New India Manifesto – Chapter 17: Transformation Centres and Public-Residential-Commercial Waste Collection System
The most complex issues in India sometimes require nationalised solutions. Waste management in India is a total failure as local bodies are expected to process waste and end up a failure. Even states that claim to be advanced and literate above other states end up doing nothing concrete. Installing a few waste management plants by spending crores does not solve the waste issue and related environmental hazards.
Deep-level centralisation via Transformation Centres and Public-Residential-Commercial Waste Collection System is essential to ensure that the waste issue is solved permanently. To bring all states on board, the centre should play the role of organiser, and the state will benefit financially and environmentally from being on board.
Transformation Centres and Public-Residential-Commercial Waste Collection System
12,000+ transformation centres should be established all over India. Instead of waste processing plants, they should be called transformation centres as the stigma attached to the name and towards the location should be removed. No one wants a waste plant near their neighbourhood. People expect these plants will destroy the value of their property and social status. The transformation centres will work as places that transform materials from one form to another and not as waste plants. The purpose of the plant is to remove all future waste and not to process all the wastes that already exist, especially wastes that cannot be segregated. The plant will treat waste immediately once received and consider waste as a raw material for industrial processing.
When these wastes are dumped into dumping yards and processed according to the convenience of the waste plant owner, they will be hated by the people around that place. There is also a chance of fire inside the yard if the waste is left in the open. Therefore, this type of approach is not the one adopted by TCs.
The next important aspect is how the waste is brought to the centre. Waste transported via trucks where waste is open and has a foul odour is the next major reason to consider waste dumping yards or processing plants as a taboo. However, there will be no bad odour when wastes are covered in different closed plastic bags and brought via trucks. This is the next way to ensure the public does not disavow the processing centres.
Only limited land is required for transformation centres. To make people love these places, one more method can be applied. Consider a square plot of 3 acres of land. Only 2.5 acres are required for TCs. A free or paid parking facility can be developed on the remaining land.
Certain substances and certain quantities of certain materials should be barred from processing in TCs. For example, septic tank sludge should not be processed at this facility. In addition, construction debris at a large scale should not be processed at this facility.
The first step to stop pollution is to collect waste from the source. Waste collection from home is the first step towards waste management. It is essential to segregate different types of waste generated at commercial and residential places.
- Kitchen waste – Example: Food waste – Code A
- Sanitary waste – Example: Sanitary pads, tampons, diapers and condoms – Code B
- Plastic waste – Example: Plastic water bottle – Code C
- E-waste – Example: Computer, fridge and washing machine – Code D
- Hazardous waste – Example: [Pesticides and chemical wastes, hospital waste – Code E1] [Household hazardous waste – Code E2, Example: Weedicide bottles used by farmers]
- Construction debris – Example: Concrete waste – Code F
- Tree and wood waste – Example: Tree branches – Code G
- Textile and Footwear waste – Example: Shoes and clothes – Code H
- Agricultural waste – Example: [Wheat stubble and similar leaves of plants – Code I-I] [Manure – Code I-II]
- Industrial waste – Example: Ash and sludge from industries – Code J
- Septic waste and sewer waste – [Septic waste – Code – K1] [Sewer waste – Code K2]
- Paper waste – Example: Newspapers – Code N
- Metal waste – Example: Wires, old utensils, battery – Code O
- Furniture waste – Example: Sofa, mattress, table and chair – Code P
- Glass and ceramics waste – Example: Liquor bottles and ceramic plates – Code Q
- Detergent waste – Example – Used soaps from hotels and houses – Code R
- Oil waste – Example – Engine oil of vehicles and cooking oil – Code T
The code is provided based on the largest ingredient or identification type, and many items have a mixed nature. The segregation of mixed items is done at transformation centres. For example, a mattress will have steel joints and also wooden frames. Therefore, the three items need to be separated. However, the item can be classified under furniture waste based on the largest ingredient or item name. A wooden box speaker is e-waste. It is classified under the e-waste category, even though the largest portion of the speaker has wooden parts. So, when people segregate at home, this logic should be applied.
