New Delhi: ‘We have to take the responsibility of the waste we create,’ meet the family with this as their motto. The Devs are a family of six living in East Delhi’s Pushpanjali locality. They introduced a small practice in their daily routine in 2016. They started segregating their household waste into various categories and adopted the process of composting. Today, The Devs are known in their neighbourhood as the family that puts zero waste in the trash bin. Sharing their success story with NDTV, 40-year-old Priyanka Dev, a freelance photographer, said,
What we did was no rocket science! I was inspired by a friend who was composting garbage and making black gold. I decided to follow the same footsteps and that was it. Slowly and slowly, with the continuous support from my family, we started dumping less and less garbage in our trash bin.
Explaining the process, Priyanka Dev said that we as a family started dividing our household waste into various bins – dry waste, wet waste, e-waste, sanitary waste, and newspaper or paper waste. Priyanka added,
It surely took us all some time, but soon waste segregation was part of our daily routine. I taught about the change to my two children, my in-laws, husband, and helpers. Everyone supported and soon it became a habit.
The Waste To Zero Waste Cycle
Priyanka and family dump their kitchen waste into the wet waste bin which is further used for the process of composting. All the wrappers, packing materials, milk sachets, and biscuits or chips packets are put into a dry waste bin which Priyanka gives separately to the local waste picker so that they can sell it to the appropriate recyclers and earn extra money. Newspaper and paper waste too is given to a waste picker separately. While, all the electronic waste items – from old electronic toys, batteries, tube lights, gadgets etc. are put into another bin which is once a month is sent to e-waste recycling unit. She adds,
“The sanitary waste in our house has been reduced to mere 2-3% becaus, we have started opting for greener alternatives that are available in the market. But, the ideal way to decompose sanitary waste is by wrapping it in a newspaper with a red mark so that a sanitary waste picker is warned against touching it.”
Explaining the process of composting, Priyanka shared a step-by step guide, she added,
I have a composting system at home – these are now easily available in the market. The one I have has three identical terracotta pots placed on top of the other, with a lid at the top. Once a day, I empty my wet waste bin in the top most pot. And then cover it with cocopeat powder (which you get with the composting unit), you can also simply add dry leaves. Just, keep repeating the process every day until the topmost pot is full. Remember to mix the waste once in three days for air circulation. Once the pot is full, rotate it with an empty pot. By the time that will be full, your compost will be ready.
Usually, the process takes upto 4 weeks, Priyanka said that in summer the time is less as compared to winters. The compost is then used by Priyanka’s family in their garden.
“All we do is segregate our waste and with this, in our routine, we have drastically cut down the amount of garbage that goes out of our household.”
Priyanka’s family has also stopped using harmful detergents and floor cleaners now and switched to more nature-friendly options. Priyanka makes a concoction from orange peels and jaggery to clean floors and vinegar with baking soda to clean toilets pots.
She now conducts workshops and tries to educate as many people as she can on how to reduce waste effectively by following simple thumb rules.
Every household should follow these simple practices – how difficult is it for anyone to hunt for a recycling unit nearby their area. Today, there are plenty of options out there. It is all about the kind of choices we make, signs of Priyanka Dev.