How A Mumbai Society Cracked The Zero-Waste Model

It all started when municipal garbage bins were placed near the entrance to Mumbai’s Vijay Nagar Housing Society in Andheri. With over 2,000 families living here, these bins quickly filled up and garbage began to accumulate and overflow and residents had no option but to tolerate the sight and smells every time they entered and exited the society. Deciding enough was enough; the society got together and adopted a zero-waste model which radically brought down their garbage output. We list the ways in which this model was cracked by these residents.

1) To start things off, society members used various mediums of communication like street plays, posters and banners to sensitise residents about the importance of waste management.

2) They distributed bins to different households to collect wet waste, dry waste and bio-medical waste in the society along with instructions on what goes in where.

3) They roped in two organizations-the Stri Mukti Sangathana and the Aakar sangathan – with the former helping them to manage their dry waste while the later helped in wet-waste management.

4) The dry waste which includes electronic waste was segregated and sold off to scrap dealers and recyclers, with reusable items being refurbished and sold again by different agencies.

5) The wet waste was gathered in bio-composting pits installed behind each building. This was then composted, crushed and converted into manure. With nearly 500 kilos of manure produced every month, the society actually packages it under the ‘Harit Vasundhara’ brand and sells it in the open market.

6) Only about 10% of the society’s total waste is sent to the dumping ground and even this consists only material which cannot be recycled such as diapers, used sanitary napkins and bio-medical waste.

7) In past 15 months, the residents claim to have prevented nearly 100,000 kilos of waste from being sent to the city’s overcapacity landfills with nearly 4,500 kilos of dry garbage being recycled every month.

8) This remarkable zero-waste model has generated immense interest, with local authorities and government bodies using this as an example to help other societies reduce their waste output.

If you too want to try this model out in your society, you can write to Mahesh Athalye of the Vijay Nagar Housing Society at to find out more.

Reporter : Ashwini Priolker, NDTV
Web Editor : Nikhil Narayan Sivadas, NDTV