General Size Code
- Code S – Small – Item Size that fits the wastebin
- Code M – Medium
- Code L – Large
Unsorted Category Codes
- Unsorted cover – Code UC
- Unsorted waste – Code UW
Colour Coding System
Colour and letter codes for waste are provided for easy identification all over India.
Colour-coded dustbin carry bags with letter and name codes – A, B, C, D, E, H, N, O, P, Q, R, and T should be printed with different colours. These carry bags are intended to carry only code S(small) items. Items that are bigger than code S will not have carry bags. T cover will have a bottle cap to avoid leakage.
Let us classify the above wastes into the following types based on the convenience of collecting and convenience of processing the waste.
- Type 1 – 1A-S Kitchen biodegradable waste and food waste
- Type 2 – 2C-S Plastic waste + 2D-S E-waste + 2H-S Textile and Footwear waste + 2N-S Paper waste + 2O-S Metal waste + 2P-S Furniture waste + 2Q-S Glass and Ceramics waste + 2R-S Detergents + 2T-S Oil waste
- Type 3 – 3B-S – Sanitary waste +3E2-S Household Hazardous waste
- Type 4 – 4UW-S – Unsorted Waste
- Type 5M – [ 5G-M Wood waste + 5F-M Construction debris + 5I-I Agricultural waste + 5I-II Agricultural waste] + 2C-M Plastic waste + 2D-M E-waste + 2H-M Textile and Footwear waste + 2N-M Paper waste + 2O-M Metal waste + 2P-M Furniture waste + 2Q-M Glass and Ceramics waste + 2R-M Detergents + 2T-M Oil waste
- Type 5L – [ 5G-L Wood waste + 5F-L Construction debris + 5I-I-L Agricultural waste + 5I-II-L Agricultural waste] + 2C-L Plastic waste + 2D-L E-waste + 2H-L Textile and Footwear waste + 2N-L Paper waste + 2O-L Metal waste + 2P-L Furniture waste + 2Q-L Glass and Ceramics waste + 2R- L Detergents
- Type 6 – Hazardous waste 6E1 + Industrial waste 6J
- Type 7 – 7K1 Septic waste + 7K2 Sewer waste
Four Colour Wastebin
Each category of waste should be colour coded. Four colour wastebins should be placed at all places in all states all over India. The wastebins should be placed with a ground lock which ensures that it is not removed easily by the public and can be handled mainly by sanitation workers. The colour of the wastebins should be multicoloured. For example, wastebin two will have all colours of the allowed wastes in wastebin two painted in a rainbow model, with each colour able to be identified separately. Wastebin 4 will have mixed colours to show that it allows unsorted waste.
Wastebin 1 – Type 1 Waste
Wastebin 2 – Type 2 Waste
Wastebin 3 – Type 3 Waste – Separate trash bags for 3B-S and 3E2-S
Wastebin 4 – Type 4 Waste – Unsorted bin for public use. It should be used minimally only by people during transit. People living nearby should never directly deposit commercial or residential waste into this bin. Likewise, sanitary items and hazardous items should not be disposed of directly in this trashcan. Instead, people should carry it with them at their house or hotel, and only then they should dispose it.
Wastebin 1,2 and 3 should be placed together, whereas wastebin four should be placed at a small distance, thereby ensuring people can easily identify them. A locking system should be placed for three waste bins where people unlock to put the waste and then lock it. The fourth trashcan should be a swing lid; thereby, it is easy to dispose garbage.
Method of Collection
The public will be provided with different coloured garbage carry bags with zip ties which will be delivered to every home via EAC integration centres. In addition, personal use dustbins and manuals in multiple languages will also be provided to every family and every business.
