Eco-Service, Auroville Visit

As a part of immersions, we visited a dry segregator established and operating out of Auroville, Pondicherry. The unit is headed by a couple residing within Auroville, Palani. K and Kali. Their main philosophy is to offer a better waste management solution to the communities residing within the Auroville campus by offering them an end to end service by managing their dry waste.

Following are the highlights of the visit:

  • Eco services request residents and communities to segregate their waste at source in as less as 6 and as many as 13 categories. Some of the basic segregation categories are:

– Paper

– Plastic

– Metal (Aluminium, Copper is maximum)

– Glass (Broken and unbroken separately)

– Non-recyclable

– Sanitary

– Tetrapack

– Thermocol

– Cardboard

– Leather

– Batteries

– Tyres

  • The entire model of Eco Service hinges on community participation as the primary segregation is the key. The “Ammas” (local ladies) doing the secondary segregation require a certain level of segregation at source.
    Now, since Auroville is a very closed gate community these rules and regulations can be easily emphasised and monitored, which can be a hassle in other situations.
  • The Ammas doing secondary segregation re-segregate the waste into as many as 82 categories from the initial separation. This ensures the right waste can reach the right recyclers. Eco Service stores this waste and drops it off at the right recycling locations once an optimum quantity is reached.
  • The recyclers buy this waste from Eco Services at an price depending on at which tier it is being sold at. The revenue generated from this is distributed to Ammas and the waste generators based on a pre decided split up. A 8-10% of the profit is retained by Eco-Service as the operational and logistics expense.
  • Eco-services charges the communities for the waste picking charges depending on what kind of waste is being offered. A completely or partially segregated waste is collected at ₹60/ bag of paper, plastic. However, an unsorted waste is collected at a value of ₹180/ bag.
  • Eco-service is currently facing issues to procure the technology or manage recyclers to manage the double sided plastic, tetra-pack and thermocol.
  • Eco-Services has also come up with different types of innovative solutions to deal with some of the waste. For example:They have made a concrete cup like structure which they fill up with used batteries and then pour concrete to fill it up and seal it off. These cups are then planted with decorational plants and are used as landscaping artifacts.

    They chop down the thermocol into smaller pieces and mix it with concrete to make non load bearing partitions which can be used in the houses and offices within the premises of Auroville.


Author: Monish Deshmukh, BIRAC SIIP Fellow at Venture Center, Pune