What if we told you, whatever you throw away in that waste bin can earn you a few extra bucks? Would it make you look at your bin twice and think about what you can do with it? Or would you just prefer to ignore and let it be?
Brigade Metropolis in Bengaluru, however, chose to look at their collective bins and decided to turn their trash into a source of income for the community. In 2009, the community started Green Thumbs. A decade long waste management initiative in itself is a commendable effort.
It is indeed very significant to note that the motivation behind such exuberant dynamism is usually very simple. The residents of Brigade Metropolis only hoped to be more accountable to the society they live in. Therefore, they started off with that one issue that was available right there, in front of them.
A decade long environmental sustainability enterprise does not come without its fair share of challenges. It is an unfortunate fact that despite the overwhelming proof of an environmental crisis shadowing us, most of us refuse to participate in steps towards sustainability. Metropolis’ Green Thumbs faced the same. There was a lack of participation from the residents in the initial days. Wastes generated weren’t satisfactorily segregated at source. Most of the residents were wary of the cost of implementation of such a system in the community.
The volunteers untiringly educated residents about the long term benefits of waste management. They raised awareness one individual at a time to drive them to cooperate with the project.
The Method And Impact
Brigade Metropolis alone generates 1000 tonnes of waste. However, that bulk does not get added to Bangalore’s waste generation quota of 5000 tonnes. Wet waste gets composed on site. 80% of the generated wet waste gets turned to compost. The compost helps the community’s gardening activities. The non-dependence on market bought fertilisers help the community to save revenues on beautification of the complex. This 1600 units complex has also taken the step to shred their gardening waste, by making a one time investment of installing a shredding machine. The complex has taken baby steps towards financial sustainability by selling 95% of their dry waste to qualified vendors. The numbers show the whopping amount of waste Brigade Metropolis alone stops from sending to the landfills.
Metropolis translates to “county town”. It gives the idea of a smart and well managed community. The residents of Brigade Metropolis have made their nomenclature fitting. They have, of their own accord, created a community of wise management committee members and residents who have their eyes on the long term sustainability of their urban village.