Home composting: Replace kitchen waste bin with EcoBin, let Bokashi bloom in your garden

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There is a distinct pride I enjoy whenever I tell our housekeepers, “No kitchen waste today.” And that happens quite often these days.

If all of us were to replace our kitchen waste bin with a composting bin and if all of the commercial establishments did in situ wet waste management, 60-65 per cent of the global garbage problem gets solved in a few days.

If you want to be a part of this change and want a solution to stop your kitchen waste from going to landfills, give EcoBin—an indoor Bokashi composter kit—a try. It’s neat, compact and packs a punch if you have a garden at home. Continue reading

Community composting method-9: This cement tank system handles large quantities of food waste

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The Saahas team led by Supervisor Narayana Swamy (left) turns tonnes of kitchen and dry waste into organic manure at BIEC, Tumkur Road. These high-capacity cement tanks make their job easy.

Turning quintals of food waste coming out of three huge exhibition halls and fallen dry leaves swept up from a humungous campus spread over 36 acres into organic manure is no silly task. Interestingly, all of it gets absorbed efficiently by a simple composting system designed and managed by Saahas Zero Waste Solutions at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC), Tumkur Road. Continue reading

By 2047, area equal to Mumbai, Chennai & Hyderabad will drown in garbage

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We love our trash to the apocalypse. Let me illustrate why.

“The Position Paper on The Solid Waste Management Sector in India – 2009”, a study conducted by the Ministry of Finance, has this to say: India will need more than 1,400 square kilometer of land to dump its unprocessed garbage. In other words, we will have drowned all of Mumbai, Chennai and Hyderabad in garbage. No, it will not take ages for this to happen. Just a little over 30 years, that’s all. That’s the speed at which we are trashing this earth. Continue reading

May Day tribute: 15,000 waste-pickers save Rs 84 crore for BBMP every year

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Yes, it’s true.

In all probability, this number might be an understatement as there maybe be more than 15,000 waste-pickers in the City going about their work every day—building new hopes and sometimes little habitats and hoping that one day, they will live to live and not to repent having lived a life of drudgery amidst a sea of sheer callousness.

A study conducted by Hasiru Dala, Jain University, Bangalore and Solid Waste Management Round Table in 2012 analysed the data of 4,175 registered waste-pickers aged between less-than-20 and above-60. What came to light was a number that this hapless lot could hardly accommodate within the realm of its imagination: 4,175 of them save Rs 23 crore annually. When extrapolated, 15,000 of them collectively keep Rs 84 crore safe in BBMP’s treasury. Continue reading

The journey of tissue paper from your home to…

"These bags are full of tissue papers," says this ITC employee who picks up the load from various destinations and brings it to the DWCC.

“These bags are full of tissue papers,” says this ITC employee who picks up the load from various destinations and brings it to one of the dry waste collection centres in Yelahanka.

Did you know the tissue papers that you threw into your dustbin can travel miles and get processed and recycled all over again?

Before you get to know the final avatar it assumes, let me make it clear that I am referring to only segregated, unsoiled tissue paper which is not contaminated beyond remedy. Continue reading

Your mother could be your own homespun eco-champion

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When my mother sat down to hem in the frayed ends of a handloom blanket, it took almost two hours for her arthritic fingers to cut off the extra threads gently and hem the ends in with near-perfect stitches. As she folded the blanket and placed it back in the cupboard, she said: “Handloom blankets are more comfortable than those useless (synthetic) ones. Why do you waste thousand of rupees for those you can’t even wash and reuse for long?” Continue reading

Soil Recipe-2: Jeevamrut means one solution and many benefits

hari5-Now it is just a Hope! 10 days from now.... I am going to Hop!

Pic: Hariram P S

It’s hard to come across an organic gardener who has not heard of Jeevamrut. The ingredients needed for this are easy to source and it’s easy to prepare, too. The following recipe is being republished verbatim from Soil Recipes authored by Goa-based organic farmer Isa Alvares and published by The Organic Farming Association of India. Continue reading

Community composting method-8: Barrel Digester from Sudh-Labh is a big plus for small communities

Five Barrel digesters being installed at Mars Meadows, Rajarajeshwari Nagar. This apartment has 55 homes.

Five Barrel Digesters being installed at Mars Meadows, Rajarajeshwari Nagar. This apartment has 55 homes.

We have quite a few individual home composting and also several large-scale composting solutions available in the market. But large bulk generators with 50 homes or above grabbed the focus of most of the emerging eco-innovators thus far, leaving the small apartment segment with 10-15 homes, or fewer, crying for attention.

In general, large complexes have many advantages stacked in their favour—mainly financial leeway to an extent and space set aside for processing waste. If not, they can carve out a corner on the terrace or basement to get going. I have seen this happening in several communities. Continue reading

Soil Recipe-1: Amudham solution, a catalyst for plant growth

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War, pestilence, even climate change, are trifles by comparison.
Destroy the soil and we all starve.
– George Monbiot.

