What happens when a temple decides to go zero waste?? A lot of things can happen! The management realised that it’s more easy to manage garbage when you have nothing to throw.. Yes—that’s what happened at Kalyana Mahaganapathi temple in Kalyannagar, in North Bengaluru.

The temple had many garbage-related woes. Prasadam was served in cups and plates which were disposable. This would pile up and they were at the mercy of waste collectors who would charge them a 1,000 rupees to collect waste every time! Tonnes of flowers and dried leaves would pile up and sometimes be criminally burnt! All this was a big eyesore too.

Once the temple turned zero waste, all their troubles vanished. They installed leaf composters in which all organic waste generated by the temple went! Tonnes of flowers and leaves went into them and the composters never got full as organic waste reduces drastically as it decomposes.

They eliminated plastic covers and disposables for Prasadam distribution. People were requested to get their own containers. Initially there was some resistance but people realised that it was a good move and they have been cooperating.

We the volunteeers who facilitated this, had a special day as almost two tonnes of high quality organic compost was harvested by a group of enthusiastic volunteers!

It is indeed gratifying to see what can be achieved if there is a will. If everybody decides to take responsibility of the waste they generate, Clean India won’t just be a dream—it will be a reality soon.

Soil and Health’s Vasuki Iyengar conceptualised this project, and worked along with the temple management. Three cheers to the whole team!

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