A GLIMPSE OF THE SACRED

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Reading Deep Work by Cal Newport. A thought that he dwells on while explaining the satisfaction one can derive out of highly focused craftsmanship struck me. This satisfaction need not necessarily come from extracting artistry from crude metals or wood carving or painting or writing or anything that we instantly attach artistry to. It can be something as ‘mechanical’ as computer programming, too. It can be both physical and cognitive, provided it calls for high levels of skills. Continue reading

Merci et au revoir, Claire!

‘Earth Citizen’ Claire Rao

Guitar strings, candle waste, broken bangles…

These are the things, among many other, that environmental activist Claire Rao has currently listed out as her top priorities that need urgent sorting-out and has been doing everything possible to make sure they reach proper recycling destinations. This has to happen before she herself lands in France, her home country, after over a decade of life lived here in Bangalore within what she calls, “our ecological limits”. 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

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

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

Community composting method-5: Sudh-Labh means low investment & Rs 6.15 monthly outgo per home for 100 units

Sudh-Labh aerobic digesterNo major infrastructure, no fancy paraphernalia and no high-sounding claims.

For my case study, the destination was Sovereign Park, Basavanagudi. It’s a 23-year old, 40-unit apartment which does efficient segregation at source. It has outsourced secondary processing of dry waste to Sudh-Labh. They chose the same firm to compost their wet waste sometime in August. Continue reading

Community composting method-3: Byobins, these two make a right pair!

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Paired up to perform: Two Byobins is all it takes to process wet waste from 30 houses.

Two unassuming bins sit in a corner without any posters, scary timetables or paraphernalia around them. No muttering of a shredder. No hustle and bustle of an army of workers either. A few perforated plastic crates filled with the compost taken out of these bins have earthworms going about their business without giving two hoots to what the city is getting all worked up about. Continue reading

Sobha Althea-Azalea’s green campaign attracts 4 Infosys teams

infy1Sometime ago, our waste management and composting methods attracted attention from none other than Infosys. In all, a team each from Bangalore and Cochin and two teams from two Chennai campuses visited our complex this March. A researcher from the New York University also accompanied the teams. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-5: Choosing the right composting method for your community

Housekeepers sieving the compost prepared from kitchen waste.

Housekeepers sieving the compost prepared from kitchen waste.

There’s reams of data on the internet on various composting methods written quite beautifully by green enthusiasts worldwide. However, after wading my way through this maze of information and sending distress calls and emails to compost experts I have been in touch with, this is where it stood: It’s all theory until you do it yourself. The reason: Case studies offering crucial information on how to go about it at a community level, particularly in India, which can help you evolve contextually are few and far between. Continue reading

GOING ORGANIC-4: Just compost it, dammit!

A series of articles based on my personal experience of turning our manicured garden, used to synthetic fertilisers and pesticides, into completely organic with the help of like-minded enthusiastic volunteers.

Kitchen waste composting in progress.

Kitchen waste composting in progress.

Isn’t everything that rots beautiful?

If this thought makes you cringe, then that’s probably the first hurdle you need to cross. Because when it comes to composting, there is more to unlearn than to learn. Continue reading