Sixty percent of all waste that comes out of Indian homes is organic, wet waste and almost all of it finds it way to dump yards which create unhealthy and polluted environments. But, for every problem there is a solution. In this case, the solution comes from 50 year-old Bengaluru resident Poonam Kasturi aka Compostwali, the founder of the company Daily Dump, a brand owned by Playnspeak.
Daily Dump is a service that helps manage household organic waste (on an average, each house generates 500 gms to 1 kg of wet waste daily) by converting it into high-quality compost. Kasturi says, “Converting organic waste into compost is the best way to give back to nature what nature has given to us.” The initiative took shape in 2006 with a client base of 30. Today, Daily Dump serves around 10,000 customers in India.
This venture is currently run by Kasturi, who trained as an industrial designer from The National Institute of Design and is one of the founding faculty members of Shristi School of Art, Design and Technology in Bengaluru, along with 31 year-old Anupama Rao, a former chartered accountant at Ernst and Young and 42 year-old Pratima Rao, a marketing manager.
The Daily Dump creates a host of products, the most popular of which are terracotta composters called Khambas, ranging from Rs 800 to Rs 1,300 and Manthan, ranging from Rs 6,000 to Rs 26,000 and leaf composters, ranging from Rs 4,000 to Rs 40,000.
Khambas come in either three tier or four tier terracotta pots placed one on top of another, terracotta being the best material as it regulates moisture better than other materials such as plastic. Users are meant to put their wet waste in the topmost pot covered tightly with leaves and newspaper, and continue this process with a new load of waste everyday. On the fourth day, to hasten the process, you can add natural pesticides such as baking soda, curd or buttermilk to the waste. Leave this for 15 days, switching the top most pot with the one in the middle. After 15 days, empty this waste to the bottom pot to allow the compost to mature for 3 months, repeating the process with every new load.
Manthan works on the same principle as Khamba, but on a larger scale. It is used for large communities and comprises a large rotating drum, which creates compost from wet waste in three months.
All these products use natural processes to create compost without the use of technology. “These days, people feel that complex technology, is the best solution to any problem. But technology should only be used depending on the context. In the context of creating compost from waste, natural processes are the best solution, undoubtedly,” feels Kasturi.
Madan Kumar will attest to that. The 43 year-old resident of Waterwoods, Ramagondanahalli, Bengaluru, says, “We have been able to reduce the outflow of waste by almost 50 per cent. The community is now looking for more ways to reduce its carbon footprint.” Another user, 38 year-old Trupti Godbole adds, “We save Rs 3,000 a year by making our own compost, which was earlier spent on buying manure for the apartment garden.”
Daily Dump also aims to nullify myths about composting at home with awareness programs. Trash Trail takes place once a month, where 9 participants accompanied by experts trail the path their trash takes in Bengaluru, from homes to dump yards. Bug Walks explain the importance of bugs in the process of composting.
Currently, Kasturi is working on the prototype of a new product that creates compost within a year. “With this product all you do is dump, without stirring or adding natural pesticides,” signs off Kasturi.