Community Level Waste Management

WASTE MANAGEMENT USING ROTARY DRUMS AND METAL COMPOSTING BINS IN NIRVANA COUNTRY, GURGAON

HIGHLIGHTS

Showcases successful implementation of :

  • In-House, Do-It-Yourself Waste Management Model in a Large Spread Out Residential Colony
  • 3 Way Segregation of Household Waste following the 2 Bin 1 Bag System
  • Semi-Mechanised, Community Composting Solution using Rotary Drums and Metal Composting Bins

Watch this short film to see how the Nirvana Country residential community in Gurgaon has taken responsibility for the waste it generates.

INTRODUCTION

Nirvana Country is a large township in Gurgaon city in Haryana. It is spread over 135 acres with 900 homes and 16 community parks. This detailed case study discusses the following aspects: 

Waste Segregation System in Nirvana Country

  • 3-way segregation of household waste plus e-waste management
  • Pilot for waste segregation and learnings thereof
  • Challenges faced during the awareness campaign and learnings thereof

Community Level Composting System in Nirvana Country

  • Process of aerobic composting using rotary drums and metal bins
  • Standard operating procedures followed
  • Size and dimensions of the rotary drums and the metal composting bins

  • One time set-up cost & monthly maintenance cost for this Do-It-Yourself system

Impacts of Nirvana Country’s Waste Management Initiative

  • Huge quantum of waste kept away from the landfill

  • Nourishment of the soil by the rich compost created from the food and horticulture waste that the community was throwing away earlier

  • Better recovery of recyclables
  • Responsible recycling of toxic electronic waste
  • Cost reduction in horticulture spend

Nirvana Country Waste Champion’s Advise to other Communities

Awards and Recognition received for its Waste Management System

DETAILS ABOUT THE COMMUNITY

  • Number of households: 900
  • Flats or independent houses: Independent homes with private gardens
  • Location and address: Sector 50, Gurgaon – 122018, Haryana, India
  • Contact name and email id of waste champion in the community: Ms. Monika Khanna Gulati, ncrwastematters@gmail.com

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h47m45s305

HOW DID THE IDEA GROW?

Monika Khanna Gulati, Waste Champion from Nirvana Country says, “I think the motivations were many. We had so much waste that was being dumped and burnt outside Nirvana causing ill-health to the elderly and the children. A few residents left our township and city because their children and family members were suffering from severe bronchitis and other health issues as a result of rampant burning of waste. We realised that as a large community consisting of 900 families, we needed to take responsibility for managing the organic waste (food waste and horticulture waste) generated within our township.

Also, a few of us in the community who had starting composting our kitchen and garden waste at home felt strongly that we did not want to see our community waste this precious resource which makes such lovely compost to nourish our soil.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h55m17s510.png
Nirvana Country resident nourishing the plants using home made compost 

Our Resident Welfare Association (RWA) was very supportive and decided to fund the community level waste management initiative. The brief from the RWA was very clear. They wanted a waste management system for our community that would be simple to operate, economically viable and sustainable in the long run. They also needed a system which if required to be moved due to some unforeseen reasons, should be easy to relocate.”

WASTE SEGREGATION SYSTEM IN NIRVANA

Nirvana Country follows the popular 2 bin 1 bag system (http://www.2bin1bag.in) for 3-way segregation of household waste. In August 2016, all the residents were given 2 small bins for kitchen waste (green in colour) & reject waste (red in colour), 1 additional bigger size green bin for the garden waste and 1 reusable bag for the recyclable waste from the homes. The bins and bags were funded through CSR support organised by the Nirvana Country RWA President. From November 2016, segregated waste began to be collected from most homes in Nirvana Country.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h55m29s244

How the Segregation System Works in Nirvana Country?

Small green bin is used for the compostable kitchen waste – All the food waste from the kitchen (vegetable & fruit peels, egg shells, meat bones, tea leaves, coffee grounds, left-over cooked food items like rice, roti, bread, biscuits, vegetables) is put into the small green bin, ideally without a plastic bin liner. This food waste is used as a resource to make high quality compost.

Red bin is used for the reject waste – All the rejects such as household sweepings; chocolate and toffee wrappers; chips packets; sanitary waste in the form of baby and adult diapers and women’s menstrual pads; bio-medical waste in the form of bandages, soiled cotton; dog fur, bird droppings etc. go into the red bin. This waste which forms about 10-20% of the total waste generated cannot be recycled or composted and so has to be sent to the landfill.

Bigger green bin is for the garden waste like leaves and twigs generated from the home gardens of the residents.

Use of plastic liners in dustbins is strongly discouraged – Monika Khanna Gulati, Waste Champion from Nirvana Country says, “Regular messages are sent out to the residents through the community google group to remind them of the ill effects of using plastic bags to collect their segregated waste. Many residents have come on board and have completely discarded the environmentally unfriendly practice of lining dustbins with plastic bin liners. But many residents still find it difficult to let go of this habit. As eco-team members, we continuously make people aware about the hazards of plastic bin liners to our environment.”

Reusable bag is used for the recyclable waste – Everything that can be recycled such as paper & cardboard (newspapers, magazines, paper bills, pizza boxes, cardboard boxes, egg boxes etc), metal (aluminium cans, cheese tins etc), plastic (shampoo and liquid soap bottles, oil containers, milk pouches, all plastic jars and packets, take away food containers etc) and glass bottles are collected in a reusable bag by the residents and given to the waste pickers everyday or as and when they have a sizeable collection. This recyclable waste collected by the waste pickers is sold by them to add to their meagre income. Some residents choose to sell their recyclable waste to the kabadiwallas directly.

Residents are advised to wash and dry the recyclable items that contain liquid or solid food such as plastic milk pouches, cooking oil containers, cheese tins, take away food containers and then store in the recyclables bag so they do not smell or attract bugs. This also increases the recycling value of these waste items.

Electronic waste like old batteries, bulbs, wires, mobile phones, chargers, laptops, televisions, microwaves, geysers, air conditioners etc which contain toxic materials such as mercury, lead that are very harmful for human health and the health of the environment, are stored separately in each home. This toxic e-waste is given to an authorised, government approved e-waste recycler once every two to three months. Residents are informed about the e-waste collection drive over the community google group and through whatsapp messages.

ewaste collection.jpg
Nirvana resident happy to drop of his e-waste during one of the collection drives

Drop box for e-waste has been placed near the RWA office in case somebody wishes to drop their electronic waste especially bulbs between the collection drives. The drop box is also used by the Nirvana Country in-house staff to dispose of the spoilt bulbs and electrical parts.

Ewaste bin
Plastic Bottle Waste Crusher and E-Waste Bin kept outside RWA office

Plastic Bottle Crusher (Reverse Vending Machine) has been placed near the RWA office. It was placed free of cost by a NGO Earth Initiative. The crushed plastic waste is taken by the waste workers to Gem Recycling to be recycled. The waste workers sell this waste and earn some money out of it.

Pilot for Waste Segregation and Learnings Thereof

There are 5 residential blocks in Nirvana Country. A pilot for segregation was carried out in October 2016 over a period of one month from the waste collected from one of the blocks having 155 homes. After one month, segregation was announced pan Nirvana in November 2016 and then segregated waste was picked up from all the residential blocks.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h56m42s401.png
Waste pickers added extra bags to the existing carts to carry the segregated waste 

Monika Khanna Gulati, Waste Champion from Nirvana Country says,The initial one month of pilot testing helped us understand the challenges faced in waste collection, routing process and drop-off at the community composting site. It helped us to understand how the waste pickers would keep different streams of segregated waste in their cart and whether it would take longer for them to pick up the segregated waste from each home. Initially, the waste pickers spent a few extra seconds to load the segregated waste outside each home but over a period of a few weeks, they became more efficient and faster with the collection process. Though the design of the cart was not very conducive to carry segregated waste, the waste pickers rose to the occasion and did small ‘jugaads’ on their carts to ensure that they were able to carry the waste without mixing it up. Extra bags were added to the existing carts to carry the segregated kitchen waste and dry recyclable waste. The reject waste was loaded at the back of the cart.

For the garden waste kept in the big green bins outside every home, it was decided that it would be collected by a tractor trolley which went around the colony everyday to collect horticulture waste from the streets and the community parks. 

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h57m13s160.png
Tractor trolley is used to collect horticulture waste from the homes, streets and community parks

We are really glad that we did the pilot as it gave us insights to figure out the solutions to all the issues before we scaled up our operations. Time management, system management and control of processes came after studying each of the problems and working around them.

Awareness Campaign for Waste Segregation

Target Audience – Residents

No outside agency’s help was taken to run the awareness campaign for waste segregation. It was mostly carried out by the resident volunteers. Most of the eco-team volunteers were members of the Nirvana Green Hands Group – an eco-conscious residents group focussed on home composting and organic gardening.

  • A google group connecting the residents in Nirvana Country played a very important role in the awareness campaign. The eco-team volunteers had started the sensitisation process of the residents a year before by sharing examples of best waste management practices and the disadvantages of mixed waste going into the environment through whatsapp messages and emails. As a result, by the time the segregation drive was launched in November 2016, 70% of the residents were already quite aware of the need for waste management and segregation at source.
  • The RWA office also sent out notices to bring the residents on board.
  • For over two months, the housekeeping supervisor walked along with the waste pickers during the collection time to talk to each and every home about the 3-way segregation process.
  • Segregation messages were printed on invoices, Diwali tickets and other such things to serve as constant reminders.
  • The residents were free to connect on email or whatsapp or phone to understand the process if in doubt.

