Time to come clean!

The waste management mess in Bangalore was a story waiting to happen. It is also bound to happen in most of the overcrowded cities today. While we can, in all righteous indignation, cite the BBMP for the mess, the responsibility of the citizens cannot be overlooked.The surrounding villages which are being used as landfills suffer grave health consequences. It’s surprising, in fact, that they took so long to protest.While the government is roping in experts to find efficient solutions to the problem, we , as citizens need to do what we can before it’s too late.

Dry Waste
ITC does a lot of useful work in collecting the dry waste. If you live in an apartment and can rope in people to segregate, then ITC will collect the waste from you.You would need to contact the local ITC contractor who collects from your area. Now, dry waste collection centers have come up in various parts of Bangalore, where you could go and give away your dry waste.

We started the waste segregation in our complex almost two years ago. We segregate the waste into paper, plastic, glass items and e-waste.

What goes into Paper?

All Scraps of paper/cardboard
Paper wrappers
Credit card slips/ bills etc.
Tissue Paper
All boxes or cartons of toothpaste, soap covers, shaving creams etc.
Used paper plates (after cleaning)
Paper cups

What goes into plastic?

All grades of plastic/metal
Polythene bags
Plastic covering of groceries (Rice Packets, Atta packets etc.)
Milk Covers (Washed & Dried)
Shiny Biscuit wrappers (These are foil)
Used Medicine Foils
Broken plastic toys (Please remove rubber parts)
Aluminum foils
Deodorant cans
Beer cans
Bottle caps (plastic/metal)
Empty toothpaste tubes
Empty plastic bottles of Coca Cola etc.

When in doubt, try to tear. Any material which you cant tear with your hand has a plastic component in it and so has to go into plastic.

We can also segregate Glass items and e-waste.

While we learn to segregate properly, it is equally important to educate the domestic help on the same. We need to ensure that we clean out any remaining food properly before putting it in the dry waste bags. Rule of the thumb is that nothing should smell.
Once we build it into our routine, it involves no extra effort. I was amazed at the amount of dry waste I generated month on month.

Wet Waste

Wet waste or kitchen waste can be composted. Composting pots are easily available now at Daily Dump outlets (http://www.dailydump.org/)
All kind of pots including the ones which enable composting in a balcony are now available.
We always associate composting with stink, but I realized that there’s hardly any smell if you do it right.
All my kitchen waste now goes to the composting pots and after a month or so, will be ready for use in my garden.

For composting techniques read the following useful links :

For a beginner, the following points will be helpful :

1.You could substitute semi done compost instead of dry leaves for faster composting. You could buy a bag of compost at your nearest nursery or from Daily Dump.
2.Sprinkle some turmeric powder once a week to keep out bugs.
3.Keep your compost on the drier side to avoid any smell
4.Keep the pot in a plate of water to avoid any bug moving in or out.
5.Start with only vegetable waste to begin with. Experiment with leftover food, gravies etc. once you get more comfortable.
6.Stir everyday if possible. This is extremely important to prevent putrification and keep any smell at bay.

Above all, you have to be comfortable with the concept of composting first and be prepared to tackle any problems that occur.

At the end of the day, it involves a bit of effort but imagine the satisfaction of not contributing to garbage / landfills or being responsible for inflicting diseases on people, who are not as fortunate to be insulated from garbage.

Image Courtsey: http://www.dailydump.org