In case of oil waste, they should be provided in carry bags with bottle caps. There will be a specific colour, code and also the name of what type of waste it should include. The people will segregate the waste in their homes themselves. In places where it is difficult to reach, people will deposit garbage bags at public waste bins where vehicles are accessible. In other places, such as cities, the garbage will be picked up regularly from homes. The garbage pickup timing would be after 10 pm and before 8 pm daily.
Type 1, Type 2, and Type 3 will be collected in this way via public trashcans and directly from homes. In the case of Type 4 waste, the sanitation workers will collect unsorted waste into another colour-coded garbage bag, zip tag them, and load them into the vehicle.
Type 5M wastes are wastes that are larger and require a different transport mechanism. The TCs has a processing capacity per day, and 5M is the maximum limit it can process a day.
Type 5L wastes are huge size wastes that cannot be processed at one TC. If nearby TCs have the capacity, the large waste will be split between different TCs. If all are maxed out, such wastes will be directly delivered to individual processing facilities.
Individual processing facilities are places that process specific materials into another form of finished or intermediary goods. For example, construction waste is converted to bricks in this facility.
Type 6 waste will be directly sent to individual processing facilities that process hazardous wastes and will not be handled at TCs at all.
Type 7 wastes include septic waste (7K1) and sewer waste (7K2). Once in four years or according to need, every septic waste will be cleared from residential and commercial places by the PRC Waste Collection System. The way 7K1 is disposed of now is the cause of the eutrophication of rivers. Most tankers that collect such waste dump it in isolated areas into rivers. 7K2 is manually collected even today and put in the open at some other place. This type of waste collection should be changed. Small machines fitted with mini tippers that can go through narrow roads must be developed, and the collection method should be mechanised. Individual processing facilities such as sewage treatment plants and septic waste treatment plants should be installed at distant locations from human habitation. None of these wastes should be brought to or handled at TCs.
Type 6 and 7 waste pickup is done after checking the schedule of pickup agencies. Type 5M is collected once a week. Type5L is also schedule-based pickup. For example, if a large house is demolished and the debris is required to be removed, then the person concerned with creating that debris will contact the waste collection agency to arrange pickup.
Website and Software
There will be a website and PC software to track vehicles used for pickup. Tracking scheduled pickups and connecting with other TCs and individual processing facilities is also required. The sanitation workers must also be connected with an integrated mechanism under the PRC Waste Collection System. A software that encompasses all these features should be developed. The PRC Waste Collection System staff will have an office inside the compound of TCs built by the government.
Individual Processing Facilities
Government should support private companies in establishing individual processing facilities.
7K1 – Biocrude can be developed from human waste by the process of hydrothermal liquefaction.
5G-M and 5G-L – Wood waste can be processed to create briquettes.
5F-M and 5F-M – Construction & Demolition waste management facilities can be established to process such waste into items like paver blocks.
In this way, each waste can be converted to another form. For example, incineration was the easiest way to dispose of trash, like diapers. However, even that can be converted using advanced technologies to plastic pellets. Scientists have found many ways to transform waste, and adopting those different methods is essential for the success of waste processing.
If private companies are not coming forward, the government should directly subsidise loan amounts to the private sector to establish individual processing facilities.
All materials that cannot be processed by TCs will be directly delivered to individual processing facilities for free. There is no expenditure for the transportation of materials, and the government bears the whole cost of transportation.
Analysis of Transformation Centres
The land required for establishing TCs will be acquired by the government directly. Three acres of land will be acquired for one TC. The base structure will be built by the government. The base structure will be built in a raised way to survive floods without damaging machines. State and central government together will develop 12,000 such TCs all over India.
2 lakhs+ crore rupees will be allocated all over India. Each TC will be developed with an investment of 5 – 25 crore rupees. The structure is similar in all TCs. However, the land price and building cost are different in different regions, so there is a difference in investment. Once 2.5 acres will be used for the building and processing yard. The remaining 0.5 acres will be separated and will be constructed as a parking facility for the public. A few business structures can also be built on 0.5 acres, and one can be the office of sanitation workers.
