How to segregate waste in apartments?

Here is a simple process to initiate waste management that results in maximum participation among residents and sustained evolution of the practice.

Pic source: Green Commandos

Preparation / Infrastructure

The first phase of the entire drive is to set up the related infrastructure to support the waste segregation initiative at the apartment. The infrastructure involves the following steps:

  • Determining the service provider who will collect the dry recyclables from the apartment on a regular basis. This step also involves coming to a common understanding on the frequency of collection and financial obligations of the service providers/apartments.
  • Determining the collection mechanism to be adopted at the apartment. The mechanism involves:
    • Collection frequency of the dry waste from individual houses (e.g. once a week).
    • Mode of collection of dry waste from individual houses. Either of the following method can be adopted.
      • Housekeeping staff collecting waste door-to-door.
      • Residents disposing waste themselves at common location (basement etc,.)
    • Mode of disposal of waste from individual houses. Any of the following modes can be used:
      • Using weaved plastic bags (reusable with life of a year, Rs 10 per bag) with house numbers given to each house through the association (ensures consistency in disposal).
      • Each house using their own bags/cartons etc,. to dispose waste (not recommended).
    • Number and placement of common bins in the apartment premises (eg two bins set up in the basement etc,.)
    • Number of primary segregation required from individual houses. The number may differ from house to house, and also depend on the service provider (eg some service providers may want paper to be separated from plastics). The four generic types of primary segregation are:
      • Wet kitchen / biodegradable waste (eg: fruit and vegetable peels, cooked food waste etc,.)
      • Dry recyclable rinsed waste (eg: paper, plastics, metal, cardboard etc,.)
        • To be collected by one of the service providers listed below.
      • Electronic waste (eg: CDs, old printers, CFL bulbs, and tube-lights etc.)
        • To be collected by one of the service providers listed below.
      • Hazardous biomedical waste (eg: Bathroom rejects such as hair, used sanitary napkins etc.)
        • To be given out in newspaper bags, with a red cross on the bag.
    • Whether housekeeping staff to be utilised for secondary segregation of the dry recyclable rinsed waste. This will fetch a higher price for the dry recyclable waste, but with the trade-off of the house-keeping staff’s time.
    • Training for house-keeping staff to get them oriented for the new collection mechanism (if house-keeping staff to be utilized for collection of waste). If the apartment has an Organic Waste Converter (OWC) installed but not commissioned, house-keeping staff also need to be trained to operate the OWC.


Apna Complex, an apartment management software firm, provides a template that could help apartment Managing Committees create a Solid Waste Management plan easily. Click here to download the plan.

Awareness / Initiation

  • Once the above preparations have been made, the next step is to have an awareness presentation for the residents and housemaids to make them appreciate the reason for the exercise, and get commitments from them to participate.
  • The presentation also doubles up as a sign for residents to start segregation. Bins and bags should have been procured by this time, the service provider finalized, and training given to housekeeping staff.
  • Once the segregation starts, more residents need to be encouraged to take up volunteering roles to promote the practice (such as being a block coordinator, floor coordinator etc,.) This is a key step, and it will ensure that responsibilities are evenly distributed among the residents. In the absence of such a structure, the entire onus of sustaining the project may fall on a handful of people, which becomes very difficult.

Sustenance / Follow-up

  • A door to door audit can be performed once the practice has been in place for close to three months to ensure people are segregating waste.
  • A starter kit should also be prepared for new residents/tenants coming into the apartment complex to ensure that the practice continues consistently over a period of time.
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1 Comment

  1. We need advise on improving our waste Mgt System We have 78 Flats located in old Airport Road

    Managing Director (Retd.) & President of the Association
    Karnataka Silk Marketing Board
    Res : # 20,N.R.Colony-Flat No A-702
    Salarpuria Splendor Apartments
    Old Airport Road
    Bangalore 560017, INDIA
    Ph : 080 41480480- Mob : 9900288480
    e-mail ;

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