This self-help website is an attempt to consolidate the learning of “Freedom from Waste” implementation at my apartment Shriram Spandhana, Challaghatta over a period of 2 yrs. The approach is useful for all, some of the contacts are probably relevant to Bangaloreans. There is so much that can be done for the environment. Recycling is just the first step. Millions of tiny green foot prints are required to cover our entire earth.
If you are passionate about the environment and want to leave a legacy of a green footprint behind you, but don’t know how to do it, you have reached the right website! This is an attempt to enable and empower you by providing you a handy toolkit to be able to implement waste management in your neighbourhood. Your passion coupled with this toolkit will help you make a difference to the environment.
A clean and green environment is very important for Devishree - a nature lover and the mind behind this initiative.
The reality however is – heaps of garbage everywhere. She was brooding over the problem and was wondering what it takes to make the environment clean? The reality in terms of the huge scale of the problem dawned upon her when she attended a “sustainability workshop” conducted by Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) where she works. This strengthened her resolve to make a difference within her sphere of influence. One day when she was chatting with her apartment friends, she met Veena Krishnan who shared a similar passion to contribute towards the environment. So both of them started first by segregating at home, trying to understand the various waste streams, followed by a pilot in their blocks and before long implemented it in their apartment.
About “Freedom from Waste”: This initiative was announced on August 15th, 2011 at Shriram Spandhana This was much before the present garbage crisis grew to unprecedented proportions, and garbage segregation was a little known concept in Bangalore. It was practiced only by a sensitive few, but in October 2011, these two people with the help of the residents at Shriram Spandhana apartments embarked on an ambitious plan of achieving zero waste by segregating and either recycling or disposing waste in an environmentally friendly way. This apartment is a 12 acre property with multiple blocks, with each block having 12-16 flats. The approach and the method of implementation of waste segregation was done in a different and innovative way in this apartment. The approach they took was to ensure that residents were an integral part of the process – SPOC’s (Single Point of Contact) for each block. These SPOC’s are residents and children who take the initiative to spread awareness to residents in their block. The attempt was to put in a simple system which would be easy for any resident to follow and build awareness of the same in various fun ways like walkathons, cyclathons, plays by children, quiz at various community gatherings like independence day, republic day etc. They also realized that a lot of usable dry waste was generated, and quarterly collection drives are organised by GOONJ, an NGO, to ensure that the material is recycled.
Learning from this project is useful for all. The approach that helps is to first Start Small – start at your house – see the benefits for yourself – then Spread to your Neighborhood. Use the toolkit in this website to help get an overview. The scale of the problem is huge and therefore the purpose is to ensure a common forum for information and discussion, to learn quickly from each other and spread our little green footprints as soon as possible.
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE TOO, START SEGREGATION TODAY
During the course of the project, I realised that there are some very common problems people face. This section has three steps to help you get a head start in implementing waste management in your neighborhood. The first step is the most difficult one and could take as long as 6 months depending on the amount of time one is ready to invest.
STEP 1 – the most common problem starters face is to get a) an overall view of the possibilities in the space of waste management c) make a proposal for the apartment and c) make a presentation to the key people to enable this project to move to the next step. The information in this section will help you make a customized presentation for your area. It is possible that you will not get the budget to implement the whole project, you can start with one segregated stream, but ensure that you do not lose sight of the whole picture of your project at any time.
STEP 2 – the next step after your proposal is approved and the budget is put in place is to start implementation. As you can see this section has a lot of easy to use formats which were generated for my apartment. It also has samples of banners - various little things which do consume a good amount of time. Use these formats, modify them to suit your proposal and spend a larger effort in spreading the information to residents systematically. Spend more time in speaking to people, explaining what can be done and taking their feedback. Involve children in your efforts, residents respond very positively when they hear it coming from children.
STEP 3 – Front end - waste segregation involves a habit change, people need constant reminders to ensure that they follow the guidelines set by you. Continuous and consistent communication is key for people to get your message. Use every possible occasion that is available to communicate to them. Use creative ways - going through the “waste management can be fun” section will give you a number of possible ways which could be used for spreading the message. Also one of the common problems is dilution of your efforts since a no of people leave the apartment. Ensure that the new comers are inducted well to the system put in by you. Back end – changing a system is difficult for housekeeping too. They are uneducated but with continuous effort coupled with systems they will understand the larger purpose and comply. Managing waste especially when it is not segregated well is quite messy, understand their problems and address their issues in a humane manner.
Managing waste in a household, involves a habit change by every resident of the house. To ensure successful implementation of your project , you need to build awareness amongst residents through a consistent communication plan..
A well thought through communication plan needs to have the following elements, It should be a) Relevant b) Timely c) Engaging and d) Fun. Waste management can be integrated into existing activities in your neighbourhood eg. programs conducted for Aug 15th, Jan 26th, Festivals etc. World days (earth day, environment day etc.). It can be made fun and engaging through programs like plays, walkathons, Games, Quizes, questions on environment in breaks between programs, drawing contests for children to build awareness, giving away certificates to people who adopt practices faster, contests for residents etc. Given below are a few examples of what was done at Spandhana to communicate and engage with the residents.