Converting Waste into Useful Manure
Paritosh Sharma , founder of UntilROI and member of the NEN Experts community, spoke to Saveetha Engineering College’s NEN E Leader, Saranya Buddhi, to discuss the institute’s Vermi Compost business that profitably solves the problem of waste.
Q. Interesting initiative of Vermi Compost, what made you think of this?
A. I started Vermi Compost 3 months back with zero budget collecting waste from the construction and garden in our college, and put it in the Vermi Compost adding liquid cow-dung to the same each day. And now we have rich manure, which we are going to sell at 1KG for INR 50. We are teaching the poor to use this methodology for creating useful manure, while solving the problem of waste, increasing their standard of living.
Q. How much time is required to convert the garden waste into usable manure?
A. It takes a minimum of 1.5-2 months.
Q. How replicable is this model for the urban areas? How do I go about starting Vermi Compost?
A. Sure, it’s actually possible in every house in the city. You can use big flower pots, which are normally available at every house. You can not only use garden waste but also the kitchen waste (barring the plastics, which are non-decomposable). And it’s that easy!
Q. Any other methods of generating such manure?
A. If you consume eggs, don’t throw the shells away. Wash them with water, and keep them for 15 days. Churn them and you have usable manure with you, once mixed with the manure from the Vermi Compost. We are actually collecting egg shells from shops near our college every day and have already done a sample of the same.
Q. How are such ideas creating a wave of change amongst students in your college? Are they interested in rural India and catering to low-income segments?
A. Our college is situated strategically – surrounded by villages and hence students have a natural inclination towards rural India. Also, we have a strong E Cell with 500 members and our own facility at the college, for which we get lots of motivation and support from our professors.
To attract more students towards the E Cell, we introduced ID cards and got 15% discount from Dominos!
Q. What challenges have you faced with the Vermi Compost project?
A. Students initially laughed at me, but now that I will be selling it at INR 50/KG, almost the entire college knows what is possible and also they are taking it further creating new inroads.
Q. What support are you looking at from external agencies?
A. We do organize mentoring sessions and sure are looking for support from external agencies in terms of taking the word out. In the similar line, we have organized a major offline event with the Chennai Mayor, towards cleaning a water body, full of filth.