SWM in apartments: Mumbai’s Green Communities Foundation keeps it simple and efficient

Endlessly Green is pleased to share these two case studies of SWM projects being executed by Mumbai-based Green Communities Foundation which is a waste management consultancy for societies and corporates. This blogpost lays bare how certain simple processes can help you execute segregation and composting in communities no matter which part of the country you live in. Continue reading

Community composting method-16: These composters can solve city’s dry leaves burning problem. Is BBMP listening?

One of the Soil and Health’s leaf composters at Sobha Althea-Azalea, Bengaluru, busy doing what it does best: compost.

All this new stuff goes on top
turn it over, turn it over
wait and water down
from the dark bottom
turn it inside out
let it spread through
Sift down even.
Watch it sprout.

A mind like compost.
― Gary Snyder Continue reading

24-hr composters: There’s no microbe in this universe that can colonise in 24 hrs, says scientist Dr Manoj

Dr C N Manoj, Pelican Biotech.

Quite often, I find myself involved in long-winding email/social media conversations or phone calls with green volunteers of large communities discussing automatic or 24-hour composters to deal with huge quantities of kitchen rejects and garden clippings generated in their communities. It so happens that the individuals who care to discuss this issue threadbare are invariably those souls who believe in Nature’s perfection and are ready to live by its rules, patiently.

The following nuggets of wisdom pouring light on this topic are from scientist Dr C N Manoj, Founder-Director of Pelican Biotech. I have collated all the information he has shared with me through emails and phone calls here. This should help you bust any myth about these menacing machines of various brands that have carved out a sinuous trail through urban concrete jungles all over India and arm yourself with scientific facts to put forth your argument in favour of sustainable composting methods. Continue reading

Composting does not stink, Mr Minister! Our misconceptions do.

Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town planning K J George (Pic source: IE)

I wish we had a chance to ring in 2018 on a positive note, but our honorable Minister for Bengaluru Development and Town planning K J George’s statement leaves little to cheer for.

At a Smart City Mission meet held in the city yesterday, the minister announced that the state government was all set to opt for waste-to-energy (WtE) technology because “composting stinks”. Continue reading

Zero-waste temple: This is where, my friends, God smiles!

There’s this beautiful peepal tree with its roots resting in infinity and boughs arching over the Sri Shakthi Kalyana Mahaganapathi Temple located at Kalyana Nagar, Banaswadi.

True, almost every temple or village in India has at least one such tree standing tall in all its nakedness with a lump of sacred threads wound around it. No one can say for sure what each thread would mean individually: Pain, anguish, victory, desire, devotion, gratitude, joy or frustration. But weave them together, a firm pattern of meaning emerges on its own: unconditional surrender. Continue reading

This 24-hour composter was on fire, literally!

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A simple human error resulted in this machine catching fire and damaging the roof of DSR Woodwinds apartment’s compost room six months ago. It seems beyond repair now and has been dumped in the parking lot. (Pics: SH)

This is an incident that unfolded at DSR Woodwinds apartment, Sarjapur Road. An automatic 24-hour machine given by the builder to compost kitchen waste caught fire when a staff member mistakenly switched on the machine after sundown. Within hours, the machine was spewing out flames and the roof got damaged. The smoke spread. The staff somehow managed to sneak into the compost room and put out the fire. Since then the machine, which comes loaded with promises of turning precious green waste into valuable compost, has been gathering dust in the community’s parking lot. (For more technical details on these machines, please read this post.) Continue reading

Community composting: If it’s costlier & fancier, does it get better?

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One of my Solid Waste Round Table Management (SWMRT) colleagues told me about an apartment which is getting ready to spend up to Rs 45 lakhs on a certain method for its in situ wet waste composting. In other cases, some companies which have succeeded in installing their 24-hour composting machines in some apartments at the cost of up to Rs 20 lakhs or more are laughing all the way to the bank.

Should a residential community invest so much in composting alone? Continue reading

Community composting method-10: This steel bins system can work a treat on your terrace

Cassia block of Brigade Millennium in J P Nagar has its own unique steel bins system which has been producing one tonne of compost each month.

Cassia block of Brigade Millennium in J P Nagar has its own unique steel bins system which has been producing one tonne of compost each month.

Bangalore’s roads run like tedious arguments. I had to meander my way around one such ‘argument’ recently by hitting the road at 7 am in Yelahanka to study a community composting method in an apartment located in J P Nagar.

Cassia Block is just like any other nestling in this mammoth condominium called Brigade Millennium. But it stands apart for its high eco quotient nurtured by its all-woman management committee. They have a very good waste and water management system in place and in fact, the residents have stepped out of their threshold, cleaned up a spot just out of their periphery, planted a line of trees and have even set aside some space for vermi-composting right there.

Now, that definitely sets the tone for this write-up, doesn’t it? 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

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

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