Converting organic waste to 'black gold'

Composting services in Pune by Green Thumb
Converting organic waste to 'black gold'
Firdosh RoowallaRohan Potdar

"Consumerism” in the 21st century would be a hallmark of mankind if ever we were to be visited by an alien race. 200 years back humans used available natural resource (water, minerals, ores, etc.) judiciously and they were available in plenty. The industrial revolution coupled with the growth in financial markets and the growing population of developing and under developing countries opened a “Pandora’s box”. The race to grow and develop became particularly important and with it brought disparity in wealth, nearly complete depletion of natural resources and the greed of mankind to change from USE of natural resources to abuse of natural resources.

Urban Solid Waste Management (USWM) is now a known, identified problem and a big area of concern across all municipal corporations, housing communities, small and large organizations in developed and developing cities across India.

A government body (Municipal Corporation) trying to solve a problem created by every citizen is an impossible task. For example, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai has a daily task of collecting, transporting, and disposing 10,000 tons of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) per day. Processing this amount of waste per day by a single government organization is next to impossible. Their annual budget to collect, transport and dispose is 2000 Cr.

Composting pits in a residential complex in Pune
Composting pits in a residential complex in PuneFirdosh Roowalla

Municipal Corporations all over India are burdened with the collection, transportation and disposal or processing of the waste that we generate. Around 97% of waste is collected by municipal corporations. And around 3% is done by private organizations / individuals.

This leads to:

a. Waste of expensive resources like fuel, man hours.

b. Increasing or overburdened landfills

c. Increase in taxes and waste of taxes collected from citizens

d. Health hazards to people working on MSW and general citizens

e. Increases corruption in the system

f. Long-term impact on humans, wildlife / natural flora / fauna

g. Air pollution

h. Impact on ground and underground water

i. Increase in litigations of state vs people

The Green Thumb wants to break these barriers and make USWM an easy to understand subject; identify micro and macro problems and offer simple sustainable solutions so that a concrete road to handle USW is developed and decided upon by all concerned parties.

The Green Thumb has been involved in waste management in Pune since the last 9 years.

Composting pit with kitchen waste sorting tray on the side
Composting pit with kitchen waste sorting tray on the sideFirdosh Roowalla

The waste management process works on the model of converting your KITCHEN and GARDEN waste to compost using simple techniques, tools and equipment for composting the waste. This keeps the costs at a minimal level.

Today the Green Thumb handles organic waste for a total of 37 societies, covering 5500 families, processing over 6000 kg of DAILY kitchen and garden waste. We specialize in wet waste or organic waste recycling through proper capacity planning. A good capacity built up for the composting pits ensures the following:

1. Good capacity of the composting pits to absorb the daily waste that the society generates

2. An appropriate time is available for the operator to compost high volumes of waste easily.

3. No smell as pits fill up slowly ensuring good aeration and moisture evaporation of daily kitchen waste.

4. No smell reduces the population explosion of insects or rodents

5. Due to less operational issues people staying in the society accept the composting pits as a part of the society easily.

6. Superior quality compost which has undergone the whole aerobic composting reaction properly and which can be used in the society gardens.

7. Overall success of the whole project.

Green Thumb - Making black gold from organic waste
Green Thumb - Making black gold from organic wasteFirdosh Roowalla

The Green Thumb is promoted by Firdosh Roowalla, BE Production (Pune University), MBA (Pune University), who is pursuing a PhD in Solid Waste Management (Symbiosis International University). Firdosh Roowalla is well-known for his plainspeak and honest, transparent and practical approach to all problems, an essential quality in waste management.

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