Target Audience – Horticulture and Housekeeping Staff

Orientations were held for the horticulture and housekeeping staff in order to sensitise them on the subject of waste segregation and to the problem of waste mismanagement in the city.  The estate manager, housekeeping supervisor, waste pickers and all the housekeeping staff were briefed continuously to ensure that they understood the processes correctly. They were encouraged to ask questions and clear any doubts during their briefing sessions.

staff orientation 1.JPG
Nirvana resident holding orientation session with the horticulture & housekeeping staff

Target Audience – Domestic Help

Segregation posters were put on and still flank the grills of the guard huts at the seven entry gates and the waste pick-up carts as a daily reminder to the house-helps. Domestic help orientations are held periodically to ensure 100% compliance of the 3-way segregation process.

banners on the gates.jpg
Segregation posters have been put on the grills of the guard huts at the entry gates

Challenges Faced in Implementation of Waste Segregation and How They Have Been Overcome

Challenge 1 – Complexity of Size and Spread of the Residential Complex

Nirvana Country is a large community spread over 135 acres. So, initially monitoring and control over processes and systems especially collection and transportation of segregated waste was a challenge.

Addressal of Challenge 1 – Whatsapp group with various stakeholders was created consisting of eco-team resident monitors, RWA members, administration staff and housekeeping supervisors. Daily reporting on weight of kitchen waste collected from each residential block was shared. Issues needing attention were shared and resolved on a daily basis.

Challenge 2 – Ensuring 100% Segregation  

Initially, many people failed to comply in giving out segregated waste. With no pressure from the RWA or the government, it was easy to get away with not having to  segregate.

Addressal of Challenge 2

  • A Residents’ ‘Segregation Inspirers’ Team consisting of 8 resident volunteers was made. This team went in pairs to meet the residents of the defaulting homes which failed to segregate and engage with them. Most often the results of this one on one engagement process were positive and the residents changed their behaviour and started giving out segregated waste. As Nirvana Country is divided into 5 residential blocks, the resident block champions spread the word and ensured participation from their blocks.
  • In the first few months of launching the segregation drive, regular monthly reports were shared on the google group which mentioned the levels of segregation achieved, amount of compost generated and amount of waste kept away from the landfill to give the residents a sense of pride in what the combined efforts of the community was achieving.
  • The google group was also used to mention the homes giving out segregated waste and thank them for the same. This worked well to inspire those who were not segregating to start participating in the community initiative.
  • Nirvana Country Residents Eco-Team after 2 plus years of implementation of the waste management initiative has been suggesting to the RWA to put a ‘No Segregation, No Collection Policy’ in place whereby if the residents do not segregate their waste, their waste would not be collected from their homes and they would have to drop it on their own at a designated place. This would help in achieving better results.

Challenge 3 – Continued Use of Plastic Bin Liners in Dustbins by Some Residents

Many people had an issue in ‘not using’ a plastic bag to line their bins for the kitchen waste and the reject waste. The challenge being to wash the bins on a daily basis.

Addressal of Challenge 3 

  • Impact of using bin liners was shared with the community. 900 homes using 2 bin liners meant that 1800 plastic bags were being sent out on a daily basis contributing to the plastic menace in the city. Sharing numbers and impact made a huge difference and a lot of people stopped the use of bin liners.
  • Residents were and are continuously encouraged to use a smaller container for keeping their food waste as a smaller vessel is easier to wash and rinse.
small kitchen waste box.jpg
Residents are asked to use a smaller vessel for keeping their food waste as it is easier to wash 

Challenge 4 – Understanding Rejects

Addressal of Challenge 4 – Monika Khanna Gulati, Waste Champion from Nirvana Country says, “Everybody could understand wet waste and dry waste, but we wanted to urge them into the third line of segregation – that of ‘rejects’ – to uphold the dignity of the waste pickers, so that they do not have to rummage through the diaper and sanitary waste to salvage the recyclables. Communication with a special focus on items constituting reject waste was shared and is continuously shared with the residents through the community goggle group for the benefit of tenants who keep moving in and out of Nirvana.”

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h55m34s860.png
Communication with focus on what constitutes reject waste is continuously shared with the residents 

Challenge 5 – New Residents Coming and Going

Since tenants keep coming and going, sharing of knowledge and waste segregation system with new residents was a challenge.

Addressal of Challenge 5 – The supervisor and waste pickers have been empowered to ensure that new residents are informed about the three-way segregation practice. The waste picker carts also display the segregation leaflet on them prominently. All the entry gates in the township have the segregation leaflet displayed very prominently. There are large banners on each gate which talk about the waste segregation process and that Nirvana has no tolerance towards plastic bags.

Challenge 6 – Waste Picker Motivation

The waste pickers collecting segregated waste and the karamcharis / housekeeping boys working on the compost plant directly are very important links in the smooth operation of waste management. A high rate of attrition was noticed in this rank.

Addressal of Challenge 6 – To keep them motivated, a system of awarding the best waste picker / housekeeping staff for the month was introduced. This practice has helped in making them feel appreciated for the work they are doing. They have started taking pride in their work which has really helped in boosting morale. Usually a senior citizen or a prominent member of the community is invited to address them. Their names and photos are shared on the google group to give them an identity beyond that of a ‘waste picker’ or ‘karamchari’.

workers felicitation.jpg
Nirvana Country follows a system of awarding the best waste picker / karamchari for the month 

Learnings from the Awareness Campaign for Segregation

 In the words of Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika Khanna Gulati:

 What worked?

  • A unified system of communication like the google group and whatsapp group. It made dissemination of information and best practices really easy.
  • Thanking specific homes by mentioning the house numbers on the google group for giving segregated waste also helped in providing motivation and inspiration to others to participate.
  • Information dissemination on the gates with the help of banners also helped to spread awareness.
  • Getting resident eco-team champions from each block to talk to their neighbours worked very well too.
  • Formation of the Residents’ ‘Segregation Inspirers’ Team consisting of resident volunteers who went in pairs to meet the residents of the defaulting homes which failed to segregate helped to get these residents on board.

Collection Process of Segregated Waste from Homes

In the first two years of operation, the community did not have extra funds to buy new carts to keep segregated waste. The waste pickers however were extremely ‘jugadoo’ and streamlined their carts in a way to accommodate different streams of segregated waste. The management has now invested in new carts which have different bins for rejects, kitchen and recyclable waste.

IMG_20170623_091359.jpg
Jugaad done on earlier carts to accommodate different streams of segregated waste
new collection cart.jpg
New carts have separate bins for kitchen waste, recyclable waste & reject waste

COMMUNITY LEVEL COMPOSTING IN NIRVANA 

Along with segregation, full scale composting operation for the entire community started in November 2016.

Semi-Mechanised Community Composting Solution Adopted Using Rotary Drums & Metal Bins

Nirvana Country is a large community of 900 homes with a huge amount of horticulture waste generated. After evaluating many semi-mechanised community composting options available for large communities throughout the country, the RWA with a core group of eco-team residents decided on a system using rotary drums and metal bins.

  • Nirvana Country RWA bought 5 rotary drums (each having a capacity of 2000 litres) and 12 metal composting bins to manage the kitchen waste from 900 homes along with the horticulture waste generated within the community.
  • The RWA also decided on using a food waste shredder and horticulture waste shredder to crush the large quantities of waste so as to fasten the composting process.
  • Rotary drums and the horticulture waste shredder were bought from a Pune based vendor, Myco-Compost.
  • The vendor got the 12 metal composting bins fabricated from Gurgaon.
  • The food waste shredder was given free of cost by the vendor.

Koustubh Yadre of Myco-Compost had many training sessions for the horticulture staff and the housekeeping staff. The housekeeping staff working on the compost plant along with the supervisor were trained by him for a period of 5-6 weeks. He continuously monitored the plant till the first round of compost was ready. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) were set along with the residents’ core eco-team and shared with the supervisor and housekeeping staff.

The housekeeping supervisor overlooks the entire waste management operation in the community on a daily basis. A total of 4 workers are required to  carry out the composting operation in Nirvana Country – two workers work on the community composting site and another two help with the handling of the horticulture waste which happens at a different site.

vlcsnap-2018-07-31-13h37m34s656
Community level waste composting site at Nirvana Country 

Rationale for Choosing the Community Composting Solution

Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika Khanna Gulati says – Our RWA wanted a composting solution which was affordable in its capital and recurring cost. Also, they wanted a system which was simple to operate and sustainable in the long run where our community would not be burdened with rising monthly payments to a vendor. This system of ‘drums and bins’ suited the community’s budget and space constraints and could be operated by the community’s own in-house staff. We also wanted a system which was as close to the natural process of composting so as to keep the carbon footprint and the cost minimal. As part of our research on sustainable community composting solutions for large communities, we came across Myco-Compost from Pune. Due diligence was done by a core team of residents who spoke to the vendor’s existing customers across the country. However, we did not get a chance to see any projects live as they had no clients who had bought from them in any of the cities in the National Capital Region.”

Process of Aerobic Composting using Rotary Drums & Metal Bins

Horticulture waste management

Nirvana Country is spread over 135 acres with 16 community parks and 900 homes each having a private garden, so the amount of horticulture waste generated is huge. Garden waste kept in the big green bins outside individual homes; leaves, flowers and twigs fallen from the bushes and trees on the streets and in the public parks across Nirvana are collected daily by a tractor trolley and taken to the horticulture waste management site where the dry leaves are first sorted from the branches. The leaves are left to dry and used when they turn brown. A huge quantum of the dry leaves are used in the community composting process along with the food waste from the homes. Then the leaves are shredded in the horticulture waste shredder, stored in large recycled sintex drums and transported to the waste composting site for regular use. 

