Setting trends

A greenie’s eccentric eco-friendly pursuits

Harpreet’s waste disposal plant collects garbage from 4 colonies to make organic manure, eco-bricks & cow dung pots

Deepkamal Kaur

Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, January 12

While the Local Bodies Department has failed to set up a proper waste management system, a simple yet very scientific set-up for handling garbage has been created by a local entrepreneur, which has become an eye-opener for many.

With just 7-8 young boys at his disposal, Harpreet Badwal (49) has set up a waste disposing unit just outside Jalandhar bus stand, where 3 tonnes of segregated wet waste is being shredded, processed and converted into organic manure daily. Owner of Acme Engineering firm, he is not just producing manure, but also generating coco peat from coconut shells, eco-bricks out of disposable bottles and one-time use plastic, cow dung pots from cow dung collected from gaushalas and cow dung cakes of Sahiwal cow, besides organic liquid manure.

After having taken training, attending workshops and touring Indore and Bengaluru for gaining expertise, Badwal says he has recently set up his waste management units.

“My boys are daily collecting waste from Jain Colony, Kamal Vihar, Silver Oak apartments, some city-based hotels and restaurants. We have given them two coloured dustbins for waste segregation for Rs30 each. In one, they put dry waste and in the other wet. We provided training to women in these areas and even domestic helpers on how to keep the waste segregated. These houses are also paying monthly wages to my boys for lifting the waste. While the dry waste acts as incentive for my ragpickers, who sell it as scrap, the wet is re-segregated before being shredded and processed with bio-cultures at our unit.”

The process does not just end here. “The shredded waste starts decomposing after three days or so through enzymes present in it. It is then lifted and moved to the curing plant, 10 km from here, where windrows are formed. The windrows ensure proper temperature for composting. After 30 days, this 3 tonne waste will convert into 300-500 kg of organic manure ready for sales. My manure has got certification from the Punjab Agricultural University and I sell it for Rs12 to Rs15, depending on the quantity of packaging, which varies between 1 kg and 40 kg,” the greenie shared, adding: “I do not even let the leached liquid go waste. I collect it and sell it as concentrated liquid organic manure in bottles, which is diluted and used in gardens.”

Badwal says he has been running his business of submersible pumps and had recently shifted to the business of waste management.

“We collect cow dung from gaushalas of the city every day. Managing cow dung has been difficult for cowsheds within cities, as these tend to choke the MC sewage drains. But we are using it for making cow dung pots in another unit. People can pot seedlings inside these pots and later transfer the entire cow dung pots inside ordinary pots. The cow dung starts dissolving and gives nutrients to the growing plant. My friend takes all these pots from me and sell these via Amazon,” he said.

His unique eco-friendly pursuits do not end just here. He is also making eco-bricks at his other unit on Kapurthala Road. “We segregate all mineral water bottles. We stuff each bottle with 350-370 gm of one-time use plastic like chips and milk packets. This becomes stiff and can be used to make slum houses with layers of mud in between,” he said.

Badwal also has a way to deal with coconut shells making it to the city in large quantities on a daily basis. “I have also set up a plant to make coco peat out of the fibres of these shells.”

Besides, he is getting cow dung cakes made out of Sahiwal cow and supplying these to Hindu families, who like to use it to light it up. “I have plans to make cow dung diyas ahead of Diwali this year and have plans to tie up with Kamdhenu Aayog for gaining the expertise. I also have plans to make use of 2.5 tonnes of banana leaves daily making to the city and will share it sometime later,” he concluded.

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