13 June 2010

Recycling in India

Compost, at last! It has taken me 10 months but finally, I have organic compost from my kitchen waste. This good stuff went into my garden today and I am planning to give the rest of it away to other gardeners in the building.

I have been meaning to write about recycling for a long time now but I wanted to make it a well researched article rather than a ramble but my attempts to talk to the rag pickers in my broken telugu have come to naught so I am just writing up what I do. May be you are doing something that I too can co-opt?

Compost: All my kitchen waste and pigeon poop goes into my compost bin. You can look at picture of my Khamba here. To get one, visit www.dailydump.org; If you think that living in Bangalore is a prerequisite to owning this beauty, then let me shatter that notion - Just call Daily Dump and they will give you the contact number for the city you live in. I recently did that to source a compost for my brother in law in Delhi, so I know it works. Doing the compost is a little bit of commitment. For example, all the kitchen stuff has to be finely chopped up and you have to stir the mix around every couple of days. My compost has also turned into a friendly hang out place for lizards and it was freaky to have them in there. But, live and let live eh?

Plastic: You would be surprised at the number of plastic things that are recyclable. Milk bags, shopping bags, even the plastic that your sugar or dal or rice comes packed in. I basically collect all this plastic, rinse if wet and dry. I put this away in one paper bag along with empty plastic bottles (Shampoo, Harpic, Lotion etc). When the bag bursts its seam, I just tie up all the loose plastic stuff and put the bag out right next to our local garbage can. Ok, so I have indirect proof that this stuff is useful - 1) The bag always disappears - I did peak into the stinky bin once to make sure it didn't get tossed in there. 2) A, my maid, now takes it to the raddiwala and gets money for it.

Paper: Most people recycle newspaper. But what about cardboard boxes (like the one your cereal came in) or milk boxes (the tetra packs are recyclable!)? My principle is simple: if its made of paper and is not soiled, then it can be recycled. Similar to the plastic bag, I have a separate paper bag in which I now throw away receipts from stores I know I don't need and all the silly notes I write lists on. A manages to sell all the content of this bag as well.

I still have garbage - plastic bags with oily stuff in them, lint, pigeon feathers (they compost very very slowly) etc, but on an average I take out my garbage once a week. My bin is not large BTW, it can only hold about 15 L of water. Also, my bin never smells.

Inspired to recycle now?

1 comment:

  1. Hey Megha

    Great stuff on composting, was thinking of something like this for our base at kamshet www.nativeplace.com

    Thanks :-0) drop in when at kamshet next

    Peace , Bliss & Happy Landings

    Sanjay & Astrid Rao