Leaves which are not used in the community composting process are left to compost in an empty area of the community, creating nutrient rich leaf mulch. Deep trenches are dug and all the horticulture waste is just buried. Over a period of a year, it gets composted on its own making the soil there extremely fertile. By composting all the horticulture waste, the community has ensured that it is not dumped outside and burnt somewhere adding to the air pollution problem in the city. The bare branches are left for the workers across Nirvana to collect and use for firewood in their homes.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h58m00s310.png
Horticulture waste shredding site in Nirvana Country
vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h58m11s882.png
Shredded dry leaves stored in large Sintex tanks

Process of secondary segregation and shredding of food waste 

Once the segregated kitchen waste from all the homes is brought to the composting site, a process of secondary segregation is carried out by the housekeeping staff to remove any foil, plastic or any other objects that might have been accidentally left in the food waste. Kitchen waste is then put through the food shredder to reduce the surface area of the food in order to fasten the composting process.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-18h59m20s221.png
Food waste shredder helps to reduce surface area of food to help in faster decomposition

First stage of composting takes place in the rotary drums

In the words of Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika Khanna Gulati, “The crushed food waste is put in the large rotary drums. Each rotary drum has a capacity of 2000 litres. On a daily basis, each rotary drum can take a maximum of 120 kg of kitchen and horticulture waste combined. Nirvana Country generates about 450 kg of kitchen waste everyday from its 900 homes. This is divided in all the 5 rotary drums. So roughly about 90 kg of kitchen waste is put into each rotary drum everyday. To balance the high nitrogen content in the food waste, carbon in the form of dried shredded leaves is added in equal or more proportion, according to volume. In the summer months, ratio of kitchen waste to horticulture waste is kept at 1:1 (in volume) – to every 1 bucket of kitchen waste, 1 bucket of horticulture waste is added in the rotary drum. However, in the winter months, this ratio of kitchen waste to horticulture waste is made as 1:2 (in volume) – for every one bucket of kitchen waste, 2 or more buckets of horticulture waste is added. This is done as the composting process slows down in the cold weather so more leachate is produced than in the summer. So in the winter, more leaves are added and that helps to resolve the issue. Irrespective of the season, it is important that once the waste is rotated in the drum, the mixture of food and horticulture waste looks dry and homogeneously mixed like ‘bhel puri’. The waste mix in the rotary drum should not be too watery or moist otherwise it could possibly create leachate and smell issues like in any other composter. If the waste mix seems too moist, then we just add more shredded leaves.”

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h00m13s951.png
Crushed food waste being put into the rotary drum
vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h00m53s836.png
To balance the high nitrogen content in the food waste, carbon in the form of dried shredded leaves is added in equal or more proportion, according to volume

I gm of bio enzyme powder is also added to each kg of the food and horticulture waste mix in the rotary drum to introduce more microbes and fasten the decomposition process.

Rotation feature in the rotary drums 

The drums are rotated once or twice everyday for about 5 minutes for the air to be circulated inside. Rotation is important in aerobic composting, as it prevents the waste pile inside the drums from compacting, becoming anaerobic and smelly. The rotation feature in the drums also helps in the movement of waste from one end to the other. However, occasionally the housekeeping boys need to chip in to move the waste pile forward.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h01m26s515.png
Rotary drums are rotated once or twice daily for the air to be circulated inside

Second stage of composting takes place in the metal composting bins

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h03m58s997.png
After 5-10 days, semi-composted waste is taken out from the other end of the rotary drum
vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h04m08s452.png
Semi-composted waste from the rotary drums is put in the metal composting bins for 3 to 4 weeks
vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h04m15s359.png
Raking of the waste pile in the metal composting bins is done once or twice a week regularly
vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h04m26s536.png
Raking provides air circulation and allows heat to be spread uniformly across the waste pile
vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h04m32s535.png
Once the compost is cured, it is left for a few days to stabilise in the metal composting bins 

Loading capacity of the metal composting bins

Each bin takes close to 2.5 tonnes of waste when full. It takes about 5 to 6 days for one metal bin to fill up. In one month, approximately 6 metal composting bins are filled up week after week. In the second month, the semi-composted waste taken out from the rotary drums is put in the remaining 6 metal bins. At the end of the second month, the compost is ready in the first few metal bins that had been loaded in the beginning and is taken out. And the process of loading the first set of bins is started again.

Time taken for the total composting process in different seasons

It takes about 5-6 weeks in the warmer months for the compost to be completely ready before it is given to the residents and used in the community parks and green areas. In the winter months, the composting process gets a bit slower and so the compost takes longer to get ready – about 7 to 8 weeks.

Advantages – Composting using Rotary Drums & Metal Bins

In the words of Nirvana Country Waste Champion, Monika Khanna Gulati:

  • Each rotary drum has a capacity of 2000 litres which means that it can hold a large amount of waste. It would be very difficult if the housekeeping staff had to rake such a huge quantity of waste manually to air it. So, the rotation feature in the drums makes the aeration easy and the process time and labour efficient as one housekeeping boy just has to rotate each drum for 5 minutes twice in a day.
  • This is a very neat, clean and odour free process of community composting as the rotary drums prevent any smell from going out and the waste pile attracting any flies. This is a huge advantage for Nirvana as the composting site is located in the playground where all the children come and play and multiple sports happen there. So, nobody is disturbed by the waste solution being there.
  • Minimal leachate issues – There isn’t a lot of leachate that comes out from the rotary drums. Only when the semi-compost is taken out from the other end of the rotary drums and transferred to the metal composting bins, there is leachate that comes out for 1 or 2 days which gets dried up quickly. There tends to be more leachate in the months of December and January as they are the coldest months of the year in North India and the moisture takes some time to dry.
  • Community composting using rotary drums and metal composting bins gives huge flexibility if there is need to move the location from one place to another. Since nothing is fixed to the ground, the equipment can easily be moved if required.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h02m57s331.png

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Regular training of housekeeping staff is done to ensure that they:

  • Carry out a proper secondary segregation process to take out any plastic, foil, glass pieces put into the kitchen waste by mistake.
  • Understand the importance of putting shredded leaves in equal or more proportion along with the food waste according to volume to maintain the proper Carbon:Nitrogen (Green:Brown) ratio.
  • Add the bio enzyme powder in the required quantity everyday to the food waste so as to add microbes and fasten the decomposition process.
  • Understand the loading and unloading process in the rotary drums and metal composting bins properly.
  • Rotate the rotary drums everyday once or twice a day for 5 minutes to ensure that the waste pile gets aerated so there are no smell issues because of compacting.
  • Follow the SOPs in terms of maintaining proper system of aeration, moisture level, raking the waste pile in the metal composting bins to ensure that the heat spreads uniformly etc.

Regular surprise checks and audits are done by the eco-team resident volunteers. The team is open to feedback and observations from the larger community. All concerns are addressed and progress proactively monitored.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h02m46s816.png
Regular surprise checks are done by the eco-team resident volunteers to ensure that the housekeeping staff is following the standard operating procedures

Space Used for the Composting Operations

  • One rotary drum occupies roughly 5 feet by 10 feet of space for basic operation.
  • The total area where 5 rotary drums and 12 metal composting bins have been placed along with the area required for secondary segregation and food waste crushing is about 200 square yards. Nirvana Country has a lot of open space but if space was limited, the entire composting operation could easily be carried out in 120 square yards.
  • The total area where the dry leaves are stored, crushed and final compost is stored is about 240 square yards. In the case of Nirvana Country, space has not been an issue. The same operations can be done in much lesser space where space is limited.
vlcsnap-2018-07-31-13h36m36s238.png
Total area where 5 rotary drums and 12 metal composting bins have been placed along with the area required for secondary segregation and food waste crushing is about 200 square yards

Size and Material of the Rotary Drums

Dimension of each rotary drum: 1375 mm diameter, 1340 mm height, 5 mm thickness

Motor for vessel rotation: 5HP 3-Phase, Heavy duty geared motor

UV protected roto-moulded HDPE plastic vessel, with insulation foam material. Rested on rubber coated rollers with heavy duty fabricated frame.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h01m17s925.png

Dimensions of the Metal Composting Bins

Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika says, “The Pune based vendor Myco-Compost from whom we bought the rotary drums got 12 rectangular steel wire mesh bins of 10 feet long, 3 feet high and 3 feet wide (10 x 3 x 3 feet) fabricated for us from Gurgaon. Height of the bin was kept at 3 feet so that raking can be done easily. For handling large quantities of waste, bins with rectangular shape are better as they occupy less space as opposed to circular bins where there is loss of surface area on the sides. The powder coated MS fabricated bins are lined with shade net cloth” The cloth mesh allows aeration without exposing the pile too much to the natural elements and is cheap to replace if the rodents eat the same. But over time, we plan to move to metal wire mesh since there is an increasing rodent problem.”

vlcsnap-2018-11-24-14h59m25s18.png
Each metal composting bin is 10 feet long, 3 feet high and 3 feet wide (10 x 3 x 3 feet)

Total Capital Cost i.e. one-time set up cost – Rs 10,50,000

  • Cost of 5 rotary drums, horticulture waste shredder and 12 composting bins – Rs 8, 50,000/- inclusive of taxes and transportation cost (Pune to Gurgaon). Cost break up: In 2016, the cost of each rotary drum was about Rs 1 lakh. The metal composting bins costed approximately Rs 12000/- per bin and the horticulture waste shredder costed about Rs 80,000/-
  • Cost of infrastructure at main composting site – Rs 2,00,000/- (concrete flooring for secondary segregation and food waste shredding area, tin shed covering rotary drums and food waste shredder, electricity connection for food waste shredder)

Note – Additional cost of infrastructure at horticulture site (electricity connection for waste shredding and storage room) – Rs 2,00,000 /- In case of Nirvana Country, space is not an issue and so the horticulture site is at a separate place. Otherwise the horticulture operations can easily be carried out at the main composting site where the kitchen waste is being processed.