This is the International Year of Soils. What better way to help the soil heal than going organic and shunning chemical fertilisers and pesticides?

Soil Recipes is a useful how-to-do-it manual of soil nutrition and maintenance authored by Goa-based organic farmer ISA ALVARES and published by The Organic Farming Association of India (OFAI). Endlessly Green is happy to republish these recipes.

The recipes, as the author says, have been “vetted and verified by experienced organic farmers” belonging to OFAI. They not only “enable the soil to re-stock its populations of beneficial soil microbes”, but also help “control disease…” Continue reading

A classic case of ‘how to mess up a beautiful road’

    Thindlu Main Road. This is the state of affairs almost always.

Thindlu Main Road in north Bangalore. This is the state of affairs almost always.

We all thought “out of sight” meant “out of mind”, right? We were dead wrong! Here’s why.

Here’s this beautiful Thindlu Main Road in north Bangalore with a humungous GKVK campus on the one side and Vidyaranyapura with well-built houses on the other. Continue reading

The saga of sanitary waste-1: Bangalore alone sends about 91 tonnes of pads to landfills every day

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Most of us know where our used sanitary pads land up. But did we know how many of them reach the landfills each day?

“Sanitary Waste, The Whole Picture” is a study conducted in 2014, probably a first-of-its-kind in India, that puts a number on one of the feminine hygiene products (FHPs) used widely in India—sanitary pads. Continue reading

Bangalore must emulate D K Ravi’s Kolar waste management model

D K Ravi (Pic: Indian Express)

D K Ravi (Pic: Indian Express)

We do not yet know the truth behind the demise one of the finest IAS officers, D K Ravi. But what we do know is his stellar performance that earned him the wrath of his detractors and the love of the people he worked for.

Kolar city, where he served as deputy commissioner between August 2013 and October 2014, underwent a never-seen-before change. Although his contribution to revenue, land and water departments seems to have been well-recognised, his almost fool-proof solid waste management model he implemented for Kolar is yet to get the recognition it truly deserves, especially by the Bangalore civic authorities who have been struggling to put two-plus-two together. Continue reading

Organic gardening: Walk the green miles with Hariram Pagadala Sreenath

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Organic gardener Hariram Pagadala Sreenath with enthusiastic participants at a workshop organised by ‘We Care for Malleswaram’ on last Sunday. (Pic: SH)

Not all gardeners have the ability to grow with the seeds they sow. Bengaluru-based Hariram Pagadala Sreenath is one of those rarest few. Continue reading

The 40-billion-dollar American lawn craze

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Source: Pinterest

“Ten years ago, I wanted to send a satellite into space to take continuous photos of Earth. One of my political competitors said it wasn’t worth it. That it would be like watching grass grow. So I asked my staff to find out how much Americans spend on their lawns. It was 35 billion dollars. So I told him that Americans like watching the grass grow!” Continue reading

SWM: Not 1, not 2, only the power of 3 bins works

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First off, let’s see what happens if we throw all the waste into one bin: kitchen waste that includes liquids like curd and sambar, stale and spoiled food; plastic, paper, rubber, fabric, cosmetic containers and tubes, sanitary napkins, diapers, needles, syringes, condoms, hair and nail clippings; e-waste like bulbs and batteries, metal waste, construction debris and all other hazardous waste laden with harmful chemicals. Continue reading

Solid waste management: Between ‘cleanliness’ and godliness lies hypocrisy

Ganesha festival and its after-effects at Sankey Tank in Bengaluru. (Pic source: The Hindu)

Ganesha festival and its after-effects at Sankey Tank in Bengaluru. (Pic source: The Hindu)

When Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan was kicked off on October 2 last, one of my Facebook friends reacted to this post and said, “Let’s first learn to put all the waste into one bin and then think of segregating it.” Continue reading

Welcome to Raithara Santhe, the soul of Yelahanka

Raithara Santhe (farmers' market) located in Old Yelahanka on a Sunday morning.

Raithara Santhe (farmers’ market) located in Old Yelahanka on a Sunday morning.

To be connected locally is to live life in high-definition. For life hides and reveals itself in details, often so minute that unless we explore it through local language and cuisine and through the eyes of the people we talk to, we live through a blur. Continue reading

THE AL GORE MOMENTS

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Climate warrior and former Vice President of the United States Al Gore at the Climate Reality Leadership Training Programme held in Delhi recently.

What is it about a mind that gets stretched by an idea or a heart that gets filled with hope? One of the answers can perhaps be this: The mind and the heart will never be the same again.

Please read on to know why I said what I just said. Continue reading

Community composting method-7: Marigold composter for an efficient solar solution

Marigol solar composter from Prudent Eco Systems, Bengaluru.

Marigol solar composters designed by Prudent Eco Systems, Bengaluru.

