Auteurs : Christian Zurbrugg, Silke Drescher, Almitra Patel, H.C. Sharatchandra

The national waste legislation, introduced in India in 2000, endorses the principle of ‘‘Recycle Before Disposal‘‘ and clearly stipulates composting as an option for organic waste treatment. It also recommends waste separation as prerequisite for treatment. Although various composting schemes of different scale, type and organisational structure currently exist in the country, a general overview is lacking and very little independent site-specific information is available. This paper presents the results of a study assessing 17 decentralised systems from the cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Pune, and Mumbai. The schemes were classified according to their organisational setup into: (1) citizens’ and community initiatives; (2) business and institution initiatives operating on their premises; and (3) small and medium-size private sector initiatives. These categories also coincide with different operational scales. Community initiatives have developed from unreliable collection services, and composting emerged mainly as a spin-off activity from the collection system to reduce waste delivery to the communal containers emptied by the municipal services. The potential to launch and sustain decentralised composting schemes is dependent on the municipal provision of adequate space. This paper summarises further key issues pertaining to the assessed schemes and reveals overall deficiencies in the field of accounting and transparency, composting technique and marketing, as well as municipal authority involvement.

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