Low Monthly Running Cost for the Community Composting Operations 

  • No additional labour cost for managing the composting operations – As the community housekeeping boys are involved in running the composting operation, labour cost is already covered in their regular housekeeping payments.
  • Consumables (bio enzyme powder) – Rs 5000/- for 1000 kg of enzymes. I gm of enzyme is used per kg of waste.
  • Electricity cost  is minimal (for running the horticulture waste shredder and food waste crusher).

There is no annual maintenance cost for rotary drums, horticulture waste shredder etc. Oiling of the rotary drums is done in-house on a weekly basis.

Feedback on the Vendor

Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika Khanna Gulati says – “To take care of Nirvana Country community’s waste, initially the vendor recommended a 10,000-litre single drum. We went ahead and ordered in spite of this being the vendor’s first experiment with such a large size. Unfortunately, the single large drum did not work out as it cracked. The vendor said that they would replace the drum with smaller size ones. In the meanwhile, we kept composting our community’s waste using pits. After a few weeks, Myco-Compost gave us five 2000 litre drums at their own cost. Nirvana Country RWA had to incur no extra cost for this replacement. We have been using the five rotary drums since February 2017 and they are working well. The drums need to be be oiled regularly and gears checked for slipping. This is part of routine maintenance that is carried out at the composting site by the Nirvana Country in-house staff.

More details on the installation from the vendor’s side would have definitely helped but our in-house team of engineers pitched in to ensure that the new rotary drums were installed correctly. We continued to improvise and work on the system till it started giving us optimal results. We are happy that we brought in a community composting system in Gurgaon which had not been tried and tested in the National Capital Region before.”

Replication of this Community Composting Solution using Drums and Bins

This system can easily be adopted by any small (100-200 homes) or large community (maximum 2000 homes, provided they have the space to put the drums and the bins) or any organisation like a school or an institution wanting to process its food waste (cooked and uncooked) and horticulture waste. One rotary drum occupies roughly 5 feet by 10 feet of space. It can be used along with one or 2 metal composting bins in a small area for smaller communities (100-150 homes).

IMPACTS OF THE NIRVANA COUNTRY WASTE MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE 

Huge Quantum of Waste Kept Away from the Landfill

  • Nirvana Country collects about 450 kg of segregated kitchen waste everyday from 900 homes, so the segregation efforts of the community saves more than 1,60,000 kg of kitchen waste from going to the landfill every year.
  • An equal amount of recyclable waste is sent out yearly for recycling.
  • Over 1 tonne of electronic waste is collected and given annually to government approved recyclers to ensure responsible e-waste recycling.
  • The huge quantum of the horticulture waste generated is composted in-house ensuring that the leaves are not thrown outside and burnt adding to the pollution woes of Gurgaon city.

Creating Wealth Out of Waste

Nirvana Country generates about 30 tonnes of compost a year. Most of the compost is used in the 16 public parks all over the township. The residents are also given 12 kg of compost free every year to use in their home gardens. If residents have a requirement over and above this, they buy it from the RWA office.

vlcsnap-2019-02-28-19h04m47s607.png

The community got the in-house compost tested from the government recognised Indian Agricultural Research Institute (PUSA lab) in Delhi. The normal parameters that have been checked for the compost sample are as follows: Ph, EC, Carbon, Nitrogen, C:N ratio, Moisture, Phosphorus and Potash. The report says that compost sample is normal. All the parameters are within range or close to range.  The compost test report is as follows:

ICAR-PUSA-NIRVANA

Environmental Benefits of the High-Quality In-House Compost

Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika Khanna Gulati says – “In 2017 and 2018, the compost generated from the in-house composting process was used twice a year in all the 16 public parks and the common 24 metre road used as a thorough way in Nirvana Country. The high-quality compost has resulted in aerating and nourishing the deficient soil. Our soil has become more porous and we have noticed that it’s ability to retain moisture has increased. The plants look happier and green areas lusher as compared to earlier.”

Nirvana compost being used in  common greens.jpg

Cost Reduction in Horticulture Spend

The 16 public parks in Nirvana have been getting a generous dose of the compost round the year and the in-house compost has also reduced the cost burden on the horticulture team to purchase compost from outside. This has given them more flexibility as they are no longer dependent on budgets and approvals from the RWA.

Nirvana compost being used in  flower beds.jpg

Waste Workers Earn Better While More Waste Gets Recycled

The waste pickers get to sell the dry waste and keep the proceeds. It adds to their meagre earnings. More importantly, three-way segregation process ensures that there is better resource recovery of different streams of dry waste such as paper, plastic, metal and glass which go back into the recycling stream.

Collective Social Responsibility

Most residents of Nirvana Country have risen to the occasion and participate whole heartedly in giving their segregated waste. Nirvana Country Waste Champion Monika Khanna Gulati says – “By taking responsibility of the waste around us and minimising it at source by ensuring that most of it gets composted and recycled, is a wonderful way for a community to show its commitment to the city and its environment. We have also been able to nourish the land which is public land outside Nirvana and turned it into green spots. The compost stops dust from flying around and this results in mitigation of air pollution due to dust. Compost helps to bind the soil, retain water and nourishes the plants. Over time, soil needs less water. This is helpful considering that Gurgaon’s water table is going down by 5 feet every year and we are sitting on the brink of acute water shortage in our city in the future. ”

Doing regular plantation drives inside the complex where the children and adults plant saplings using the compost made in-house has helped to increase awareness and a sense of pride amongst the community members for using their waste to create wealth in the form of compost.  

children putting compost before

Reduction in Black Spots around Nirvana

Monika Khanna Gulati, Waste Champion Nirvana Country says – “Our community has inspired other communities in the vicinity to also manage their waste responsibly. Moreover, as our mixed waste is no longer dumped outside, the ambience around Nirvana is clean and dumping and burning of waste has been hugely minimised.”

ADVISE TO OTHER COMMUNITIES 

 In the words of Monika Khanna Gulati, Waste Champion Nirvana Country:

  • I personally feel no matter what community composting solution you adopt, there has to be a keeper of that solution – somebody who is the guardian ensuring that the solution is working properly and the SOPs are being followed (it could be one person or a team). The champions can be RWA members or resident volunteers who ensure that all the Solid Waste Management Guidelines of the Government of India are being followed and consistently aspire to better their system, ensuring more and more waste gets composted and recycled rather than being sent to the landfill.
  • Sometimes it is not an easy task. Staff changes, residents change. Some residents will not cooperate or the RWA may not support you. It is important to keep equanimity against all odds and build a group of like-minded people which looks for positive solutions for all problems.
  • ‘Celebrate Compost Days’ should be added to the calendar of activities for the community. It could be on Earth Day, World Environment Day or on Independence Day or any other day when people are invited to come and feel, touch and use the in-house compost in the common areas. A connection with the soil needs to be made especially in the hearts of the younger generation.
  • The waste workers need to be respected and acknowledged by all in the community as the essential link in the chain – making them feel proud and happy of the work they do. This could be done by honouring them on special occasions like Independence Day, Republic Day celebrations in the community.
  • Eco-consciousness should to be carried to all activities, get togethers and celebrations in the community with a complete ban on single use disposables.
  • Children should be encouraged to take part in all eco-conscious decisions and activities of the community with a special seat of vote resting with them. They are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.
  • Most importantly, respect for the waste champions should be maintained. They should not be pulled down and criticised for each and every action of theirs. The community should be encouraged to chip in with constructive criticism and active participation by the leaders in the RWA.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

The Nirvana Country community has received many awards and recognition by various stakeholders for it’s well managed decentralised waste management system. Dr. Shyamala Mani (Professor, National Institute of Urban Affairs who holds solid waste management exposure workshops for urban local bodies across India) visited the Nirvana Country waste composting site and gave the composting process a big thumbs up.

 

FURTHER INFORMATION

For queries and guidance on implementation of 3-way segregation process and the community composting solution using rotary drums and metal bins detailed in this case study, please contact: Ms. Monika Khanna Gulati, Nirvana Country.

Email: ncrwastematters@gmail.com

FEEDBACK

For any comments, feedback or clarifications on this case study, please write to the author – Neelam Ahluwalia at the email id mentioned below. 

Email: healingourcities1@gmail.com

 

You can also leave a comment below.

Citizen Campaigns

CITIZENS CAMPAIGN TO SAVE THE ARAVALLI FORESTS

Amidst the backdrop of the beautiful Aravalli forests on both sides of the Gurgaon- Faridabad road, last Sunday morning, 24 February 2019, the energy of the 300 plus young and old citizens who had congregated from different parts of the National Capital Region was highly infectious. People shouted slogans, marched for about 2 kms and formed a human chain. Slogans such as ‘Clean air and water is our fundamental right’, ‘Builder – Neta nexus – hai hai’, ‘Stop the PLPA amendment’, ‘No Aravalli, No Vote’, reverberated in the air.

The protest was against the proposal of the Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s Cabinet to amend the Punjab Land Preservation Act (PLPA) during the ongoing state assembly session in Chandigarh which will open up 33% of the forest land in the state for urbanisation and real estate development. At complete risk of destruction are 16,000 plus acres of Aravalli forests in Gurgaon district and 10,000 plus acres in Faridabad. The citizens could not understand why the government was hell bent on destroying the few remaining forests when Haryana already has a dubious distinction of being the state with the lowest forest cover in India, a mere 3.59%. Allowing rampant construction activity in the Aravallis which are critical for recharging our ground water will negatively impact water security in this region where the extraction is 300% more than the recharge.

Vijay Dhasmana, an ecologist working to create native forests in urban areas addressed the protestors and said, “The forests of the Aravallis are our shield against desertification and a biodiversity hotspot with 400 plus species of native trees, shrubs and herbs uniquely adapted to the dry conditions, 200 plus bird species and wildlife such as leopards, hyenas, jackals, neelgais, mongoose, civet cats as well as reptiles and insects. This government move signals a clear intent to deny the tag of ‘forest’ to the Aravallis to allow entry of real estate.”