Once the structure is built, private companies will be invited to run these TCs. Long-term leases will be provided to private companies without expecting any lease amount in return. The lease will be cancelled in case of pending works, hoarding commodities, or not following rules that were promised to be followed during inception. The private companies will be approved as targeted shared companies.
The targeted shared companies will invest at least four crores in government-approved machineries. The machinery will not have a huge size as in individual processing facilities. The machines will be small to accommodate different types of waste processing within that facility. None of these machines will be able to create final products unless the compact machine can do so. The primary work of this place is to sort, compress, crush and transform the waste from one form to another, thereby reducing the size of the waste.
Plastic processing facilities with large conveyor belt machines which segregate unsorted waste and then transform it will require an extensive workforce, a large area and a huge investment amount. TCs are required to process different types of trash in one place. TC machines should be compact as the investment amount, area, and workforce are less, unlike existing large waste processing facilities worldwide.
Since there is no lease amount, twenty per cent of all final product’s price + GST from products will be provided by the company to the government. For example, consider a situation where a targeted shared company has processed 100 kg of paper and will sell it to paper recycling companies. The amount charged per kg by the targeted shared company to the recycling company is 15 rupees per kg. So the government will take 3 rs per kg as its share. The amount is reduced from the total price. GST will also be reduced from this total amount. If GST is 5 per cent, then 0.75 rupees will be collected as GST. The private parties of the targeted shared company can keep the remaining 11.25 for every kg sold.
Targeted shared companies can raise money via shares whenever needed. If new technology is required that is more efficient, the companies should adopt new technology.
CCTV should be installed compulsorily at TCs and should be checked regularly by a special body, including pollution experts, legal experts and tax evasion experts, to ensure that all are working according to rules and regulations.
Crushed or compressed material outputs total ownership is with the company. They can distribute it to other companies of their choice. There will be no interference in the selection of companies that they are willing to distribute their products. However, the items that leave this facility should be in closed boxes, covers, and cans. It cannot go out as visible raw material.
The government will bear the expense until the delivery of the materials, and TCs need to pay only for their own staff inside the facility. Transportation of collected trash bags is free till it enters the facility. The TCs should bear and arrange the transportation of processed materials, such as granules or pellets, from one TC to other facilities.
Public Sanitation and Hygiene
Public sanitation and hygiene include waste management and other aspects such as stopping public urination and open defecation. 1 lakh biodigester toilets should be established in all different public places all over India at the cost of 1000 crore. It should only be installed in places where cameras are pointed from outside towards such places. If not done so, purposeful property destruction will be regular at such places. Drug addicts will abuse such places. Some people may also engage in consensual and nonconsensual sex at such places.
Once installed, public urination should be a punishable offence with hefty fines. Sanitation workers will clean the public toilets daily and ensure that there is no foul odour and is tidy.
There should be an app and a website that mentions nearby comfort stations and should be placed at different locations irrespective of population density. People travelling long distances stop at isolated places and urinate in public. So, placing comfort stations at such places can remove such a scenario.
50 lakh formal and informal waste pickers in India will get yearly renewable contract jobs directly from the government for sanitation works and waste pickups. In addition, five lakhs+ individuals will get jobs in 12,000+ targeted shared companies, i.e., inside transformation centres. The materials produced by TCs can help generate additional employment of above 10 lakhs for external processing facilities. Five lakhs+ drivers will get direct jobs transporting waste to facilities and indirect jobs transporting processed materials from TCs. The salaries will be higher than current scrap picking activity or sweeping jobs, thereby ensuring that it is a lucrative job opportunity.
All existing sanitation workers under various state governments and local bodies will be brought under this system.
Individual processing facilities where sanitation workers directly deliver waste will employ another five lakhs+ individuals.
How to Convert TCs into a Profitable Venture?
Removing plastic carry bags and one-time plastics and providing everything else in plastic packets will not save environmental pollution. However, if people are aware enough to buy products, they should also realise the importance of disposing of them safely.
