Changemaker: Himani Wadhwa

Country of Implementation: India

India produces 52 million tonnes of waste per year, only 22% of which is processed or treated. 47.5% of the household waste generated in urban households is biodegradable waste. In the absence of practice of segregating waste at source, the majority of the organic waste goes to landfill, while it can be converted into organic manure. 

Urban household composting can be an important change not just for waste management but can make an economic and environmental impact. To make composting a reality in urban cities, Himani Wadhwa, a development researcher, based in New Delhi, started a campaign to train urban youth on composting at home. Due to the covid-19 lockdown,  many of us are spending more time at home, giving us a unique opportunity to spend a few extra minutes a day to manage our waste better. 

As part of her initiative, she will train youth social media influencers and 6,000 youth on how to compost at home. She would conduct training workshops with 4000 school and college students over a period of 6 months. The participants would be encouraged to share their composting journeys through popular social media channels to create a circle of influence around them. She would also invite applications among those who complete her training to be part of a Training of Trainers program, so they can teach the techniques of composting further. 

She will also pilot a community-level composting program in an urban slum in Delhi, which could lay the groundwork for scaling up the composting project with the help of the local government. 

Along with the training program, Himani will also create manuals and posters on composting and waste segregation, which can be distributed after her workshops and awareness generation sessions with college students and youth in urban slums. She will also manufacture a composting unit, custom made for urban Indian homes. This product would enable Himani to achieve financial sustainability for her project and would help her continue her work on waste management further.

Composting at home can help a middle-class family of four divert 300kg of waste from landfill each year. If 50% of the directly trained individuals continue composting in the long run, this would help divert close a 1 million kg of waste per year while the trained youths and Himani can continue to create greater influence by training others.  

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