This article is supported by SVP Cities of India Fellowship
Bengaluru has always grappled with migration and population explosion. As a result, the city produces more than 5,000 tonnes of waste every day. With a faulty garbage transport system and contractor mafia, the city runs into garbage problem every now and then. The identified landfills around the city keep filling fast.
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Bengalureans have always tried to come up with waste-management systems, starting from garbage bins to clean up drives and from a no-bin to a three-bin system. Even so, garbage dumps became rampant in Bengaluru. Indiscriminate burning of garbage also became a menace.
There have been many initiatives of stopping people from throwing their waste on the streets and collecting them in a scientific manner. Kasa Kiosk is one such initiative. This is a manned kiosk to collect kasa, which loosely translates to waste.
Kasa Kiosk and Kasa Rasa centres
The first monitored waste collection station came into existence on December 18, 2018 at Murugeshpalya. It was a joint initiative of Omega Healthcare Management Service Pvt Ltd, BBMP and Saahas, a non-profit organisation.
The kiosk has the facility to collect three categories of waste:
- Biodegradable waste (wet waste)
- Non-biodegradable waste (dry waste)
- Hazardous / reject waste
Manned by two staff, the kiosk collected 135 kg waste in the first three days. After collection of the waste, it is sent for further segregation and processing to waste management centers.
In December 2018, two decentralised waste management centers, Kasa Rasa (meaning ‘value from waste’ in Kannada) were launched by SAAHAS. These centers aided in segregation of waste.
The dry waste that came from collection centers was manually segregated here, into several categories according to the density, colour, material, texture etc. It is then sent for recycling.
The wet waste is processed and transformed into compost and biogas with the help of the Organic Waste Composter (OWC) and compost pits. It is kept for 30 days in the compost pit, maintaining the carbon-nitrogen balance.
Food waste is used in biogas unit to produce methane or cooking gas.
Wilma Rodrigues, founder of SAAHAS Zero Waste, said: “The center receives 600 kgs of dry waste and 300-400 kgs of wet waste daily. It is meant to be a decentralised waste management center for both wet and dry.”
The idea is to show how each ward can manage waste. But the center itself cannot manage the entire ward’s waste.
“The capacity is to manage 600 kg wet waste upto 1 tonne of dry waste per day. Then dry waste goes to different recyclers,” Rodrigues said to Citizen Matters
The fight against plastic has been a long one in Bengaluru. One-time use of plastic was banned to control the plastic output. There is a recycling industry that functions effectively.
The problem lies with the single use, low value plastic which cannot be recycled. To address this, Bengaluru-based recycling enterprise Swachha Eco Solutionscame up with a novel idea to produce non-slippery recyclable tiles from low value plastic waste.
Low value plastic is collected from dry waste collection centers, industries, rag-pickers etc. “It is then segregated manually according to the colour and density for further processing. The stickers are removed, paper is separated and the coloured waste is kept aside,” says Victoria D’Souza, the founder of Swachha Eco Solutions.
The plastic is ground in a machine to produce smaller particles. The process is quite similar to the conversion of wheat to flour. The particles are processed through a shredder machine having different temperature bands. It produces a plastic rope-like structure which goes into a cooling tank. It is further processed into granules. The colour of the granules depends on the colour of the waste. No colour is added separately. These granules are used in manufacturing plastic tiles.
The recyclable tiles are yet to be released in the market, awaiting government approval.
A school to learn composting
India’s first composting school was opened for public in December 2018, in Hosur-Sarjapur Road (HSR) Layout, located in South-East Bengaluru.
Swachhagraha Kalika Kendra displays composting solutions to help people understand different methods of composting waste in homes and communities. Almost every waste management enterprise in Bengaluru has come forward to showcase their composting solution, here. The park is open on Monday, Tuesday and Friday for people who want to visit and learn. The cost, capacity, material and quality of the compost produced vary.
For processing, most solutions featured here need microbes in the form of microbial cocopeat, an environment-friendly biotechnology product. Wet waste is mixed with required amount of microbial cocopeat.
Chitra Praneeth, volunteer of HSR Citizen Forum says, “Once the compost container is full, leave it aside for 45 days. On the 45th day, the compost becomes ready if the optimum conditions are maintained.”
Most of the solutions have holes and compartments for the air circulation which helps absorb the moisture in the waste.
Composter ‘Aaga’ by Daily Dump can process up to 20 kg of waste per day while ‘Ghana’ by Soil and Health can hold up to 50 kg a day. These are meant for small apartments and communities.
There are smaller solutions like Marigold, Orbin Stax, Morph, Shishira and others that help process different types of wet waste, including leaf litter.
If one wants to learn about different methods of composting, or wants to compare and choose the best possible option, this is one place to visit.
Bengaluru’s vibrant crowd thus continues to work out various methods of waste management like no other city in India, in the wake of the Swachh Bharat Mission.
Note: Shree D N contributed to this article. Videography, script, voice, editing: Jude Weston.
This article is supported by SVP Cities of India Fellowship. This is a part of the series on Innovative solutions for handling waste.