Left over food and vegetable waste discarded in a dump near our apartment complex raise a stink. Apartment residents hold their breath; and curse the municipal waste disposal staff, as they pass by the roadside dump. We could do something about it, if only we are so inclined, thanks to the work done by Pune-based Appropriate Rural Technology Institute (ARTI) in developing a household biogas plant that feeds on our kitchen waste.
Leftover food, flour, vegetable waste, ripened fruit can be turned into methane in 24 hours. ARTI-designed biogas plant, the size of a domestic refrigerator, can be fixed on the terrace or one’s backyard, exposed to the sun and heat. As cooking gas methane burns without producing smoke or soot. ARTI- sponsored fabrication unit is reported to have installed over 3,000 household gas plants in Pune and elsewhere in the country.
It is reckoned that 2 kg of kitchen waste can produce 500 g of methane. The garbage dump that holds wastes from 60 apartments in my complex can cut down their cooking gas bill. And the solid residue from the biogas plant would make good fertilizer that can used in our back garden.
Municipal authorities would welcome such citizen initiative on waste disposal. We don’t waste old newspapers. In most households women hold old clothes, plastic containers and even old footwear to be traded for kitchen vessels. Now, ARTI biogas plant can take care of our food and vegetable wastes as well. At Pune, they say, the city municipal council encourages people to set up backyard biogas plants. A demo plant at the municipal office fuels a gas stove for making tea to the staff and visitors.
Office canteens and restaurants, buying LPG at commercial rate, are natural candidates for the kitchen waste gas plant. The technology has been tried and tested. It has yet to be trusted by business promoters and a critical mass of middle-class households. For more info. e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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