IMG_0035

Many children and adult residents of the NCR face severe respiratory problems and other health issues due to the extremely poor air quality. Opening up the Aravalli forests, which act as the green lungs of this region for real estate development will further worsen the air pollution problem and put citizen’s health and quality of life at stake. Navya, a 16-year-old girl spoke about how she got severely affected by air pollution when she moved to Gurgaon. “The allergy level in my lungs shot up to 2000 when the maximum limit is 170. I had to take heavy medications. Is this how the government wants us to live – wearing masks, eating medicines and restricting our outdoor activities due to high levels of air pollution.”

Sunil Harsana from Mangar village, challenged the government’s definition of ‘development’ which leaves Gurgaon, Faridabad and the NCR region starving for water and fresh air. “Why do we have to exploit our natural resources to create wealth – why can’t we ensure forests and development go hand in hand?”

Pranit, a student from the Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurgaon, spoke about the student delegation which went along with 50 adult citizens from Delhi and Gurgaon to appeal to the Haryana Government Forest Minister, Rao Narbir Singh to stop this amendment to PLPA on Sunday, 17 February 2019. “During our meeting with the Minister, we talked about how we as citizens have the right to life as per the Indian Constitution, and without the Aravallis we would be denied both air and water which are fundamental for life. The Minister agreed to discuss the concerns of the citizens with the Chief Minister.”

Mansha, Kriti and Aakriti – the other members of the student delegation who had gone to meet the Forest Minister talked about how they have taken to social media – posting on Twitter and Instagram that the PLPA should not be amended and have been circulating the petition for the same on change.org encouraging family and friends to participate in the Aravali Bachao campaign. The young students were even ready to take leave from school and travel to Chandigarh to meet the Chief Minister if they could get an appointment with him. They strongly feel that their future is at stake and as ‘young voters to be’, they want to request the CM to save the Aravallis.

Chetan Agarwal, a forest analyst painted a chilling picture of the provisions of the proposed amendments to the PLPA and the implications thereof. He said, “The amendments proposed are so far reaching that they will effectively repeal the act making it totally redundant in Haryana.” “The act is 118 years ago and has served us well. What is the hurry to amend it in such a rush, without examination and review”, said Lt Col (Rtd) Sarvadaman Singh Oberoi, a Gurgaon resident working on Aravalli protection for the past many years.

Vinita Singh, a constitutional expert stressed that protection of forests and wildlife are firmly entrenched in the constitution of India as a commitment of the state to its citizens and that everyone present at the protest are rightly protesting the government’s attempt to subvert the same. The government should not be tabling a crucial bill that has not been shared with the public or the forest department for their views. She requested people to use twitter and other social media to spread awareness on this critical issue threatening the survival of Haryana’s few remaining forests.

Please refer to our website page  https://healingourcities.org/aravalibachao/ for more information on the Aravali Bachao citizen’s campaign – Online Petition, Implications of Amending the PLPA, Citizen’s Asks from the Haryana Government, Films in English and Hindi, Campaign Activities etc.

Use the following hashtags to be a part of the Aravalli Bachao twitter campaign.

#AravalliBachao
#SOSAravallis
#SaveIndianForests

You can also join our Aravalli Bachao facebook group 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2058103447642249/?ref=bookmarks

Post by Neelam Ahluwalia
On behalf of the citizen’s group ‘Friends of Aravallis’

Community Level Waste Management

WASTE MANAGEMENT NATURE’S WAY USING LOW COST METAL COMPOSTING BINS IN GARDEN ESTATE, GURGAON

HIGHLIGHTS

  • 3 Way Segregation of Household Waste following 2 Bin 1 Bag System
  • Completely Natural, Do-It-Yourself, Low Cost Community Composting Solution using Steel Wire Mesh Bins

Watch this short film to see how the Garden Estate community has taken responsibility for the waste it generates.

INTRODUCTION

Since February 2016, an efficient system of in-house waste management in Garden Estate has ensured cost savings financially along with many environmental benefits. This detailed case study discusses the following aspects:

Waste Segregation System in Garden Estate

  • 3-way segregation of household waste plus e-waste management
  • Reduction in plastic pollution due to most homes not using dustbin liners
  • Challenges faced during the awareness campaign and learnings thereof

Community Level Composting System in Garden Estate

  • Waste audit and learnings from the composting pilot
  • Process of natural composting using steel wire mesh bins & SOPs followed
  • Leaf composting process
  • Dimensions and loading capacity of the composting bins
  • One time set-up cost & monthly maintenance cost for this Do-It-Yourself system

Impacts of Garden Estate’s Waste Management Initiative

  • 80% reduction in the waste going to the landfill
  • Nourishment of the soil by the rich compost created from the food and garden waste that the community was throwing away earlier
  • Direct financial saving of Rs 50,000 every year that the community was spending earlier on buying compost from the market
  • Better recovery of recyclables
  • Responsible recycling of toxic electronic waste
  • Reduction in plastic pollution

Garden Estate Waste Champion’s Advise to other Communities

Replication of this Low-Cost, Natural Community Composting Solution 

  • Advantages of this solution
  • Do-It-Yourself vs Vendor-based Model
  • Number of bins, shape of bins and space requirement in 3 different scenarios based on the Garden Estate Do-It-Yourself Model (kitchen waste of 100 homes, 200 homes & 370 homes) and 2 different scenarios based on a similar Vendor-based Natural Community Composting Model (kitchen waste of 500 & 1000 homes)

DETAILS ABOUT THE GARDEN ESTATE COMMUNITY

  • Number of households: 373
  • Flats or independent houses: Both
  • Location and address: M G Road, Opposite Guru Drona Charya metro station, Gurgaon – 122002
  • Contact name and email id of waste champion in the community: Mr. Keshav Jaini, keshavcj@gmail.com

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h43m34s43

HOW DID THE IDEA GROW?

Keshav Jaini, Waste Champion from Garden Estate says,Our community had already implemented many eco-friendly initiatives over the years such as constructing rain water harvesting pits, sewage treatment plant, storm water drain recharge and rejuvenation of barren areas by planting native trees. What was disturbing us immensely was seeing the garbage mess all around the city.  By sending out plastic bags full of mixed waste every day from the 373 homes in our community, we realised that we were being part of the problem. Instead of blaming the government, we realised that we should do our bit by taking responsibility for managing the waste generated in our own complex.

The President of our Resident Welfare Association (RWA) was very supportive and gave the go ahead for a waste segregation and composting pilot. The brief from the RWA was very clear. They wanted a waste management system which was economical in its set up cost & monthly maintenance cost and which would be simple to operate, cost effective and sustainable in the long run where our community would not be burdened with rising monthly payments to composting vendors or rising electricity costs or expensive annual maintenance contracts. This brief ruled out any semi-mechanised and mechanised composting systems as such solutions are all expensive in their capex and opex.  As part of our research on sustainable low-cost community composting solutions, we came across a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) model implemented by Rainbow Drive residential complex in Bangalore (https://savitahiremath.com/category/community-composting). On one of my trips down South, I visited this condominium to understand the system better. The belief that ‘our waste is our responsibility’ guided the Rainbow Drive Waste Champion, Mr. K.P. Singh and his team of eco-residents to implement the 2 bin 1 bag system of 3 way waste segregation in their community of 250 plus homes and  compost their segregated kitchen waste. The compost is being used to grow a variety of fruits and vegetables in their complex. After seeing the set up at Rainbow Drive, I felt confident of replicating this DIY, low cost, completely natural solution of bin composting in my own complex. The idea was to follow a completely natural process of composting and let nature do the work without much interference on our part so as to keep our cost and the carbon footprint minimal.  

At a meeting called for discussing this idea, the positive response of the residents was overwhelming. People agreed to contribute 1000 rupees per household to set up a community level composting system. Around 20 folks – young and old volunteered to get the waste management initiative off the ground. Finally, the RWA decided to fund this initiative eliminating the need to take any financial contribution from the residents.”

WASTE SEGREGATION SYSTEM IN GARDEN ESTATE

3-Way Segregation of Household Waste plus E-Waste Management

Garden Estate has used the popular 2 bin, 1 bag system for 3-way segregation of household waste (www.2bin1bag.in). In January 2016, the RWA bought two-colour coded bins (red and green bins) and the white bag for the recyclables for each of the 373 homes from a local supplier at a total cost of Rs 80,000. The bins have lids on them so there are no issues of smell or insects or flies when they are kept inside the homes or outside the homes for collection of waste.

How the 2 Bin and 1 Bag Segregation System Works?

Link to downloadable posters

Final Infographic-2.jpg

Green bin is used for kitchen waste – All the food waste from the kitchen (vegetable and fruit peels, egg shells, meat bones, tea leaves, coffee grounds, left-over cooked food items like rice, roti, bread, biscuits, vegetables) is put into the green bin. This food waste is used as a resource to make high quality compost.

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h40m10s212

Red bin is used for reject waste – All the rejects such as household sweepings; chocolate and toffee wrappers; chips packets; sanitary waste in the form of baby and adult diapers and women’s menstrual pads; bio-medical waste in the form of bandages, soiled cotton; dog fur, bird droppings etc. go into the red bin. This waste which forms about 10% of the total waste generated is what is sent to the landfill.

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h41m21s233
Girl throwing wrapper after eating chocolate in the red bin

White reusable bag is used for recyclable waste – Everything that can be recycled such as paper and cardboard (newspapers, magazines, paper bills, pizza boxes, cardboard boxes, egg boxes etc), metal (aluminium cans, foil, cheese tins etc), plastic (shampoo and liquid soap bottles, oil containers, milk pouches, all plastic jars and packets, take away food containers etc) and glass bottles go into the white reusable bag.

