As Mumbai landfills fill up and the air quality deteriorates, Sumer Trinity Towers residents are playing their part in reducing the burden on the environment. Waste management in Sumer has been going on for a little more than a month, and already our first batch of compost is almost ready with the second cycle also in its initial stages. There is something incredibly magical about watching nearly 1000 kgs of kitchen waste turn into rich, earthy soil, and the fact that composting biodegradable left overs has reduced the waste sent from our building to the landfill by around 70% is just an added bonus.
The process itself is fairly simple; 3 parts of wet waste + 1 part of dry leaves and sawdust in a tumbler, to be turned for aeration 3 times a day, with the occasional addition of cow dung and amrutjal for better results, faster. And the way the process was implemented, too, was a breeze. Every day the weight of the waste was measured before adding it to the tumbler and every 3 days I myself measured the temperature and pH of the compost for an indication of which stage the process was in and how much longer it would take for the compost to be completely ready. Every week a RUR representative, usually Ms. Aparna Pandey visited the site for an update on the progress, recommending changes and checking on the process. If ever there was a strange odour, or if the mixture was too acidic, an immediate change was made to bring back the compost to optimum conditions. If a gear in the tumbler slipped, that too was rectified immediately.
Additionally, we held seminars for domestic staff to train them to segregate waste at the source itself to increase efficiency. With so many people watching the process so minutely, the compost formed fairly quickly- in just two weeks the compost in most tumblers was in the cooking stage and in three weeks it had reached peak temperatures near 55 degree Celsius. Slowly but surely the foul odour turned earthy, and our compost was ready.