The government cannot aim to get the total spent amount from the waste collection by creating value from the waste. Waste collected from 1,00,000+ individuals and establishments by a TC in commercial and residential places cannot earn more than 10 lakh per year for a company if only non-valuable wastes are collected. They may even enter the loss zone in some places. Waste is just a non-valuable item or substance.
So many currently valued items should become non-valued to ensure the success of this system. For example, a car’s used battery is not considered a waste because it can fetch a considerable amount when a new battery is bought, and the old one is exchanged.
Paper, old utensils, batteries, glasses, copper wires, metal waste, and old fridges are also sold at a price to scrap dealers now. When 12,000+ targeted shared companies are established, the government should shut down the scrap collection system in India. So, there will be no collection of scrap from homes. All scrap collectors will be reallocated in the new system and provided jobs. All current large-scale scrap purchasers can purchase final products or intermediary goods, such as plastic granules, from transformation centres. Selective scrap picking has affected waste management in India.
Making valuable commodities non-valuable for the public is the only way to ensure that these companies can become profitable and waste management is successfully implemented.
Soil, water and air pollution will reduce drastically once this is implemented. Paper collected at 10 rs per kg will become worthless, and people have to provide them to the government-regulated PRC Waste Collection System for free. There should be a total ban on individual private home collection of waste. Scrap collection shops can longer function. There is no more buyer for such, and thereby all such valuable items are just waste for the public and value for TCs and the government.
Commercial establishments can send their valuable waste directly to recycling units. However, they cannot collect any item from the public via homes. For example, when a utensil is manufactured, there will be a waste of metal and such metals can be sent directly to recycling units by companies and make money. However, these companies cannot collect metal from nearby residents, add it to their list of metals, and send it to recycling by circumventing the recycling process to make more money. If caught, there should be hefty fines for breaking laws. The commercial waste includes the entities that handle agricultural waste and industrial waste. For example, a pineapple jam-producing company can send pineapple skin to a pineapple skin-based handwash manufacturing company. Notable exclusions can be made, especially scrap vehicle exchange to showrooms, as the value is very high for such items.
Public endorsing this system also means they are committed to the nation’s development and saving the environment from further pollution.
Funding of TCs and PRC Waste Collection System
A. Initial Investment
Seven significant initial investments in infrastructural development include
- Purchase of Land
- Construction of TC building
- Trashcans, garbage carry bags, waste boxes and zip ties manufacturing facilities
- Gloves and safety equipment manufacturing facility to handle waste by collectors and transporters
- Purchase new and used vehicles that can transport waste. Remodel vehicles to carry wastes in segregated compartments.
Central and state governments should directly bear the initial funding for all these.
Once the primary infrastructure is established, the infrastructure and vehicles can be maintained without additional investment. The government will get a 20 per cent commission on products and GST revenue, which can be used to support the existing transportation requirements and pay for the items listed above. In addition, goods vehicles such as ape goods auto, four-wheeler pickups and tippers can be leased on contract for transporting materials and provide a source of income for vehicle owners.
C. PRC Waste Collection System Workforce Payment
PRC Waste Collection System requires human labour, and the workforce necessary for doing this cannot be paid from GST-profit revenues and needs to be charged directly from the public. The method of charging people for waste collection should undergo drastic change all over India. It is not anymore the responsibility of the tenant to pay for waste management. Instead, it is the building owner’s responsibility, and that owner is charged based on different parameters. The parameters include square feet of the building, quantity of waste produced, and commercial or residential status. The residential house will have the least amount, and commercial facilities will have a large amount. Even if a home is empty or a structure is unused, it will be charged according to the square feet of the house from the owner. The Land and Building Accounting System (LBAS) will allocate the amount based on their property analysis.
Like electricity connection, the service cannot be cut down as waste is generated regularly. If such non-paying people do not take the PRC waste collection system service, they may dump the trash in a river or burn it in the open.
