August 28, 2011

The Kabini Manifesto on Waste/Life Management

Waste is a threat, perhaps it is a lighter word. Waste is a curse and a needless one at that. What we do about it is entirely our responsibility. And come to think of how we shirk responsibility, nowadays, anybody talking about waste management is considered a green warrior. I would say that those who manage waste are just conducting the fundamental duties as enshrined by the constitution and nothing spectacularly out of the world. It is our duty to leave the earth cleaner than we found it.

It is in this context that at Kabini, we are striving to be sensible about waste and aim to spread the message as far as our influence can. There are critical issues in which a place like Kabini must move ahead in the coming years. They are the manifestos on waste management, energy management, conservation management with life management running as common thread across all.

The Kabini Manifesto

- No plastic in the campus. Whether by reducing intake or by recycling after usage, plastic must face death at our hands.

- Segregation to be seamless and effortless in the long run. Plastic, paper, metal, glass, waste plastic, tetrapacks, egg-shells, e-waste, napkins, sachets and their associates to be segregated and respectfully recycled.

- Besides segregation, designate a place to keep waste wood, steel, plumbing material, switches, pipes, wires so that they can be put to use later.

Plastic Bottles PET, a subset of the larger plastic-chemical industry must be reduced. We thus purchase Kent systems while increasing the price of bottled mineral water, while sending a message to the consumer not to buy PET because of the inherent damage to the environment. The waste water from the RO systems is directed to the gardens.

- Recycle A4 papers in its entirety. First use both the sides, then send it to the segregation unit. Get a rubber stamp made that says "We only use recycled paper" and show it to the world.

- Start an organic garden. Even if the production is low, the message gets conveyed. And reverse the hesitation over organic products. Instead of the conventional higher rates, sell organic stuff at half the market price of that day and still make money.

- Reuse everything that is lying waste, especially those which the world feels just has no utility left at all. Reuse everything and see what happens. First use is made of the tonnes of waste wood lying around, then old pipes and then just about everything. The carpenter makes magic with wood, the plumber saves money from old pipes and the electrician has enough stock to last a year without fresh purchase.

- Consciously learn from the ones who have lived at a particular place for long periods and I have been blessed to stay at a place that has a documented history of more than 150-200 years when the place was used for elephant capturing. The senior people who live here are a treasure house of knowledge. Learn from their experiences on how much sand is adequate for building a wall, how knives can be sharpened, what is to be designed and in what way

- Set up a consolidated Decentralised Wastewater Treatment System, to take care of the wet waste that is generated in large amounts. This will be the final answer for waste generated in toilets, kitchen and dining areas and if as a result we get bio-gas and reusable water, nothing can top that.

- Save energy. A big challenge at Kabini as we are naturally disadvantaged. First step - finish replacing all bulbs with CFL and slowly with LED. Reduce usage of the generators by several hours a day. Compel drivers to increase their fuel efficiency. Move towards solar energy especially for heating solutions. Reduce spillover in the water tank, install power saver switches in the rooms, bath tubs are being removed.

- Our vegetable waste is now sold to the milkman who for 30 years had been taking it free. Now they pay us with five litres of milk daily. In the near future, we may start our vermicomposting unit and sell compost in good looking packs as organic compost or something.

- Use waste newspapers and old hammock strings to create carry bags to keep products sold at our Earth Shop.

- Dry leaves that were burnt are now to be collected. The collected material is strewn across the slightly big forest that we have inside the campus to convert into humus.

- Old logs to be reused in producing soil. They are kept at strategic places and people are made to understand the utility of insects and other organisms in converting organic matter into soil.

- Repackage the philosophy of treating people who collect waste. One way of doing that is to make good looking dustbins intricately designed by our carpenter that is easy to maintain and extremely attractive. Just by being positioned at a place, people should be attracted to see the dustbin and it is here that we spread the message of cleanliness to them.

In the Forest of the night