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    Moving to compost: Floral waste turns fertile ground for innovation in Bengaluru

    Synopsis

    More than 40 temples have started turning flowers and kitchen waste into compost.​

    Agencies
    The compost made is sold by the temple to the devotees for a minimal price.
    BENGALURU: It’s that time of the year when Bengaluru is awash with flowers. While the spirit of festivities and fragrance of flowers wafting through the city make for a pretty picture, the amount of floral waste generated is anything but.

    To help tackle the issue, several temples have now started turning floral and kitchen waste generated in their premises into compost. It was back in 2016 that a leaf composter was installed at the Sri Shakthi Kalyana Maha Ganapathi Temple in Kalyan Nagar by Vasuki Iyengar, founder of social enterprise Soil and Health.

    Following this, 12 temples in HSR Layout installed composters, while many were also donated by local politicians. As of now, more than 40 temples across the city have been using the composters to turn floral and kitchen waste into compost.

    “The process is aerobic and takes up to six months to compost. The compost made is sold by the temple to the devotees for a minimal price,” Iyengar says.

    Rose in another formAgencies

    While turning into compost is one way to help manage floral waste, Bengaluru-based researcher Parimala Shivaprasad, currently doing her research at the University of Bath in the UK, is working on a project to extract essential oils from waste flowers.

    “The biodegradable nature of the flower waste leads to a wrong assumption that discarding it anywhere would lead to its eventual decomposition and this leads to makeshift dumping areas for waste, which is a breeding ground for diseases.” Flower waste discarded into water bodies decompose and deplete the dissolved oxygen, thus depriving the natural inhabitants of the essential resources for their survival. This alters the ecosystem resulting in algal blooms and eutrophication in lakes.

    Moreover, a large problem with flower waste management is associated with its sanctity and hence the reluctance to dispose the flower waste with the rest of the solid waste, she says. Initial results from her lab scale tests showed that the amount of oil which could be extracted was not affected by using flowers which were as old as a couple of days.

    The essential oil yield from waste flowers was comparable to that obtained using fresh flowers. This creates a valueadded approach for flower waste recycle. “I am currently extracting the oils on a lab scale and aim to set up a pilot plant early next year in Bengaluru,” she said.

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    1 Comment on this Story

    Som Karamchetty537 days ago
    That is a great idea!
    Actually, most greens (e.g. leaves and tender branches) can also be turned into fertilizer.
    In his book “Plants are like people,” Jerry Baker instructs that such organic refuse can be collected in a dump and a quantity of beer and sugared soda (like coke) should be sprayed on it. The beer has the bugs that turn the organic matter into manure. The sugar in the soda (diet soda is no good) will feed the bugs.
    Using beer like this increases road safety and sugar for the micro bugs reduces diabetes. All winners!
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