It is very important to wash and dry the recyclable items that contain liquid or solid food such as plastic milk pouches, cooking oil containers, cheese tins, take away food containers and then store in the recyclables bag so they do not smell or attract bugs. This also increases the recycling value of these waste items.

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h32m56s55

Electronic waste – E waste items in the form of old batteries, bulbs, wires, mobile phones, chargers, laptops, televisions, microwaves, geysers, air conditioners etc which contain toxic materials such as mercury, lead that are very harmful for human health and the health of the environment; are stored separately. This e-waste is given to an authorised government approved e-waste recycler who comes into the complex once every 2 months.

E-waste

Elimination of Plastic Liners in the Dustbins

Jyoti Punj, a lady resident of Garden Estate says, “With the awareness created amongst the residents regarding waste dumping and the toxic impacts of plastic bags on our land, water and air; most homes in Garden Estate have stopped using plastic bin liners. It barely takes a minute to rinse the bins, dry them in the sun and reuse them.”

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h40m59s28

If all the homes had continued using plastic bin liners, that would be 373 homes using 2 bin liners for their 2 bins per day. That would have resulted in a lot of plastic pollution. By consciously refusing to use plastic bin liners, the Garden Estate community  prevents more than 2,00,000 plastic bin liners going into the landfill every year.

Final infographic-3.jpg

Awareness Campaign for Waste Segregation

Awareness campaign with residents was carried out over a period of 6 months using segregation posters put up in strategic places in the complex, word of mouth and showing films and presentations on 3-way segregation. Posters, presentations and films were downloaded from the website www.2bin1bag.in. A few home visits were also done primarily to the homes of the very elderly residents by a core group of resident volunteers.

Training sessions with the household helpers were done to train the helpers in how to keep the waste separately in the homes, to wash and dry the recyclables before storing them and not to use any plastic bin liners in the dustbins.

Workshops were also conducted with the Garden Estate housekeeping staff and the waste workers to train them in the process of 3-way collection of segregated waste from all the households.

No outside agency’s help was taken to run this awareness campaign. The resident eco-volunteers carried out the awareness campaign.

Challenges Faced in Implementation of Waste Segregation

Keshav Jaini, Waste Champion from Garden Estate says, “The main challenge was in getting the residents to change their attitude towards their own waste i.e. my waste is not my problem but that of the waste worker or the RWA or the municipality.  I have already paid the society charges for maintenance so why should I get involved in segregating my own waste.”

Not all the residents came on board initially. Keshav Jaini and the team of eco-volunteers went ahead with the implementation process once they had 60% of the residents on board. They were confident that the rest would follow eventually.

Keshav says, “We had to be very patient. Every time people called with problems and issues, we would ask them to help out so they could help us figure out the solutions. Another challenge we faced was to keep the volunteers motivated. Initially, 20 people had volunteered to help out with the segregation drive but then people lost their enthusiasm. In the end, we were left with only a handful of volunteers. But now when I look back I feel that all we need are a few passionate, committed residents to get this off the ground.”

Learnings from the Pilot and Awareness Campaign for Segregation 

In the words of Garden Estate Waste Champion Keshav Jaini:

  • It is not a one-time process. The awareness programme has to be continuous and ongoing as residents keep moving and household helpers and housekeeping staff also keep changing. Providing a standard note on 3-way segregation of waste for new residents moving in to the complex is helpful.
  • Doing a pilot project with 20 homes in 2 towers helped us to understand the kind of issues and problems coming up with segregation, the process of collection of segregated waste and how to resolve these issues. For example, Garden Estate complex has independent houses as well as apartments. Each building has 5 floors. There is no separate service lift so when we did the pilot study in two towers, we figured that it is best if the waste picker carries one bin for the food waste and 2 bags (one for the rejects and the other for the recyclables) using the stairs to each of the 5 floors in the buildings to collect the segregated waste from each home.

What worked?

  • Refusing to pick waste from homes unless it is properly segregated.
  • Single minded push by one resident with support from a small core group, the RWA President, horticulture and housekeeping staff.

What did not work?

The suggestion of Challans / Fines for not giving out segregated waste did not go down well with the residents. This line of thought was not pursued as it was leading to resentment amongst the residents.

Collection Process of Segregated Waste from Homes

The waste collected in 3 ways from each household by the waste pickers is brought down and emptied into a big drum kept for the kitchen waste and 2 different bags kept for the recyclables and the reject waste in the waste picker’s cart. None of the waste picker’s collection bins are lined with plastic bags. This cart is taken to the site allocated for waste management in the complex. At the waste management site, the kitchen waste is taken to the composting area and the recyclables are sorted separately.

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h42m25s123

Sale of Recyclables by Waste Workers

All the recyclables are sorted and taken by the waste workers free of cost to sell to the recyclers in the market. Waste Champion Keshav Jaini from Garden Estate says, The RWA or Garden Estate residents do not profit from the sale of these recyclables. We are very happy for the waste workers to have this additional source of income.

COMMUNITY LEVEL COMPOSTING IN GARDEN ESTATE

Full scale composting operation for the entire community started in February 2016. But before that, a waste audit and a pilot for segregation and composting was done.

Waste Audit and Composting Pilot

Household waste – Waste audit was carried out internally by the resident eco-team volunteers and the housekeeping staff when the segregation and composting pilot was done from October to December 2015 to assess the quantity of kitchen waste, recyclable waste, reject waste and plastic waste generated from 20 homes in two towers. The kitchen waste generated from 20 homes was then extrapolated to estimate the kitchen waste that would be generated by all the 373 homes in the complex. This helped in deciding how many total composting bins would be required.

Horticulture waste – Garden Estate complex is spread over 23 acres of land and has lots of trees, plants, bushes and flowers. Bulk of the dry leaves are collected in the shedding season from March to May every year. Smaller quantities are collected from time to time during the rest of the year. The dry leaves are stored in gunny sacks kept in the composting area. The horticulture waste generated is approximately 20-30 trailer loads by volume annually.

  • 50 – 60% of the horticulture waste is used in the composting process along with the kitchen waste.
  • Leaf composting is done using the remaining dry leaves to make nutrient rich leaf mulch.
  • Branches from the trees are given to nearby villagers for their use free of cost.

Do-It-Yourself, Low Cost, Natural Community Composting Solution Adopted

Do-it-yourself, steel wire mesh bin system of aerobic, natural composting at Garden Estate

After studying many natural and semi-mechanised composting options and carrying out a pilot project, Garden Estate adopted the Do-It-Yourself, Steel Wire Mesh Bin System of Aerobic, Natural Composting. This in-house, low cost and completely natural system of community level composting is being used in Bangalore and other Indian cities as well. It is based on a simple to operate process with no use of machines, electricity or water making the carbon footprint of this composting solution extremely minimal. Occasionally, only a small shredder is used to manage the large volume of dry leaves in the shedding season and to speed up the composting process as dry leaves take longer to compost. This composting solution is based on the housekeeping staff managing the essential components of aerobic composting i.e. C:N ratio (Carbon:Nitrogen), Moisture and Air properly. The system requires proper monitoring by the housekeeping supervisor on a daily basis and the eco-team members on a weekly basis to ensure that the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) are being adhered to so there are no issues of smell, compacting etc and the compost generated is of high quality.

Learnings from the Composting Pilot

Along with the waste segregation pilot, a composting pilot was done from October to December 2015. Kitchen waste from two towers i.e. about 20 households was collected and put in one steel wire mesh bin layered with dry leaves everyday over a period of a few weeks.

Garden Estate Waste Champion Keshav Jaini says –The pilot helped us to figure out what can go wrong when we try to compost the waste of so many homes together and what are the solutions we need to look at. Many specific issues were studied and resolved such as the waste pile compacting and turning anaerobic, smell issues, time taken in the bins for the first stage of the composting process, how to aerate the waste pile in a labour efficient manner etc. For example, we realised that the height of the composting bin should not increase more than 3 feet as it helps to minimise the need to physically turn the pile for aeration. Also, we realised that by putting 2-3 pipes (with holes) in the composting bins at a slanting angle helps to aerate the waste pile well and reduces the need for the housekeeping staff to manually turn the waste pile for aeration. So essentially, the pilot study helped us to figure out how to solve issues at low cost, using less labour and other resources.”

Process of Natural Composting using Steel Wire Mesh Bins

Two housekeeping boys have been trained to carry out the operations at the composting site in 2 hours
2 housekeeping boys are trained to carry out the operations at the composting site in 2 hours

Two housekeeping boys have been trained to carry out the composting operation. On a daily basis, it takes them about 2 hours to do all the jobs at the composting site. When the segregated kitchen waste from the homes is brought to the composting site, the housekeeping boys first carry out a secondary process of segregation to ensure that any plastic or metal or glass put by mistake by the residents or the household helpers in the kitchen waste is removed. Items like coconut shells are removed as they take too long to compost. Meat bones are put in. After the secondary process of segregation is done, the housekeeping boys cut down the bigger and harder pieces of food waste like water melon peel, other fruit and vegetable peels using a knife.

Aerobic composting requires carbon, nitrogen, air and moisture. The nitrogen content is obtained from the food waste, primarily the fruit and vegetable peels. Food waste should be mostly fruit and vegetable peels and about 15 – 20% can be cooked food for this natural composting process to work efficiently. Dry leaves, saw dust and cocopeat are used to get the carbon content. Saw dust is mixed in the chopped food waste.

