Blog Archives

All KOCHI schools to have biogas plants soon

BIOGAs Plant

All the city schools will begin a new chapter in decentralised waste management during the next academic year by installing biogas units on the campuses.

The Kochi Corporation and Suchitwa Mission have joined hands in imparting the practical lessons in waste processing in city schools.

Earlier, the local body had obtained the clearance from the State authorities for installing the plants in government schools within the city limits. It had also pushed the case of aided and unaided schools in the city as the second phase of the programme.

The other day, the State government issued administrative sanction for installing biogas plants in 54 schools in the city limits including government, aided and un-aided institutions, said T.K. Ashraf, Chairman of the Health Standing Committee of the Kochi Corporation.

The projects will be implemented with the financial support of the Suchitwa Mission.

The agenda of the Corporation Council permitting an agency to set up the units in government schools was passed during the last meeting. Though only one agency had responded to the bid for setting up the units, it was sanctioned at the meeting as the Mayor declared all the agenda passed. The Mayor resorted to passing all the agenda in one stroke as a section of the Congress councillors and LDF members staged a walk out.

The construction of the plants will begin in March when schools will close for the summer vacation. The units would be ready before June, when the educational institutions will reopen. Students will be trained in managing bio-degradable waste at their educational institutions. It would be mostly food waste that would be going into the units. The capacity of the biogas units that are to be provided to the institutions will be proportional to the student strength, he said.

The local body had earlier launched Bhoomika, an awareness programmes on waste management for school students. The students were encouraged to collect plastic refuse from their homes and store them at their schools, which would be picked up by the local body. The students were also provided incentives for the collection.

The local body had also decided to provide nine biogas units and 1,500 pipe compost units to residents of every division as part of the decentralised waste management system. The beneficiaries of these projects were selected by ward meetings. These units will be provided subsidies too, Mr. Ashraf said.

source: The Hindu

(nearly) Waste-Free city of INDIA: PUNE

Gangotree

Unlike many western countries, Indian consumers waste remarkably little food, as a use is found for nearly all left-overs and food scraps. However, this doesn’t mean that there’s no waste, and Pune, a four million person city three hours southeast of Mumbai, is implementing an innovative initiative to change that.

Meet Mr. Santosh Gondhalekar, an engineer, energy expert, and founder of a bio-energy start-up company, Gangotree Eco Technologies. Pune is on its way to being India’s first waste-free city.

Each day, Pune generates about 1,400 tons of waste – 800 tons of organic waste and 600 tons of dry waste (e.g., paper, plastic, glass, and metals). In addition to the city’s municipal waste collection agency, Pune also has a sizable waste-picking community, with over 2,000 individuals who work full time as part of a cooperative to collect and sort the city’s waste. Nearly all of the dry waste has value so it gets sorted out by the waste pickers before being sold to recycling companies. The organic waste remains, and historically has been placed in a municipal dump.

Just a few years ago, the Pune Municipal Corporation engaged in a number of public-private partnerships to extract value from this organic waste. Here’s how it works: the city puts up the required capital to build bio-digestion facilities that can convert organic waste to electricity. Private companies then operate the facilities, selling the electricity back to the city to be used to power street lights. Excluding the upfront capital costs, the operation is profitable for the private firms. And for the time being, the city is willing to invest the capital, essentially subsidizing the projects, as they reduce the city’s waste burden, lowering the cost of maintaining municipal dump sites.

Currently 10 of these bio-digestion plants are operational, each converting five tons of organic waste to electricity every day.

How it works ? The Process:

Each morning, city trucks pick up organic waste, primarily from the city’s hotels, and deliver it to the bio-digestion facilities. The hotels are required by law to pay a fee for this service, which generally covers the transportation costs. Once the waste arrives on site, waste pickers sort it to ensure that it’s 100% organic as other inputs could disrupt the bio-digestion process. The waste, or feed stock, is then chopped up and put into the bio-digester, where bacteria converts it to methane and compost. At the end of the day, the gas is scrubbed to convert it to 99% methane, and then burned in a generator that creates electricity. The compost is given to local farmers.

So far the initiative has been very successful, and there are plans to have 20 additional plants operational by the end of 2012. Pune has 144 city wards, and if each ward had its own bio-digester, the city would be able to extract electricity from all of its organic waste.

Mr. Gondhalekar has been involved with the planning and execution of these projects, and showed his enthusiasm for the initiative’s success. However, his company, Gangotree Eco Technologies, is working a new project he finds even more promising. His plan is to convert municipal organic waste to what he calls green coal.

