It's all about recycling low-value dry garbage...

It's all about recycling low-value dry garbage...

It's all about recycling low-value dry garbage...

Sixty per cent of the city’s garbage could be segregated as wet waste to eventually produce tonnes of nutrients-rich manure. But another 30 per cent is recyclable dry waste, only a third of which is currently seen as worth recycling!

Reason: The recyclers and ragpickers find profit only in the high-value portion.

The bulk of the dry waste, the low-value papers and plastics, ends up on the road to the landfills.

For a City struggling to reduce the load on landfills, this model was definitely unsustainable.

A strategy had to be evolved to make even the low-value dry waste economically viable. Dictated by the demand for high-value dry waste, ragpickers would pick up only such items.

This had to change. Saahas, a City-based waste management organisation took up the challenge.

It identified early that transporting such dry waste was an issue.

Explained Saahas founder-member, Wilma Rodrigues, “Taking the low-value dry waste to far away collection centres proved costlier than the scraps’ value. It made economic sense to aggregate the waste and charge a service fee from the generators.”

Setting up two waste management facilities called “Kasa Rasa” in Ejipura and Koramangala 6th block, Saahas found space for both wet and dry waste collection and segregation.

At the Koramangala unit, Saahas managed to enlist three apartment complexes of about 400 households, a few hundred houses and bulk generators within a radius of about four kilometers.

Today, about 800-900 kgs of dry waste comes in daily, besides 500 kgs of wet waste, Wilma told Deccan Herald.

But collection, an elaborate exercise involving a team of trained ragpickers and transporters, was only a part of the process.

The dry waste segregation had to be an labour-intensive process.

The waste had to be sorted into high, medium and low grade paper and plastic containers.

The Tetrapak cartons had to be separated for recycling as paper products of various kinds.

Saahas employed six to ten employees at the Kormangala centre. Many were busy taking out the coloured papers from bundles of corporate annual reports printed mainly on white sheets.

“The coloured papers are considered low gradeThe recyclers reject them while taking material for white paper products such as notebooks, notepads and envelopes.”

However, these papers had their use in manufacture of toilet and tissue papers, files and other harder material.

To further streamline the Tetrapak aggregation process, Saahas introduced collection boxes in apartments, schools and corporate offices.

It also linked up with various scrap dealers and waste retrievers to collect about 30 tonnes of post consumer Tetrapaks every month.

The paper component which makes up about 75 per cent of the package is recycled back into paper products. The remainder that includes polyethylene and aluminum is recycled into different products including roofing sheets.

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