So, to ensure that person pays, the amount will be linked with all actions related to that property, such as rent, sale of property and the CIBIL score of the person involved. If dues cross a year, a loan will be allotted to the person automatically to recover the amount or withdraw from the bank accounts of the concerned individuals.
The funds collected from all houses and commercial establishments will be used to pay the PRC Waste Collection System workforce. The payment is for PRC waste-collecting sanitation workers and not for TC employees, who the companies themselves pay.
D. Encourage New Companies That Use Recycled Raw Materials
There are already many companies to take many products like compressed recycled paper bundles. But in many other processed wastes, new companies are required.
So new companies should be encouraged in such areas. Small pieces created from footwear are an example. There should be a company to buy such products for this model to succeed. Individual processing facilities should be established to pick up processed products if they are currently non-existent. There is no free transportation from TCs to such pickup companies.
In the case of direct transfer, such as septic waste, the delivery to individual processing facilities is free. However, the goods converted to another form or compressed must be transported at the expense of TCs or borne by the buyer buying from TCs.
The GST from the materials produced by new companies that create end products will be a great revenue for the government.
TC’s making final products is not a good idea as there must be larger machinery, more extensive area and higher investment. Instead, they should exist as an intermediary mechanism that supplies materials required to build finished products. If they can effectively utilise the limited space and structure to create end products, they should be allowed to do so.
Legacy Waste, Polluted Waterbodies and Soil Removal
Legacy waste refers to the different types of garbage gathered and exists for years on any unused site or designated landfill. Biodegradable garbage, plastic waste, clothing, furniture, textiles, sanitary waste, hazardous waste, scrap metal, glass, and other materials are mixed together. TCs will not process such waste, and existing dumpsites must develop biomining and bio-capping technologies to process these wastes.
Cleaning rivers and all existing dump yards will be easier now with additional investment by the government as new waste is not deposited in these places. Once cleaned, new waste will not be deposited again in such places as a new system is in effect.
This system minimises air pollution drastically as people will stop burning waste at home.
Soil is required to be treated as a separate category and not as waste, as it does not need TCs or Individual Processing Facilities. Most construction activities require soil removal from one place and transporting it to another location.
Soil usually is high in demand in cities and rural areas, and people do not need a separate authority to handle it. An automatic demand and supply system already handles soil matters in private lands.
A separate soil utilisation authority regulated by the state government to handle soil is required only if there is a massive demand for soil removal from different places in a state.
The following collection system can be implemented in case of such a demand. PRC waste collection system will collect soil from different places owned by the public that wants it removed from their site and will deposit it at a location as instructed by the soil utilisation authority. People can purchase soil from this authority to raise the ground level of the land, use it for construction activities, and create gardens and farmland. The remaining soil will be utilised to develop the miyawaki forest in the wasteland, or it can be used to create a soil layer over legacy waste landfills.
Can People Follow This New System?
PRC Waste Collection System, TCs and Individual Processing Facilities are India’s only hope for reducing water, air and soil pollution. The difficulty in adjusting to the system will only be there for the initial year, and later on, the public with embrace this system.
The segregation at home is compulsory because, without that, a huge workforce will be required to segregate waste and to pay such a large number of employees is not feasible. Unsorted wastes collected from public trashcans should be minimalised below 20 per cent of the total waste. Community classes need to be arranged by local bodies to help people in rural areas and backward regions to ensure waste segregation is successfully implemented. This system will provide long-term benefits for the nation regarding waste management.
People need not worry about moving any type of waste from their homes as all are removed by the system. In addition, the most severe wastes that are difficult to dispose of, such as septic tank waste, are also handled along with other wastes under this system.
This method can also help introduce more detailed categorisation, such as creating subsections in existing waste categories if required in future.
Special Note: This is the seventeenth chapter of the book New India Manifesto by Blessen T. Sam. The concepts introduced in this book are unique, and referencing the book and the author is appreciated. Support the hard work of the author to modernise India by purchasing a print copy of the book from Amazon or Flipkart.