Saw dust being mixed with the chopped food waste to increase the carbon content
Saw dust is mixed with the chopped food waste to increase the carbon content

This mixture of food waste and saw dust is then put into the steel wire mesh composting bin and covered properly with dry leaves. This ensures that no flies or bugs are attracted to the bins and there are no issues of smell. Once the composting bin is full, the food waste and the horticulture waste is left in the bins for 5 weeks to compost naturally. 2 pipes have been put in each of the composting bins to allow for air to go in easily and aerate the pile. The waste is also turned once or twice every week using a rake to provide for better air circulation. Every bin has been given a jute cloth lining to cover the sides so that the waste does not fall out of the bin. It also helps to control the extreme temperatures, moisture levels and pests from entering inside.

Waste is turned once or twice every week using a rake to provide for better air circulation.
Waste is turned once or twice every week using a rake to provide for better air circulation

To absorb the leachate that drains out during the composting process, sand or cocopeat is placed on top of the cement structures built under the bins. After 5 weeks, the compost which is about 70% done at this stage is taken out of the composting bin and taken to an open area where it is left to cure for another 5 weeks. In case any waste item like meat bones are not decomposed fully, they are just put back into the composting bin with the fresh waste. Total time taken for compost to be made using this natural aerobic system of bin composting is 10 weeks. About 5-6 kgs of the 70% done compost or the ready compost is put as an accelerator at the base of the composting bins to increase microbial activity at the time of restarting the process of loading the bins each time. Additionally, about 1 kg of the compost can also be put 2-3 times during the loading cycle.

Open shaded area used for curing the compost
Open shaded area used for curing the compost

Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs)

Regular training of housekeeping staff is done to ensure that they:

  • Carry out a proper secondary segregation process to take out any plastic, foil, glass pieces put into the kitchen waste by mistake.
  • Cover the food waste with leaves properly so there are no flies and smell issues.
  • Understand that the dry leaves (source of carbon content) should be about 3 times in volume (or same quantity in weight) as compared to the kitchen waste (source of nitrogen content) to get a good Carbon:Nitrogen ratio.
  • Follow SOPs in terms of maintaining proper system of aeration, moisture levels, mixing saw dust (source of carbon content) in the chopped food waste, adding old compost to kick start the microbial activity at the time of loading fresh waste into the composting bins etc.

Housekeeping boys have been trained to cover the food waste properly with the leaves to ensure no smell or flies

Dimensions of the Steel Wire Mesh Composting Bins

Garden Estate Waste Champion Keshav Jaini says, “We bought 4 rolls of steel wire mesh (1-inch square) and then our internal staff fabricated 12 circular steel wire mesh bins of 4 feet diameter and 3 feet height to manage 225 kg of kitchen waste daily coming from 373 homes in Garden Estate. We kept the height of the composting bins at 3 feet to minimise the need to physically turn the pile for aeration.

Loading Capacity of the Composting Bins

Each bin of size 4 feet diameter and 3 feet height takes about 110 kgs of kitchen waste daily and the same quantity in weight of the dry leaves i.e. about 110 kgs of dry leaves daily up to seven days. In Garden Estate as the total kitchen waste is about 225 kg daily, 2 bins are loaded simultaneously in the first cycle for a week till they are full. After five weeks when the compost is about 70% done, it is taken out of these bins for the curing process. Then the loading process of the fresh waste is restarted in these 2 bins. 

vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h35m06s10

Capital Cost i.e. one-time set up cost = Rs 1,85,000

  • Cost of composting bins 12 steel wire mesh composting bins were made in-house in January 2016 at a total cost of Rs 50,000. This cost includes the cost of rolls of steel wire mesh bought to make the bins, cost of the jute cloth bought to line the bins and the labour cost to put all the bins together.
  • Cost of making the tin composting shed and brick flooring – Rs 1,35,000

Garden Estate Waste Champion Keshav Jaini says, “We got a shed made for our composting unit as the composting process needs protection from direct sun, rain, cold and wind. From the construction work happening inside Garden Estate at that point, we requested residents to give bricks, marble slabs etc for the flooring. This way we kept the set up cost minimal.”

Maintenance Cost i.e. monthly cost for running the composting operations = Rs 7,000

  • Labour cost for carrying out the secondary segregation process and loading of the composting bins comes to about Rs 5,000 per month (paid to the housekeeping boys involved in the composting operation over and above their monthly salary. As the society housekeeping boys are involved in running the composting operation, part of the labour cost is already covered in their regular housekeeping payments).
  • Consumables (saw dust and cocopeat) – About Rs 2,000 per month

Leaf Composting Process in Garden EstateExtra dry leaves are composted separately to make nutrient rich leaf mulch.

Garden estate has a huge green cover and a lot of garden waste is generated. The dry leaves that are not used in the waste composting process with the food waste are used to make nutrient rich leaf mulch. Leaf mulch helps to protect and aerate the soil and save water by retaining moisture in the soil.

Garden Estate has used steel wire mesh bins of about 3 to 4 feet in diameter and 4 to 5 feet in height for leaf composting. The bins have been placed in a shaded, flat and clean area near the nursery. The earth at the bottom is watered before adding the leaves and flowers waste. A handful of accelerator in the form of cow dung slurry (made by mixing dry cow dung with water) or some compost or sour butter milk is sprinkled on top occasionally to increase the microbial activity and speed up the decomposition process. Water is sprinkled on the pile to keep it moist. This process is repeated every day or as and when extra leaves are available. It can take 6 – 8 months for the decomposition process depending on factors such as size and type of leaves, weather (too hot or too cold), moisture levels etc. The bottom most layer in the bin starts decomposing first. An opening has been provided at the bottom to take out the ready leaf mulch. Leaf composting in steel wire mesh bins makes it a continuous composting process as leaf and flower waste is added from the top and leaf mulch is taken out from the bottom. When leaf mulch is taken out, any leaves that are not fully decomposed are put back on top with the fresh leaf waste.vlcsnap-2018-11-03-16h34m36s32

GARDEN ESTATE WASTE MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE – IMPACTS

Better Recovery of Recyclables

Garden Estate has had a family of waste pickers working with them for many years. They are very happy with the community for implementing segregation as the sale of clean recyclables helps to fetch them more money. It has also given the waste workers more dignity of labour. Waste Worker Inda Dun says, “Earlier when we were collecting mixed, unsegregated waste from the homes, it took my family hours to sift through the garbage to recover the recyclables. A lot of precious time was wasted and many recyclable items would get spoiled as a result of the wet kitchen waste and the dirty sanitary waste all mixed up in the same bag.”

Reduction in Quantity of Single Use Plastic sent to the Landfill

Since the implementation of waste segregation in Garden Estate, majority of the households (about 75%) have stopped lining their dustbins with plastic bin liners. By consciously refusing to use plastic bin liners, the community is preventing plastic pollution that would have been caused by more than 2,00,000 bin liners going into the landfill every year.

Responsible Management of the Community’s Waste

Waste Champion Keshav Jaini says, “Segregation of waste at each home level, community level composting and recycling of dry waste and e-waste ensures that we are able to responsibly manage almost 80% of the total waste generated by our community. About 60% of our total waste is kitchen waste which is converted to high quality compost. 20-25% of the waste from all the homes is paper, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass and electronic waste which is recycled. Only the remaining 15-20% that cannot be composted or recycled such as sanitary waste, household sweepings etc. goes to the landfill now.”

Minimal Carbon Footprint

Since the community composting model is in-house so no transportation cost is incurred in carrying the waste anywhere. Moreover, it is a completely natural system with no machines so there are no electricity costs or any extra resources used.

Creating Wealth from Waste

Before the implementation of the segregation drive, Garden Estate was throwing away almost 225 kg of kitchen waste every single day. After the community has started segregating, Garden Estate saves almost 82000 kg of kitchen waste from going to the landfill every year. Instead wealth in the form of nutrient rich compost is created out of this waste. Annually, Garden Estate produces about 9 tonnes of compost. Most of this is used within the complex in the parks and green areas. Residents are sold the compost for use in their gardens. Some compost is gifted to NGOs.

Garden Estate produces 9 tons of compost every year diverting 82000 kg of kitchen waste from the landfill annually.

Win-Win Situation for the Community and the Planet

Keshav Jaini says, “We are using all our horticulture waste effectively in making compost and leaf mulch so we are preventing the pollution that could have been caused with these leaves going out of the complex and getting burnt somewhere, polluting the air we all breathe. There is also a direct financial saving of Rs 50,000 every year to the community which we were spending earlier on buying compost for our green areas from the market. The compost that we are producing is very high quality. We are now using twice the amount as it is freely available and we have been able to green many areas that were lying barren in our complex. Our plants and trees are very happy as this compost is very high in nutrients. So, the in-house waste management is a win-win for everyone – the residents, the waste workers, the RWA, the soil, the plants, the trees…”

Leaf mulch is very high in nutrients and saves water by retaining moisture in the soil.

ADVISE TO OTHER COMMUNITIES

In the words of Garden Estate Waste Champion Keshav Jaini:

  • Make a very strong core group of eco-conscious, dedicated and committed resident volunteers to help out in the awareness and implementation process.
  • Look at the waste management system for its long-term sustainability. Keep it simple. The process should be system driven, not person driven.
  • Do a pilot for segregation as well as composting as each community will have different sets of issues. The pilot helps to identify the problems and figure out solutions which then helps in the smooth scale up of operations.
  • Set up detailed SOPs and checklists. Have efficient reporting systems in place.
  • Do regular workshops (twice a year) for training of household, housekeeping and horticulture staff as people keep leaving and new staff joining.
  • Recognise good work. Honour the housekeeping, horticulture staff and the waste workers for their efforts to make them feel appreciated for their hard work to keep them motivated.
  • Use the eco-consciousness built in the community with the implementation of waste segregation and composting to take up other environment friendly initiatives such as building sewage treatment plants, implementing the saying no to single use plastic campaign, native tree planting, creating organic community vegetable gardens, building rain water harvesting structures in the community for recharging ground water levels, installing solar heating and lighting and other energy efficient measures, celebrating festivals in an eco-friendly manner etc.

