with the municipal office to convert our lane into a green lane,” said Pedamkar.