The Clean Chennai @ Home workshop at Adyar had several participants who were keen on composting

An engaging discussion at a workshop organised by The Hindu at Adyar on Saturday saw residents of the city determined to commence composting at home.

At the end of the session, which saw some interesting questions and illuminating answers, participants seemed keen on beginning composting — a stepping stone for environment-friendly solid waste management. The questions ranged from what to do with the plastics collected at home to the containers to be used for composting.

(Download a list of useful tips here http://thne.ws/cc-fridgesheet)

Navneeth Raghavan, one of the speakers, stressed the need for understanding the process of composting to cope with challenges pertaining to simple products available in the market.

She recounted how a woman struggled to make optimum use of her three-tier composting containers without understanding that the material in one of the containers had already decomposed.

The woman believed that her dump was overflowing and had started disposing the biodegradable waste out on the street.

Such composting products help households manage their organic waste by converting into compost.

Ms. Raghavan noted that compost is sweet-smelling, dark, earthy and nutrient rich. Composting reduces the volume of waste by 80 percent.

“Our organic waste reaches large dumping sites which are illegal and unscientific. This adversely affects communities and bio-diversity,” she added.

“Each bag dumped by a household is full of resources. Around 60 percent of the waste generated at home is organic and 20 percent is recyclable,” said Ms. Raghavan.

Another speaker, Preethi Sukumaran of Krya, said the residents could manage organic waste at source and reduce the spending on municipal solid waste management.

She stressed the need for research on affordable technology for recycling the mix of plastic with aluminium.

“When you buy a packet of chips, the outer cover, usually made of metallised plastic, is waste created. This metallised plastic will go to a landfill and sit there for hundreds of years,” said Srinivas Krishnaswamy, another speaker.

A number of participants raised questions on local initiatives to set up collection bins for e-waste, including CFL lights and tubelights. Now, the e-waste collection is done by private players. But there is yet to be a successful model for collection of e-waste from households.

Workshops:

Pdfs of presentations made at Clean Chennai @ Home workshops in Adyar (Sep 7) and Nungambakkam (Sep 8)

Composting by Navneeth Raghavan

Garbage segregation by Navneeth Raghavan

Managing garbage effectively by Srinivas Krishnaswamy & Preethi Sukumaran

Here is a quick guide to start composting and recycling: http://thne.ws/cc-fridgesheet

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