We have completed and launched 'WasteCare Composter', a composting unit that aims to make Nashik a zero-waste city in the near future. Meant to be filled daily, these units compost the natural way, without any composing agents such as earthworms. They are light, hygenic, pest-free and easy to use.
Nashik (a small city in India) generates around 350 tonnes of solid waste daily which goes into landfills. For fast-growing city like Nashik (20% annual growth) with a population growth rate of 64% in the last decade, the projected quantity of solid waste in 2015 will be 750 tonnes – a huge amount needing urgent solutions. As per the municipal body’s estimates, nearly 40% of the waste is compostable, but only 2-3% actually gets composted. The annual amount spent on waste management is about 600 million rupees, which can be used for other social purposes if the amount of waste is lessened. As the city grapples with an increasing amount of waste and finding an appropriate system of waste management with emphasis on centralized system and huge budgetary requirements, the time has come to find alternative ways. An idea of involving the citizens to participate in taking responsibility for their own waste, which involves their participation in reducing and managing waste is our proposed solution.
Our Solution - Waste-care!
Our approach has its philosophical underpinnings on the Gandhian concept of ‘swaraj’, meaning self-rule. The prevalent consumerist culture promotes management of household waste at a huge public cost. Our innovation is in designing a self-regulated mechanism as a first step to deal with household waste in making Nashik a zero-waste city. We have designed a ‘home composter unit’ for small households and large composters for apartment buildings and corporations. The composter turns waste into good quality compost for urban gardens and farms. We aim to provide composting units to diverse segments, from individual households to gated communities to hotels and industries. Our 'Waste-Care Composter' turns bio-degradable waste into compost in 60 days through an aerobic process. Citizens of Nashik are motivated to join the waste-care movement by accepting a specially designed composter unit and regular visits by our team ensure a continuing dialogue with them for training and maintenance. Through this process, a family is able to recycle all their kitchen and garden waste and generate about 70 kg of compost within two months, and earn about $60 a year, thus taking a critical step towards ‘swaraj’ in managing waste at the source itself! This is part of our zero-waste vision to motivate families in becoming self-reliant citizens instead of depending on external agencies to manage their waste.
We aim to reach 500 families in the first year and 10,000 in the next five, which is about 5% of the total population of Nashik. This will reduce 10-15 tons of waste on a daily basis besides adding nearly $300 to the annual family income. Though the coverage is small in number at the start, it has the potential to demonstrate that home composting is a viable option. The impact is in generation of quality compost, its ability to bring return on investment for the families and showcasing a sustainable model to make zero-waste cities. Since we will maintain a database and provide training to the families on compost care and maintenance, there will be a regular dialogue to record progress and provide remedial measures. The contact with families will be once a fortnight, gradually reducing to once in three months. Each visit will be systematically documented. Another aspect of the impact we hope to achieve is filling the gap that exists in the market of good organic compost for farmers. The linkage with farmers is a critical step in connecting urban citizens with food-growers for a sustained dialogue and relationship essential for healthy living and co-creating an eco-conscious world.
Our Project - The WasteCare Composter