Solid Waste Management at Mahindra Eminente
Mahindra Eminente is a cooperative housing society situated in Goregaon West. It has 4 towers (25 floor each) having a total of about 250 apartments. It has a large podium with landscaping and it has fairly large open space with trees and other greenery.
Need for SWM
The BMC has been communicating the need for segregation at source for some time now. In addition to that the large amount of green ‘waste’ at the society necessitated the need to put together a solution to utilize the same. A few likeminded citizens came together to explore how we could implement solid waste management (SWM) at the society
The following steps were undertaken he following steps were undertaken by during the implementation process:
- Secondary research
- Field visits
- Solution Finalization
Solid waste management is not a new concept. Solutions for taking care of all types of household waste already exist. Our first step was to research the various solutions that were out there. We came across the group from Bangalore which has been implementing SWM at over 1.5 Lakh households. Their website www.2bin1bag.in gave enormous amount of information to get us started. They have documented their learnings in the form of a “Solid Waste Management Manual” which gives a step by step guide to implementing SWM at a society. Apart from this source we also researched various types of composting methodologies used in India and elsewhere.
One important step we undertook was to actually see SWM in action at several societies in Mumbai and Thane. This gave a first-hand experience of how people had implemented SWM at their societies, what challenges they had faced and therefore what method would be suitable for our society. The interactions we had with some of the citizens involved in this process at their societies was absolutely invaluable. They certainly helped us arrive at the solution we decided to implement at our end, Some of the societies / sites we visited during the process were:
Vijay Nagar Society, Andheri East
Marathon Era – Lower Parel
Ashoka Towers – Parel
Tarangan – Thane
Kores Towers – Thane
The focus at these sites was to understand two key aspects; how were they segregating their waste and how were they subsequently handling it, especially the green waste.
Solution Finalization –
Based on the various interactions and field visits, we zeroed in on a few vendors/ agencies who we thought could help us set up the infrastructure at our society and asked for quotations from them.
Here are the steps we followed during the implementation of the final solution. We largely followed the SWM Manual published by the Bangalore group.
- Getting the MC on board – One of the first steps was to get the managing committee of the society fully on board and get their formal approval for the SWM program. This we feel is an important first step for any society. We also formally announced the intention to implement SWM during one of the society AGM meetings and also got the approval of the society to go ahead.
- Segregation plan – we decided to go for 3 level segregation – wet, dry and reject waste. The plan was to provide 3 colour coded bins to each household. Green bin for wet waste, blue bin for dry waste and red bin for reject waste. We also insisted that the residents not use any plastic garbage bag especially for lining the green bin.
- Procuring the bins – here we were helped by the local corporator who provided us with green and blue bins. The red bins were procured by the society directly.
- Creating a volunteer team – In order to implement segregation amongst residents, we knew it was going to be critical to recruit a volunteer team. We identified a core group of 30 residents who would form the initial volunteer team.
- Segregation trial – As a first step we distributed the segregation kit to them and asked them to implement segregation at their home. The segregation kit consisted of the following:
- 3 bins with lids
- Laminated Segregation chart to be put up inside their home where they place the bins
- List of FAQs – these were commonly asked questions and their answers
The volunteers followed the process at their homes for about 10 days. This served two purposes. Firstly they became very confident that they could easily implement segregation at their house and it was a fairly easy thing to implement. Secondly this set of residents formed the team for training the rest of the residents on segregation.
- Segregation roll out – Post successful implementation of the pilot, we decided to roll this out to other residents too. We used the initial volunteer team to train the residents on how to segregate at their home. Simultaneously, we also procured separate bins for the housekeeping staff to collect the segregated waste from the homes and trained the staff as to how they should collect the waste.
Management of dry and wet waste
It is critical to ensure that bulk of waste is either recycled (dry waste) or composted (wet waste). We have identified vendors who collect the dry waste (paper, plastic, metal, wood etc.) from the society on a periodic basis. This ensures that none of the dry waste goes to the landfill and also generates income for the housekeeping staff.
We have put together infrastructure for composting of wet waste. The resulting manure is used for our podium garden. We also intend to conduct kitchen gardening workshops amongst the residents to encourage them to grow at least a few plants at home using the manure we generate.
Solid waste Management at a society level is not difficult. It just needs a bunch of dedicated individuals who follow and implement a proven set of processes and deploy products that have already seen success elsewhere. The Green Societies service aims to remove the ambiguity and uncertainty associated with Solid Waste Management and help societies reap all the associated benefits.