In a country burdened with waste, this Indian has produced no garbage in last 12 years

Kaustubh Tamhankar

While India struggles to deal with growing garbage heaps around cities, Kaustubh Tamhankar, a 65-year-old man from Thane, Maharashtra, has established an amazing example by not producing any garbage for last 12 years.

“For the past 12 years, I haven’t produced any garbage. Not a single piece of waste paper accumulated goes into the dustbin,” says the owner of Tansa Pvt, company that manufactures pipes.

He has built a vermiculture basket with a grinder, fitted under his sink. Every piece of leftover or food waste is crushed and moved into the basket where earthworms convert it into fertilizer. Initially Kaustubh called it as ‘Akshaypatra’. Now, he calls his vermiculture basket as ‘Avirat Patra’

Every day, waste is thrown into this basket but it’s never been full.

“This equipment consists one basket which is attached with triangular shaped filter. At the base level, there’s a small pot which collects fertilized soil. Everyday one has to put waste in the basket, and spray water on it. After 4 weeks, one gets fertilized soil (compost),” said Kaustubh.

This manure collected can later be used to grow plants.

Interestingly, for the last 12 years, no rag-picker has been fortunate enough to collect any waste from his revolutionary man’s home.

Kaustubh attends numerous seminars and events aimed at creating awareness regarding solid waste management.

kaustubh zero garbage man

In his house, there are rules for the segregation of dry and wet waste. He keeps three plastic bags, one for wet waste, second for dry waste, and last one to collect plastic waste. None of it ever lands in landfills. Every bit of it is either converted into manure or re-used and recycled.

The empty packets of milk are cleaned and used in the manufacturing and packaging of pipers at Kaustubh’s factory.

According to him, “Plastic is not polluting in itself. It is our way of disposal that is polluting.”

He is wise enough to see how eventually dry waste ends up in India. It’s either thrown into rivers or it’s incinerated, which causes water, soil, and air pollution.

zero garbage man of India

Regarding this culture in his family, Kaustubh explained proudly, “My wife Sharyu is fond of cleanliness and that made me think of doing something on similar lines for the environment. I observed that waste goes from one dustbin to other and then finally to dumping ground, which ultimately produces air pollution after burning. So I thought of organising waste in a manner, that it will not harm the environment. For starters, I threw away all the dustbins I had in my house. Then, I began to segregate dry waste and wet waste. In my house, none of the family members throw away a single piece of paper; everything goes to the scrap dealers.”

Avirat Patra is available for purchase, Kaustubh sells his creation for Rs. 900 ($14) to anyone who is interested in pursuing the goal of keeping garbage production at minimum.

Kaustubh has published a book about advantages of recycling, and the book can be purchased at any cost. That means, pay whatever you wish to pay him for the book available in three languages – Gujarati, Hindi and Marathi.

No need to mention that India is in dire need of such people, who are environmentally conscious. India need to spend a lot on education and awareness.

Image Credit: Shreelink/Flicker

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