Mythri Maiden: Journey to Waste Seggregation

03 Nov 2015

This is kind of Nostalgia note on our journey to waste segregation.

Mythri Maiden is a small apartment with 28 housing units. Almost an year ago, we started segregating waste with a simple idea: “being a small community does not mean that we should shrug away from our duties towards our environment.”

Being Part of the community:

Instead of reinventing the wheel, we decided to walk the path many other environment-conscious citizen had walked before us. The first step was to be part of the community activities in our area. Representatives from the apartment became active members of HSRx Federation (aka, Somasandraplaya Neighbourhood Improvement Trust). Being part of the HSRx-federation helped us to know about people who have done waste management at apartment level,  to understand the issues they had faced, and the solutions they implemented at apartment level.

People such as Balasubramaniam T (Bala) from ND Sepal, Dr. Shanthi Tummala (Shanthi), and Krishnakumar (KK) from Creative Residency helped us in getting most of the information required to start the process. DailyDump ( helped us in organising a two day program to impart knowledge on segregation and composting at our apartment.

Regular Expenses for Waste Management:

We collected data on our regular expenses. We also did a calculation on how segregation is going to help us.

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BBMP tax is collected yearly and the other expenses are collected monthly.

Even though apartments with less than 50 housing units need not pay BBMP any extra charges for removing waste from their premises, contractors accept waste only with the extra payment.

Onetime Expense for Waste Management:

These are actual expenses incurred to start segregation.

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What we gain:

  • The solid wastes are now better utilised. Segregated plastic, glass bottles, card board boxes etc. are sold by the workers and the profit is for them to keep.
  • The black plastic covers used for lining reduced drastically. This helped in saving INR 100 for each apartment each month. Which translates to a saving of INR 33,600 each year at apartment level. Usage of white plastic bags, got from vegetable and provision stores, by some apartments reduced drastically after we started the segregation.
  • Wet waste and rejects are carried away by the BBMP contractor.
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The Journey:

During the first few days we faced several hurdles because of lack of knowledge on waste management, religious beliefs, and concerns on the return of investment.

People asked several questions, such as:

  • Why should I do it?
  • What would I gain by segregating the waste?
  • Why should I worry about the waste after I pay the tax? BBMP is collecting the tax. BBMP has to take care of my waste.
  • why should I waste my time segregating? The contractor is mixing the waste after collecting it from us.

Then we faced issues, such as:

  • I don’t want to touch the waste after it is produced. We are not supposed to even wash the plate in which we had food.
  • I don’t want to waste water cleaning the plastic covers and vessels in which I buy food.
  • I don’t like to throw waste to basket without plastic cover lining, because I don’t want to wash the waste bin after emptying it.

We realised that some expert talk on waste segregation and waste management will provide credibility and will help expedite the process. So we arranged a two day program in our parking lot and opened it for the neighbouring apartments as well. Santhosh and Sanjob from DailyDump helped us in educating the people. We explained the 2 Bin 1 Basket approach during these two days.

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We did a collection for Goonj (, had a stall for DailyDump, 2Bin1Bag, a drawing area for kids, and a desk for Apna Circle for those two days.

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2 Bin 1 Bag approach to segregation explained

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Santhosh and Sanjoy from Daily Dump explaining the process of segregation and composting

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Vineet, Dara, and Biju (all IT professionals) starting to distribute Bins and Baskets

Immediately after the two day program, we ordered the required number of bins and baskets along with wheeled Otto bins to collect the waste from door steps. Within a week, we distributed the bins and basket, and a pamphlet.

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We explained the waste segregation process and specifics of implementation for our apartment at each door step:

  1. Each household will segregate the waste according to the pamphlet distributed.
  2. Each household will place the Green bin with the wet waste outside their main door around 09:00 AM everyday. Plastic lining should not be used in the bin. If required, thin paper lining is fine.
  3. An employee will pick up this wet waste, transfer it to the green Otto bins with wheels, and will carry it to the exit point.
  4. No one except this employee will put the wet waste directly in the green Otto bins.
  5. Owners will dispose dry waste saved in the basket at the designated area every Saturday and Sunday evening around 1600 hrs.
  6. Employees will segregate the waste and will sell the dry waste that they could. The amount they get from the sales is bonus for them.
  7. Owners will dispose the reject waste, collected in the red bins at their home, in the bins at a designated area every day.
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 Shiva clearing the waste from each home. He is a champion.

The journey does not stop here… we have started thinking of in-house composting of all our wet waste. Hope it would work.

For the last one year we are silently suffering stench from the near by ‘Karnataka Compost Development Corporation’ compost development plant. With the hope and expectation that whatever small steps we take at each unit level and apartment level will have a huge impact in the long run…we continue our journey.

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