Joyti’s apartment is one of a complex of 150. These homes are not opulent in any way, but like many in India they are serviced by women and men of lesser means who travel from nearby slums.
The apartments are manufacturers of waste. The women and men of lesser means see an opportunity. They organise into Self-Help Groups to grasp that opportunity. They create around Joyti’s complex, and thousands of others in the City, a composting station, and a garden.
The group members go from door to door to ask for dry -bottles, plastic, cardboard- and wet -food- waste. The Self-Help Group members offer garlic for plastic. Every Indian household needs garlic, and the group members need the waste. Even with the incentive it takes time. It is four years before the lazy apartment dwellers really get the hang of the system.
The plastic is sold for recycling. The food waste goes into a composter, an empty pit covered by leaves that spark decomposition and eliminate smell. Some of the compost goes into the garden, and the surplus is sold. The fruits of the garden are purchased by canteens in schools and colleges.
The waste cycle perpetuates. The schools and colleges are producing more left overs. Another opportunity is created, so the Self-Group Members move into the schools and colleges. There they set up what they call Nisargarun. The food waste goes into a tank. It is heated by solar power. It gives off methane gas which is piped to the kitchens fire the cookers.
The Self-Help Group members are paid to man the station, and they sell the compost produced by the process.