WASTE STREAM MANAGEMENT
Waste Stream Management is about setting up a Waste Management Protocol which starts with segregate at source, collection and transportation of each waste stream separately to end destination where either compost, recycle or managed disposal of each waste stream takes place.
In order to understand this, we studied every existing process and documented it. One of the most insightful information in the early days, came from the Vellore Srinivasan Model in CMC Vellore. Using adaptations of the various inputs, several pilots were facilitated and carried out with the support of solution and service providers. While some showed no scalability, many scalable models have now become a norm.
What is it?
Waste stream management which starts with segregation at source, is the end to end process of separating each waste stream and dealing with it separately from the point of generation to the point of disposal.
The major streams of organic, dry and sanitary waste are easily identifiable. However, as the availability of segregated waste improves, the eco system for handling different types of waste improves and the number of waste streams that can be identified and dealt with, keeps increasing.
The ability of the system to handle waste streams is an indicator of how well municipal solid waste is managed. The end goal of waste stream management is to achieve zero waste to landfill and to maximize resource recovery by establishing a circular economy of all waste streams
Resource recovered from some of the waste streams
Why is it important?
Visits were made to all the operating landfill sites and a status report with recommendations was prepared and presented to the Lok Adalat in 2010.
The report observes (link to the report) that of the 2400T per day that was sent into the 5 landfill processing sites around the city, about 1800T or 75% of it was being dumped and about 600T or 25% was supposedly being processed creating about 45T of compost and recovering about 1.5T of recyclables per day.
Our visits to the landfills convinced us further that waste stream management is a step in the right direction towards our vision of a city with ‘No Landfill’.
Here's why we think so -
a. Prevents The Harmful Impact On the Landfill Area
Waste stream management will help to reduce the amount of waste being sent to landfills and prevent damage and destruction to the natural habitat , including air and water. It will also reduce the harm on the residents living around the landfills. The impacts of landfills on the surroundings are well known.
b. Preserving Land Use
Waste stream management will also help in preserving valuable scarce land. Each of the landfill areas are around 100 acres at the very least and their useful life has seen to be about 5 years or so. So far the city has been using at least 600 acres every 5 years for dumping.
c. Enables Resource Recovery
There are many alternatives to dumping. Waste is not a waste, if it is segregated at source and collected separately. Waste streams can be either reused, recycled, upcycled or managed disposal
Cooked Food Waste >>> Biogas
Flowers >>> Dye Color
Glass >>> Recycled to Glass
d. Managed Disposal
Another waste stream is the sanitary waste and domestic hazardous waste. This stream is highly infectious and toxic as the hazardous materials leach out of the waste when it is dumped, creating irreversible damage to air and water quality. The damage can be mitigated by ensuring they are autoclaved, incinerated, neutralized and landfilled in sanitary landfills.
How to achieve it?
Having established without doubt that waste stream management is integral to good waste management, the next step was to identify enablers and drivers to achieve waste stream management.
Initiating and integrating the key requirements into the solid waste management has needed active legal intervention and policy advocacy. We have come a long way, but the process is still ongoing.
It should start with implementing 3 way segregation (Wet, Dry and Domestic Hazardous Waste) as given in the SWM 2016 rules. There should be separate collection of each stream. It can be collected with a partition/provision in the waste collection vehicle or have separate vehicles for collection of the waste stream.