In 2017, when the Swacch Bharat Misson began, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) mandated all housing societies with more than 200 flats to do complete segregation of waste at source – into wet and dry waste, and total in-house wet waste management.
The Managing Committee (MC) of Sea Breeze CHS Ltd decided to go full steam and adopt all the measures that would make the society compliant. Sea Breeze CHS is one of the oldest and largest societies along the iconic Palm Beach Road, in Sector 16, Nerul. The society comprises of 10 towers with 28 flats in each, making it a total of 280 flats, with about 1000 residents.
At the first stage, all residents were asked to segregate their waste into wet, dry and reject waste as per the Waste Segregation Guide distributed to all households in the society. Simultaneously, the housekeeping team was trained on how to collect the segregated waste separately for further processing.
Unsegregated waste would be left at the doorstep of the residents. Such households were told that they would need to manage the disposal by themselves.
Choosing a composting solution
The Municipal Corporation (MC) at the same time started the process of identifying a suitable wet waste processing system. The MC member in charge attended various meetings and exhibitions arranged by NMMC in this connection.
The society came across many solutions, that were built on a range of technologies. They were looking for a solution that would be natural, environmentally friendly and one that would not be contrary to what we were setting out to achieve – reducing carbon footprint.
The society finally zeroed in on the composting bins solution offered by Stree Mukti Sangathana, an NGO that works for the emancipation of under privileged women. Its totally passive design, without any use of electricity in the actual composting was what drew us to this. We were told that shredding the waste before composting would help in speeding the composting process, so running the shredder for half an hour everyday would be the only electricity that would be used.
The society needed a shelter to house the composting system. A composting shed was built for this purpose and we procured two bins from the vendor.
The society finally zeroed in on the composting bins solution offered by Stree Mukti Sangathana, an NGO that works for the emancipation of under privileged women. Its totally passive design, without any use of electricity in the actual composting was what drew us to this.
Using the compost
The compost generated is being used in the society’s extensive gardens comprising 100 coconut trees, 40 mango trees, 10 jack fruit trees and many flowering plants. The quality of the compost is so good that residents buy the compost for their farms too.
The capital cost for setting up the composting units was approximately Rs 8 lakh. This included three composting bins, shredder, shed and civil works and advisor assistance from the NGO. The running cost is approximately Rs 16,000 per month. This includes consumables (culture, etc.) and payment to two ladies from the NGO who handle the composting.
The satisfaction of not sending out wet waste is the biggest reward. Currently the society is a Zero Wet Waste Society – not a single kilo of wet waste has been handed over to the NMMC waste pickup team in last three years.