How to “getgreen” at workplace ?

A greener workplace can mean a lighter ecological footprint, a healthier and more productive place to work, and good news for the bottom line. Whether you’re the boss or the employee, whether your office is green already or still waiting to see the light, some practical steps can lay the groundwork for a healthy, low-impact workspace.

 

Turn it OFF..!! when not in use

For many people, a computer is the central tool at work. Optimizing the energy settings for computers and other devices can be more than a modest energy saver. Set computers to energy-saving settings and make sure to shut them down when you leave for the day (“standby” settings will continue to draw power even when not in use). By plugging hardware into a power strip with an on/off switch, the whole desktop setup can be turned off at once (make sure to power down inkjet printers before killing the power–they need to seal their cartridges). Printers, scanners, and other peripherals that are only used occasionally can be unplugged until they’re needed. And of course, turn off lights in spaces that are unoccupied.

 

Say no to paper …Get Digital !!

It does seem a bit strange that in the “digital age” we still consume enormous amounts of mashed up, bleached tree pulp, most of which gets used once or twice and then tossed or recycled. The greenest paper is no paper at all, so keep things digital and dematerialized whenever possible. The more you do online, the less you need paper. Keep files on computers instead of in file cabinets. Review documents onscreen rather than printing them out. Send emails instead of paper letters.

 

Greening your Commuting

Indian workers spend an average of +100 hours every year commuting through rush hour traffic. This adds up to 23 billion gallons of fuel wasted in traffic each year. We can ease some of this strain by carpooling, taking public transport, biking or walking. If there’s no good way to phase out your car, consider getting a hybrid, electric vehicle, motorcycle, scooter.

 

Use of Green Materials

Some paper use can’t be avoided, so use recycled paper and envelopes that have been processed and colored using eco-friendly methods. Pens and pencils can also be made of recycled materials, and refillable pens and markers are preferable to disposable ones. Use biodegradable soaps and recycled paper or cloth towels in the bathroom and kitchen, and provide biodegradable cleaners for the custodial staff. Buy in bulk so that shipping and packaging waste are reduced, and reuse the shipping boxes. Recycling printer cartridges is often cost less, and recycled replacements are cheaper than new ones.

 

Greening the Workspace

Greening the space in which you work has almost limitless possibilities. Start with good furniture, good lighting, and good air. Furniture can be manufactured from recycled materials as well as recyclable. Incandescent bulbs can be replaced with compact fluorescents (CFLs) and there is an ever-growing selection of high-end LED desk lamps that use miniscule amounts of energy. Not only is natural daylight a free source of lighting for the office, it has been proven to improve worker productivity and satisfaction (as well as boost sales in retail settings). Workspace air quality is also crucial. Good ventilation and low-VOC paints and materials (such as furniture and carpet) will keep employees healthy.

 

Green XEROX

When buying printer paper, look for recycled paper with a high percentage of post-consumer content and the minimum of chlorine bleaching. Even recycled paper gobbles up a great deal of energy, water, and chemical resources in its processing. When using the real stuff, print on both sides of the page when appropriate and use misprints as notepaper. Try to choose printers and photocopiers that do double-sided printing. If your office ships packages, reuse boxes and use shredded waste paper as packing material.

 

Work From Home… give it a try..!!

Instant messaging, video conferencing, and other innovative workflow tools make effective telecommuting a reality. If you can telecommute, hold phone conferences, take online classes, or otherwise work from home, give it a try. It’ll save you the time you would have spent on the trip as well as sparing the air. Also, consider the possibility of working four ten-hour days instead of five eight-hour days (a consolidated workweek), cutting the energy and time spent on commuting by 20%.

 

Lunch Time

Bringing lunch to work in reusable containers is likely the greenest (and healthiest) way to eat at work. Getting delivery and takeout almost inevitably ends with a miniature mountain of packaging waste. But if you do order delivery, join coworkers in placing a large order (more efficient than many separate ones). Also, bring in a reusable plate, utensils, and napkins. If you do go out for lunch, try biking or walking instead of driving.

 

Get Others in on the Act

Share these tips with your colleagues. Ask your boss to purchase carbon offsets for corporate travel by car and plane. Arrange an office carpool or group bike commute. Ask the office manager to get fair trade coffee for the break room and make sure everyone has a small recycling bin so that recycling is just as easy as throwing paper away. Ask everyone to bring in a mug or glass from home and keep some handy for visitors so that you reduce or eliminate use of paper cups.