REPLICATION OF THIS LOW-COST, NATURAL COMMUNITY COMPOSTING SOLUTION 

This low-cost natural system of composting using steel wire mesh bins can easily be adopted by any residential community or an organisation like a school or an institution with enough open space for composting. For this natural composting process to work efficiently, food waste should be 80% fruit and vegetable peels and about 20% can be cooked left over food items. As the process is simple to operate, the in-house housekeeping staff of the RWA or the organisation can be trained to run the show without any problems. Care has to be taken that regular monitoring is done to ensure that standard operating procedures are adhered to.

As the quantity of waste to be handled goes up, the number of trained people to handle the composting operation will also need to be increased. For example, where the quantity of waste being handled is more, having a Supervisor to oversee the work of the staff handling the composting operations will be useful to ensure that SOP s are strictly followed.

Shape and Dimensions of the Composting and Curing Bins

The shape of the bins can be round, square or rectangular. Care has to be taken that height or width of the bins is not increased too much, otherwise it becomes difficult to aerate and manage the waste pile. Then issues such as the waste compacting, the waste pile becoming anaerobic and smelling can occur. 

Rectangular bins will take less space but cost of making rectangular bins is higher as compared to circular bins. Also, rectangular bins cannot be made in-house. They will need to be made by an outside fabricator.

 Advantages of this Do-It-Yourself, Natural Composting Solution

  • Highly modular and adaptable system – Depending on a community’s or organisation’s total space availability and requirement, the system can be designed and implemented.
  • Flexible – As the bins are not fixed to the ground, they can be easily moved to another location if required. Also depending on quantity of waste generated and space available for composting, shape of the composting and curing bins can be circular, square or rectangular. This composting solution offers flexibility in the curing process as well. Garden Estate complex has a lot of space so the 70% done compost is left in an open area to cure naturally. Where space is limited, this curing process can take place in specially designed steel wire mesh curing bins so as to optimise the space available.
  • Neat and clean system – As the kitchen waste is well covered with dry leaves, there are no flies and insects. The jute / green net lining on the sides of the bin ensures no spilling of the waste and helps to insulate the composting process from heat and cold.
  • Very low-cost community composting model – As no machines are used or any outside vendor is used for carrying out the natural composting operation, there is no electricity cost or expensive annual maintenance contracts for any machines or any monthly payments made to vendors. Both one-time set up cost and monthly running cost for this do-it-yourself solution are minimal which makes this a very economical model for a community or organisation which has open space for composting.
  • Provides for good aeration – 2 inch diameter pipes with holes in them that are put in the bins help with the aeration. One or two 2 pipes should be put in each composting bin.
  • Facilitates a continuous process of composting – Every 5 weeks, the 70% done compost is taken out from the composting bins and the loading process is re-started.
  • Allows for easy maintenance of standard operating procedures – This system is very easy for any housekeeping staff to understand. Important factors for aerobic composting such as Carbon:Nitrogen Ratio, Aeration, Moisture and Temperature can be easily managed in bin composting.

Natural Community Composting Solution using Steel Wire Mesh Bins – Do-It-Yourself vs Vendor-Based Model

Learning from the experience of Garden Estate Community’s Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Waste Management System, Malibu Town residents in Gurgaon have set up their own Low Cost, DIY, Natural Composting Model using funds collected from the community. We will share their fascinating story in one of the subsequent blogs on this website.

Do-It-Yourself, Natural Composting Set-Up at Malibu Town, Gurgaon
Malibu Town eco-team residents at the community composting site

Balancing Bits, a social enterprise based out of Gurgaon working in the area of providing waste management solutions to residential communities and organisations in Gurgaon, Delhi and other cities is also following this low cost, natural system of bin composting (http://balancingbits.com).

Communities or organisations who want to use this low cost, natural system of bin composting but do not have the human resources for setting up and implementing the system on their own, can get vendors like Balancing Bits to set up and run the natural composting operations for them. Please bear in mind that the set up and monthly maintenance cost in hiring the services of a vendor will go up as compared to the ‘Do It Yourself’ extremely low-cost model like the Garden Estate one as payments will need to be made on a monthly basis to the vendor for providing labour and expertise to run the composting operation.

Vendor Balancing Bit's Natural Composting Set-Up at Haryana Institute of Public Administration
Balancing Bit’s Natural Composting Set-Up at Haryana Institute of Public Administration, Gurgaon

Capital Cost to Set Up the Composting Bins

Each bin can cost anything between Rs 3000 to Rs 12,000 depending on the size, shape, do it yourself or outside vendor used. Shed cost and cost of flooring is extra.

Number of Bins and Space Requirement for this Natural Composting Solution

Space required for composting operations will depend on factors such as:

  • design of the composting bins,
  • whether the curing process is being done in the bins or in the open,
  • availability of space for composting in the complex

Number of bins used will depend on several factors such as:

  • area available for composting,
  • size and shape of the bins,
  • layout of the space available,
  • amount of kitchen and horticulture waste that needs to go in daily,
  • turn-around time

Number of Circular Composting Bins required based on Garden Estate Do-It-Yourself Model

Following are some calculations done by Waste Champion Keshav Jaini if the dimensions of the composting bins are kept the same as the ones used in the Garden Estate composting set up i.e. circular steel wire mesh bins of 4 feet diameter and 3 feet height.

4 circular bins can manage kitchen waste of 100 homes

100 families will approximately generate 50 – 60 kg of kitchen waste daily.  Each circular bin of size 4 feet diameter and 3 feet height will take 50-60 kg of kitchen waste plus 50-60 kg of horticulture waste in weight daily and will take about 14 days to fill. The turn around time is 5 weeks for each bin. In 5 weeks, the compost which is 70% done will be taken out from the composting bin and left to cure in an open area for another 5 weeks. This is how the cycle works. Infographic-4

6 circular bins can manage kitchen waste of 200 homes

200 families will generate approximately 100 – 110 kg of kitchen waste daily. Each circular bin of size 4 feet diameter and 3 feet height takes 100-110 kg of kitchen waste plus 100-110 kg of horticulture waste (in weight) daily and will take 7 days to fill. The turn-around time will be 5 weeks. In 5 weeks, the compost which is 70% done will be taken out from the composting bin and left to cure in an open area for another 5 weeks. This is how the cycle works.

Updated Infographic-5.jpg

12 circular bins can manage kitchen waste of 370 homes

Garden Estate has 370 homes and about 225 kg of kitchen waste is generated daily. Each circular bin of size 4 feet diameter and 3 feet height takes 100-110 kg of kitchen waste plus 100-110 kg of horticulture waste (in weight) daily and takes 7 days to fill. In Garden Estate, 2 bins are loaded in the first cycle. The turn-around time is 5 weeks. After 5 weeks when the compost is about 70 percent done is taken out of these bins for the curing process, the loading process of the fresh waste is restarted in these 2 bins. 

Space required for composting based on Garden Estate model

In Garden Estate where curing of the 70% done compost happens in the open, to compost kitchen waste of 225 kgs daily along with the same quantity in weight of dry leaves, 1500 square feet of total space is used. The composting area in Garden Estate where the 12 bins are kept is about 1000 square feet which includes storage space and the area where secondary segregation takes place. Garden Estate has a lot of open space but if space was limited, the entire composting operation could easily be carried out in two-thirds of this space (about 650 square feet).

In Garden Estate, the open area where curing of the 70% done compost takes place is 500 square feet. Since direct sunlight and rain are not good for the composting process, the curing area is protected from direct sun light by the natural shade of trees. A plastic sheet is kept over the compost that is being cured during the monsoon months and other times when it rains heavily.

Important notes:

  • If the 70% done compost is cured using bins, the space required for curing reduces.
  • As the quantity of waste increases, size of the bins will need to be changed to rectangular as they take less space and more waste as compared to circular bins.

Number of Rectangular Composting & Curing Bins and Space required based on Balancing Bits Vendor Based Model

16 rectangular composting bins & 5 curing bins can manage kitchen waste of 500 homes

“According to Rahul Khera of the social enterprise Balancing Bits (http://balancingbits.com), “For 300 kg of kitchen waste (from 500 homes) plus same quantity of horticulture waste in weight daily, approximately 16 composting bins and 5 curing bins will be required to complete 30 days of composting cycle plus about 10 days of curing. Rectangular bins of size 4 feet x 4 feet x 3 feet or 5 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet will occupy minimum 750 – 800 square feet of space. This is based on our experience of composting kitchen waste of 500 homes plus horticulture waste at Uniworld Garden 1 complex in Gurgaon.”

1st option -Vendor Balancing Bit's Natural Composting Set-Up at Uniworld Garden 1, Gurgaon
Rahul Khera at the community composting site in Uniworld Garden 1, Gurgaon that his firm Balancing Bits is operating

32 rectangular composting bins & 10 curing bins can manage kitchen waste of 1000 homes

According to Rahul Khera, “For 500 – 600 kg of kitchen waste (from 1000 homes), plus same quantity of horticulture waste in weight daily, approximately 32 composting bins and 10 curing bins will be required to complete 30 days of composting cycle plus about 10 days of curing. Rectangular bins of size 4 feet x 4 feet x 3 feet or 5 feet x 3 feet x 3 feet will occupy minimum 1500 square feet of space.”

FURTHER INFORMATION

For queries and guidance on implementation of the 3-way segregation process and the Do-It-Yourself, natural community composting solution detailed in this case study, please contact: Mr. Keshav Jaini, Garden Estate, Gurgaon.

Email: keshavcj@gmail.com

FEEDBACK

For any comments, feedback or clarifications on this case study, please write to the author – Neelam Ahluwalia at the email id mentioned. 

Email: healingourcities1@gmail.com

You can also leave a comment in the ‘leave a reply’ section below.