Purva Fairmont – Apartment Waste Management

Bangalore city is an important commercial city in South India and known as the silicon valley of India. The city is generating 5000 tons of waste daily.This waste was collected in a mixed format and dumped in nearby villages. Because of severe pollution and health hazards in the dump areas the local villagers protested and with the intervention of court the dumping was banned. Therefore the city administrators had to find ways to address the huge waste. The city was forced to regulate the waste management.

The Bangalore city corporation classified the large apartments as bulk generators of waste and mandated them to segregate and manage waste by themselves. In order to initiate waste segregation, the Bangalore city corporation introduced “2 BINS AND 1 BAG” model in 2013.

This case highlights the ideation, planning and implementation of a decentralized waste management model in Purva Fairmont apartment at Bangalore which is comprised of 324 houses.

Approach:

The residents of Purva Fairmont formed a committee and educated the residents about the needs and ways of segregation. Further they explored solutions to manage different categories of waste segregated such as Wet/Organic waste, Dry waste, Reject waste, e-waste etc. Out of these, wet waste management seemed to be the most challenging. After collaborating with vendors and apartment volunteers, the committee studied the pros and cons of existing composting machines and techniques. They concluded with the following requirements for an effective wet waste management method:

A sustainable composting model well suited for apartment complex.
Affordability of the composting setup.
Ease of composting for the workers.
The compost generated should be of good quality.
Thereafter in 2013, the committee representatives met Mr. Vasuki from Sudh Labh. They also visited Sudh Labh’s first trial run composting digester which was managed by a community of 80 odd apartments mostly of senior citizens.The major advantages of this model were:

Simple structure and set up.
Ease of composting and less effort by workers.
Easy Maintenance, lesser construction and machine cost compared to existing facilities.
Capacity building and training was simpler.
Electricity independent and there is no complex machinery required.
Easy to correct the mistakes and change the process according to the conditions.
Lesser operational cost compared to existing machines.
Minimal smell and worms.
Minimum amount of the carbon source against the feed stock.
We can recycle the compost generated by mixing it with fresh composting medium.
Above all, this process generates good quality compost.
This inspired the committee to set up Sudh Labh’s digester in their apartment.

SUDH LABH’s composting digester:

The composting set up comprises of a ventilated digester and composting medium, provided by Sudh Labh. This composting medium is a patent pending specially formulated coco peat based product developed and supplied by Dr. Joshy V Cherian.

The wet waste and composting medium in dry compacted form should be taken in a ratio of 1:1/8. Further the medium is hydrated, mixed with wet waste and deposited in the ventilated digester (dimensions provided at the end of the document). The final compost generated can be recycled by mixing it with fresh composting medium in 1:1 ratio.

Challenges:

Criteria for setting up the digester:

It should be spread across the complex.
It should have good air circulation so that the smell can be wafted away in the wind.
Good sunlight for better moisture management.
At least 10 feet away from home and 3 feet away from the compound wall so that the residents don’t feel that they are near a composting area.
Should have good drainage to clean the area thoroughly every day.
Strong concrete base so that 3000 kg unit doesn’t sink in.
Good roof to avoid rain water.
Space to remove compost.
Work around space to clean.
Should not affect aesthetic value of the building.
The waste was mixed in a room and put into each digester. We fill the digesters one after another. Therefore we get enough time(40 to 45 days) before it is opened for compost harvesting.

Result:

By the end of 2016, the apartment had fully functional five digesters which yielded good quality compost.
Purva Fairmont processed 250 kgs of Wet Organic waste and produced approximately 80 to 150 kgs of compost once in 2 days.
After initial struggles, the residents turned to be very cooperative with the process.
Few residents still complain but they are made comfortable and accommodative by continuous engagement.
This composting process is great for environment, this case gives an analysis of the contribution made by an apartment to preserve our mother Earth.
Many more got inspired with this facility at Purva Fairmont apartment in HSR sector and have adopted the same.