Waste to wealth: 60 Mahim families recycle 8,500 kg waste, develop garden in Mumbai
Residents of a co-operative housing society in Mahim are no longer dependent on the municipal corporation to collect their daily waste. Instead, they convert it into manure for a terrace garden.
The residents of Matoshree Pearl, a 22-storey building with 65 flats, have been treating their collective biodegradable kitchen waste within the society premises using two bio-composter tumblers with a capacity of 10 kg each that produce nutrient-rich manure.
The society generates 30kg wet waste per day, and since October 2 last year when they began the project, residents estimate that they have helped the municipal corporation avoid the transport of 6,300kg of kitchen waste to the dumping grounds. That waste has instead been used to produce 800kg of manure.
“Considering we are not a very large society and we do not fall under the specifications of the waste management rules to treat waste at source, we have still ended up doing it, as our vision is to be a green society and ensure we give something back to nature,” said Satish Kini, managing committee member and resident in-charge of various green efforts at the society. “In a city like Mumbai, which is facing both air and water pollution, we want to make our society a green haven for our children and senior citizens.”
Additionally, the society has diverted 2,200 kg of their dry waste since October from going to the landfills by segregating it and recycling. Only biomedical and non-recyclable waste is being collected by the civic body.
In August last year, the residents reached out to Are you Reducing, Reusing, Recycling- RUR Greenlife, a social environment organisation, responsible for many similar projects across the city. After a series of workshops by the organisation, the residents began their decentralized and sustainable waste management within two months.
“Matroshree Pearl is an inspiring model green society, which has active enthusiastic participation by all residents towards care for the environment. It gives us hope for a greener future,” said Monisha Narke, founder and CEO, RUR Greenlife.
The society adopted a three-bin approach to segregation of biodegradable; dry recyclable and non-recyclable waste by using colour-coded bins and garbage bags to ensure higher level of segregation. The dry waste is further segregated through a seven bin approach into - cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, electronic waste, metal, glass, and tetrapak cartons. Residents sell some of the reusable dry waste to rag pickers and other recyclers for a nominal fee. “The revenue generated from dry waste recycling is used to support the kitchen waste management project which making the activity a self-sufficient project,” said Kini.
November onward, the 4,000sqft terrace of the building was made home to an organic garden where residents grow spinach, cucumber, tomatoes, chili, ladyfinger, fenugreek, lemon grass and many other vegetables. Children from the society have been given a vegetable patch each and they are responsible for nurturing them.
“We have set up a drip irrigation system which uniformly provides water to each of these plantations,” said Shireesh Kedare, resident and professor, Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IIT-B).
“This is one society which has made best use of the circular economy model and benefitted the most out of it. More than helping to ease the burden from landfills, this model makes a society self-sufficient. Our focus currently is to inculcate this attitude in more societies, which will give them incentive to adopt waste management at source,” said Chandrakant Tambe, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s solid waste management department.
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