What is GCF?

GCF is an non profit organization that offers consultancy and implementation for waste management to societies, corporates and institutions. It is a service based company and it provides end to end hand holding through the entire waste management process.

It offers  training on segregation to residents and house staff and training on composting to your housekeeping staff. We also have a field team that monitors the composting process twice a week.

It provides waste audit templates, segregation charts, videos on segregation and composting, workshops, equipment capacity and design.

What is the best method for composting? What about vermicomposting? What about 24 hour machines?

With experience GCF recommends aerobic composting for bulk composting. It is a relatively forgiving and accommodating method.

Vermicomposting provides excellent quality compost, however it is difficult to maintain. The worms are sensitive and hence only garden waste and raw food waste can be composted through this method. Moreover, a particular level of moisture must be maintained to keep the worms alive.

GCF strongly recommends against 24 hour composters, as they are similar to incinerators and the end product resembles charred wet waste. This product is unsuitable to be used as manure for plants. To learn more please check this blog post.

How much space is needed for composting?

It depends on the amount of waste generation. We have seen that a typical flat generates about 600 gms to 1 kg of wet waste daily. Keeping occasions and parties in mind we budget for the higher assumption of 1 kg per flat.  

For example, a 100 flat society with 100 kg of wet waste generation daily will need a shredder and 5 cages (4 ft*3 ft* 4 ft i.e. length*breadth*height). Keeping working space in mind, the total covered space required is 120 sq ft.

What are the costs involved waste management

For a 100 flat society:

Fixed Cost of equipment: Rs. 1500 – 3000 (Depends on whether a shredder is required or not.)

Running Cost of consumable : Rs. 150 – 250 ( Reduces to half once society generates own compost)

Service Fee: Rs. 150 – 250 per flat per month ( This is for a 4 -5 month period)

Can composting be done on the terrace?

In terms of pure logistics, the ground floor would be ideal. However, composting can be done on the terrace. It will need a shed to protect from monsoon rains. Moreover, most buildings do not have lift access to the last floor, hence the housekeeping might be inconvenienced in the last mile.

Does composting stink?

Aerobic composting means composting under the influence of air. In other words as long as air is available then the composting process will be carried out fine.

No, as long as our method is followed correctly by the housekeeping in your society the compost will not smell. It means that proportionate amounts of dry material such as cocopeat and dry leaves needs to be added to the compost cage.

Are there more rats / mosquitoes due to composting?

We recommend mild steel cages with a grill and fibre mesh below it. Moreover, the container or cage is covered at the top as well. It might be difficult for rats to gnaw at this.

Rats are attracted to the smell of food and as long as wet waste is not stored in dustbins and the smell is not there, it should be fine.

The place allocated for waste management needs to be cleaned daily. Moreover, leachate trays or liquid from compost needs to be cleared every day. Mosquitoes breed in open sources of water, they are not attracted by wet waste as such. As long as open sources of water are removed the should be any additional mosquitoes.

Are all societies mandated to do composting?

As per the BMC, societies with more than 20,000 sq ft or 100 kgs of wet waste generation are mandated to compost within premises from 31st January 2018.

However, it is only a matter of time when BMC issues notices against smaller societies. In our experience, smaller societies have also been urged and pushed by the BMC to reduce the wet waste burden for Mumbai.

Does BMC plan to give any property tax benefits to societies who are composting?

No, unfortunately not. The BMC will not provide any tax benefits to societies that compost their wet waste.  There were talks of tax exemptions by BMC, however we have heard of these exemptions being misused in Pune. Hence, the BMC is being cautious on this front

What happens to dry waste?

Our end goal is to reduce our landfill burden as much as possible. GCF ensures that dry waste from your society is plugged into the recycling chains in Mumbai. We will connect the society to your local NGO as appointed by BMC for dry waste or a waste aggregator part of a larger recycling circuit in West India.

Does GCF provide manpower as well?

No, GCF does not provide any manpower. However, we do train your society’s existing housekeeping staff. They may need to compensated accordingly for additional work or there might be a slight increase in the number of housekeeping staff.

How much compost will be generated at our society?

It depends on the input of wet waste. On an average, 30% of your wet waste with consumables are converted to compost.

What do we do with all the compost that is generated?

The composting process needs input of compost to increase the microbe content in the compost cages. A large part of compost is reused in the composting process. Any additional compost can be used for gardening purposes.

If a society is interested, GCF can connect your society with individuals that conduct kitchen garden workshops and other planting options.

Further, if there is still an excess of compost, we will pick it up from the society at a nominal cost.

We have a lot of dry leaves. What can be done about that?

Dry leaves are an excellent source of compost. Please prevent your society/locality from burning it, in case they do burn it. They should be stored in your society and used daily as a thick layer in the composting process.

Can I use a plastic bag to line my green bin/wet waste bin? Can I use compostable or biodegradable bag?

No, one cannot use a plastic bag to line any of your dustbins. These bags are non   biodegradable and the contents cannot be viewed for segregation. Moreover, a garbage bag will heavily slow down the composting process.

Maharashtra has also issued a ban on single use plastics since Gudi Padwa in March. 

Why is it 3 way segregation?

We have all heard of 2 way segregation, so why 3 way segregation? There are categories of waste such as old medicines, broken glass, used diapers and sanitary waste are not compostable or recyclable. This creates a separate category of reject waste.

Therefore, there are 3 categories of wet waste/biodegradable waste, dry/ recyclable waste and reject waste.

What is 2 bin 1 bag segregation?

We have borrowed the 2 bin 1 bag method of segregation from Bangalore. It has a colour coding for dustbins for wet waste and reject waste and a reusable bag for dry waste.

A green bin for wet waste, red bin for reject waste and a white/blue reusable bag for dry waste.

Why not use a dustbin for dry waste as well?

A bag is recommended for dry waste as it has a lot of volume and may not fit in a dustbin. For example, pizza boxes and carton packaging.

Can I use existing bins at home?

It is really important to follow colour coding similar to traffic light signals. We need colour coding to maintain a consistency when housekeeping staff are changed.

So if existing bins are used, please ensure a thick tape denoting the contents of the box are wrapped around your dustbins. Green tape for wet waste and red tape for reject dustbin.

What should I do with remains of fish and meat? They stink!

Plastic bags are banned in Maharashtra, hence we need another solution for fish and meat remains. Please keep a small bucket of mud or old compost in your house. When you add fish/meat to your green bin cover it completely with mud or compost.

How do I segregate my waste?

Please take a look at our segregation videos and our segregation kit.

What do I do with used oil?

Used oil cannot be recycled and needs to put in a bottle in the reject waste.

How often is the monitoring of segregation and composting process?

Our field team trains the housekeeping staff on segregated collection of wet waste and composting process. We provide bi-weekly monitoring however initially it might be more to ensure that implementation is done correctly.

Why does the society have to weigh wet, dry and reject waste?

It is important for waste management analytics, to understand if segregation is being carried out correctly. Moreover, it is for a society to know its impact and how much waste they have saved from going to a landfill.