Five months is sufficient time to make all those errors from which one can learn to do something the right way. This is what residents of Ramaniyam Eden, a gated-community in Velachery, are likely to say.
For, it took them five months of trial and error to perfect their waste segregation-and-composting strategy.
At the end of this period, they were left with 25 kg of compost. Ramaniyam Eden Flat Owners Association started promoting waste segregation among residents of the gated community in February. The initiated it in a dramatic fashion, staging a play with waste segregation as theme.
S. Praghathi, a volunteer engaged in promoting the initiative, says initially, sessions were organised to educate both residents and helpers on how waste is classified and how it should be segregated. They also went from door to door explaining the need for waste management.
Each household was requested to have two bins, one green and the other red, and one bag for waste collection. The green bin is meant for collecting organic waste, red bin for reject waste and the bag to store recyclable waste. Residents pooled in money and purchased bins and bags in bulk.
The reject waste is handed over to the conservancy staff of the Greater Chennai Corporation and the recyclable waste is sold to vendors such as Kuppaithotti.com and Trashgaadi.
The decomposable waste is retained and subjected to composting. The composting unit at the apartment complex includes 15 drums with a capacity of 300 litres each and five housekeeping staff man the unit.
“Of the 160 flats in the community, 145 are occupied. Out of these, residents of 120 flats have extended their support and cooperation to the initiative. Every day, around 90 to100 kg of bio-degrdable waste and 10 to 12 kg of recyclable waste are generated.
We have not weighed the “reject” waste yet. We take pride in the fact that the amount of waste that goes to the landfills from our apartment complex has reduced drastically,”says Sripriya Seshadri, another volunteer of this initiative.
Next, the gated community plans to educate vendors in the vicinity of Ramaniyam Eden to avoid using polythene carry bags. In this connection, it has approached a trader who sells plantain leaves near the apartment complex.
“We have requested him to sell banana leaves that have gone dry for a lesser price to flower vendors. Similarly, we have approached a few departmental stores and requested them to offer their customers cloth bags instead of polythene bags, and charge them accordingly,” says Srividya Ranganathan, another volunteer.