With 300 sun-blessed days in a year, any solar solution makes absolute sense in India, doesn’t it? When it comes to community composting, how about a composter that relies only on sunlight to get things going?

Marigold solar composter is a brainchild of Bengaluru-based Ravindra Karnad, IIT-Kanpur, Prudent Eco Systems Private Limited. Continue reading

Delhi landfill crisis: Can AAP show the way?

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An image of the Hindustan Times article on Delhi’s garbage crisis published a few months ago.

From the current 9,200 tonnes or 2,300 truckloads, in less than a decade, the capital city of India will have to grapple with 19,100 tonnes or 4,775 truckloads of garbage. According to a parliamentary panel report highlighted by Hindustan Times, Delhiites living on the fringes are refusing to give away their living space to open new landfills. Four landfills have already become stinking heaps. This toxic legacy notwithstanding, the officials’ hope for fixing new landfill sites seems never-ending.

Sounds more like the tale our own beloved Bengaluru? Continue reading

Fully automatic composting machines: Let the buyer beware

Just Google “fully automatic composting machines”, a number of companies making out-of-the-world claims pop up instantly. Among them, “composting in 24 hours” is the most common.

I have been approached by a few vendors in Bengaluru to write about their products as a community composting method. When I met them, each vendor made different claims although all of them ran on similar technology. Continue reading

Will San Francisco, Seattle & New York shame Bengaluru into composting?

Photo credit: EcoWatch.

Photo credit: EcoWatch.

This couldn’t have gotten better for those who have been trying to decentralise waste management in Bengaluru and championing composting as the best way to recycle wet waste in the city faced with unprecedented landfill crisis. At least now they can draw support from the US—so far known for its highest per capita garbage generation—for its fantastic composting mandates in many cities and push their cause forward saying, “Yes, we can!” Continue reading

A little bit of science on how composting happens

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Ever wondered why an ice cream box frozen at subzero conditions goes stale and begins to smell bad? It’s actually the presence of anaerobes that thrive even at -2°C. Micro-organisms can be present at extreme temperatures: At -2 °C, and also at 122 °C.

Composting is a highly intricate process. The standard procedure takes anything between 30-45 days depending on the accelerators involved. A whole lot of work has to be done by different strains of bacteria and fungi to transform the organic material into compost. Although reams can be written about this beautiful process without which life is impossible on this planet, here’s just the gist of it. Continue reading

My own home composting experiment: It’s harvesting time!

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There is loads of joy in un-complicating every day issues. Unfortunately, we are good at diverting all our finest human qualities and energies in the opposite direction. One such issue at hand in Bengaluru is composting precious wet waste. I wanted to find my own answers and after almost 2.5 years, my experiments have helped me achieve at least this much of simplicity. I hope it gets better.

If you have already read the previous post on this experiment, let me take you straight to the harvesting episode. Continue reading

Have any doubts about the efficacy of composting? It’s time we busted some myths

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Among almost all urban farmers, interest in composting seems to be a frequent corollary of their passionate love for organic gardening, or vice versa. Bengaluru, despite being the epicentre of garbage crisis, can be distinctly conscious of this silver lining and take obvious pride in it.

That said, in our pursuit to transform food and garden waste into small black particles, have we let the art of composting sidestep the science of composting? Is this a silly, juvenile romance with composting conveniently aided by the earthy aroma of moist humus? Worst of all, are we deluding ourselves into thinking that whatever we touch becomes “Black Gold”? Continue reading

Anaerobic home composting: Vani Murthy suggests closed bin method for working people

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In a previous post on home composting methods, you read about a few aerobic methods being practised by composting expert Vani Murthy. In this post, let us learn an anaerobic method which helps you transform your kitchen waste into rich organic manure. Continue reading

Sanitary/bio-medical waste: If the quantity is too high, that means segregation quality is low in your community

Picture1Over the last few days, I have received mails and calls from some green warriors who have just initiated or already championing segregation at source in their communities. They were concerned about the high cost involved in sending sanitary waste for incineration through Semb-Ramky or Maridi—the two authorised destinations where hazardous waste including hospital and sanitary waste, among others, gets incinerated. Continue reading

Aerobic home composting: Exploring Vani Murthy’s favourite methods

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Anything to do with composting case studies is incomplete until we hear from a certain someone. ‘Endlessly Green’ is happy to team up with this particular composting expert and thanks her and her ‘We Care for Malleswaram’ team-mate Shyamala Suresh for bringing you HOME COMPOSTING METHODS.
Continue reading

My own home composting experiment, my own little triumph!

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These last two years I have spent experimenting with various community composting methods for our apartment and once a system fell in place, it got boring. Nothing more to work on, no more failures and no more small, sweet triumphs.

I thought of composting for my own garden without depending on the community compost sold at a price. We use Up’Grade (Reap Benefit) method for this which is a cocopeat-based inoculant sold at Rs 9 per kg. I bought 3 kgs of Up’Grade from the facility office and got going. Continue reading