Now that India has woken up to its waste problem and is proactive about phasing out landfills and bringing in Solid Waste Management plants at the municipal level, what’s next? On the horizon is the phase where decentralised waste treatment is the norm — where bulk waste producers treat their own waste at their own property.
The DLF group has developed several residential and commercial properties in Gurgaon, Haryana. As in any urban area, the residents and occupants of these buildings produce a massive amount of waste every day, which ordinarily be given over to the municipal corporation, where it might not be disposed of in the most ecologically sensitive manner. At the International Housekeepers’ Summit 2019, Shivani Bharti, General Manager-Service, DLF Home Services Private Limited showcased the various initiatives that the DLF Foundation has taken up to minimise the waste footprint of its properties:
Solid Waste Management composting plant
In 2015, DLF set up a plant at H-block, DLF Phase-1 with the help of M/S Green Bandhu. Residents of this property have been sensitised to the methods and benefits of effective organic waste management. Consequently, people make sure that their waste is segregated, and the organic component is directed to the plant.
The plant processes 3,000kg of organic waste per month, which produces around 500kg of compost. This compost is sold back to DLF residents for about `10-15 a kilogramme, which can be used to fertilise balcony and kitchen gardens. By directing waste back to the waste producer, this ensures that no part of the organic waste generated at the property is sent out, and that the advantages of organic waste management are directed to those working to make it happen. This completes the waste cycle.
Sewage Treatment Plant
Not all waste can be collected and handed over by conscientious residents. Hence, DLF has established a zero discharge Sewage Treatment Plant at its DLF 5 property. About 400 cubic metres of de-watered sludge is produced daily, and three million litres of potable water are saved per day, by using treated water from the plant for flushing purpose, rather than relying on municipal water. This plant also benefits the community by providing employment to 15 people.
At DLF Magnolias, waste segregation is done in every household. Kitchen waste is segregated and processed with sawdust and bio-culture, before it is turned into manure. This manure is provided free of cost to residents, and amounts to 350kg of organic waste being processed every single day.
Training domestic staff
Shivani Bharti says, “At the end of the day, the garbage is segregated by the domestic help in each apartment, not by residents. So, a few residents have taken the initiative to form NGOs which train all the domestic help and educate them about how garbage segregation needs to be done.” Considering the size of the property and the number of domestic workers, these awareness classes are held twice a week.
Other waste reduction measures
Lubricant oil and batteries from automobiles are disposed of through authorised vendors, who are often the same entity as the supplier of the product. E-waste such as printer cartridges are also collected and responsibly recycled by authorised dealers.
Those who live in gated communities must be familiar with the little slips of paper issued by security personnel that allow visitors – both personal and service providers-to enter the complex. By doing away with these and replacing them with a tablet-based visitor management system, DLF has also reduced the wastage of paper.
This comprehensive range of measures to mitigate its waste footprint makes DLF an ideal, responsible waste generator which residential communities all over India must emulate.