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The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), has given its approval to a proposal that makes garbage segregation mandatory, for all existing residential and commercial societies. The BMC took the decision, based on the Bombay High Court’s directions and the state government is expected to give its sanction to the proposal, on a priority basis.
While the city’s authorities grapple with the problem of exponentially growing waste, RUR (Are you Reducing Reusing Recycling) Green Life Pvt Ltd, has been working on sustainable waste management solutions like composting and dry waste recycling and awareness programs for individuals, schools, professionals and societies, since 2009.
“Segregated waste leads to 80% reduction in waste being dumped, thus, reducing the burden on the burgeoning landfills in Mumbai,” says Monisha Narke, founder and CEO of RUR Green Life. “Although Indians practice recycling in many forms, we are seldom aware about the waste we generate. This waste is collected, transported and dumped into landfills or simply burnt in many areas, leading to greenhouse gas emissions of carbon dioxide and methane,” explains Narke who has a master’s in industrial engineering and engineering management from Stanford University.
“For sustainable and decentralised waste management systems, one needs the ‘three bin approach’ at source (house/office), where the waste is separated into wet biodegradable waste, dry recyclable waste and non-recyclable waste. It is only when the waste is segregated, can it be converted it into a valuable resource for creating a cleaner and greener planet,” she maintains.
Tips on waste management from Monisha Narke of RUR Green Life Pvt Ltd
- One step, would be to weigh your daily waste at home and then keep track on how you are reducing the weight and volume. Reducing, is pivotal to ensuring that waste is managed effectively.
- Refuse non-recyclable waste, like thin gauge plastic bags and adopt reusable cloth bags. Carry a water bottle with you, to avoid using disposable plastic bottles.
- Shop wisely and only for things that you need, by making a list. Preferably, opt for larger volumes for shampoos/detergents, etc., to reduce packaging waste.
- There are many green steps we can take, to turn waste into a resource. Reuse everything that you can – for example, print or write on both sides of paper and use refillable ink pens.
- Recycle, by segregating waste and bio-composting kitchen and horticultural waste.
Bin Se Bench Tak: An innovative approach to waste management
Bin Se Bench Tak, is an initiative to promote the recycling of tetra pack cartons into garden benches. A single garden bench is made from 6,900 tetra pack cartons within a span of two weeks. For the past six years, RUR has tied up with various outlets (Sahakari Bhandar and Reliance Fresh) across Mumbai, where people can drop used tetra pack cartons. The project has even been mentioned in the Limca Book of Records in ‘Development in Recycling’.
Waste management in housing societies
Collective waste management is best way to manage waste and housing colonies can contribute in a big way, maintains Narke, who has implemented various waste management projects for housing colonies in Mumbai. One such example is Ashok Tower, in Parel, Mumbai, where the residents (almost 570 families) along with the help of experts from RUR Green Life, have begun segregating 100% of the waste generated in the complex.
Segregating the waste into dry and wet at every home in this complex, is the first step. Further the waste is divided into seven categories – plastic, metal, paper, e-waste, organic, glass and mixed trash. “The organic waste that is collected from all the houses, is sent to six compost drums that use aerobic bio-composting microorganisms to turn it into nutrient-rich compost. This manure is used to nurture the plants growing in the huge complex. There are separate bins for electronic waste and tetra packs that are later used for recycling. The society treats its sewage water, which is reused to water the gardens and in flush tanks,” informs Payal Kalra, a managing committee member.
Kalra, along with Nithya Sundarsan and Juhi Naag of Ashok Tower, also conducted workshops for the residents and maids, to make them aware of waste segregation. “We are glad that our residents are conscious and each one is doing their bit, to segregate garbage. Ultimately, we all want to breathe fresh air and leave behind a healthy environment for our children,” says Kalra. Narke agrees and adds that housing complexes should allocate some space in the premise, for waste management. “With the compost generated from the waste, you can even plant more trees, or grow a terrace or kitchen garden to contribute to a greener environment,” suggest Narke.