Acharya Prafulla Chandra College

Govt. Sponsored | NAAC Accredited A Grade College (2nd Cycle)
Affiliated to West Bengal State University
ISO Certified : 14001:2015, 50001:2018, 9001:2015

Acharya Prafulla Chandra College (APC College)

Sustainable Waste Management System

Objectives of the Practice:

Best practices in colleges encompass a wide range of strategies and initiatives aimed at promoting student success, academic excellence, sustainability, diversity and inclusion, community engagement, and institutional effectiveness.

In our Institution we have tried to implement a sustainable waste management as a best practice, implementing strategies and initiatives that prioritize efficiency, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility. Waste management and sustainable development are closely intertwined concepts that address the responsible use of resources, environmental protection, and the well-being of communities. An sustainable waste management system refers to a comprehensive approach to managing various types of waste in a manner that minimizes environmental impact, conserves resources, and promotes sustainability. An integrated waste management involves a combination of strategies aimed at reducing, reusing, recycling, and properly disposing of waste.

Why waste management ?

Waste management as a best practice involves implementing strategies and initiatives that prioritize efficiency, environmental sustainability, and social responsibility.By minimizing waste generation and maximizing resource recovery, we can reduce the pressure on finite resources and promote their sustainable use. Like any growing economy, our society has of late witnessed unbridled consumption leading to an exponential growth in solid waste – both biodegradable and non-degradable. Proper handling of such an amount of waste is one of the primary challenges of urban planners across the globe and more so in a developing economy as ours. Effective waste management is crucial for protecting the environment. Improper disposal of waste can lead to pollution of air, water, and soil, harming ecosystems and human health.

By raising awareness about the environmental impacts of waste and promoting recycling and composting initiatives, individuals can contribute to sustainable development goals in their daily lives. It was felt that as an educator we could make a significant contribution to society by instilling in in our students- the citizens of tomorrow, how effectively manage waste and even turn it into a profitable enterprise while contributing to sustainable development.

The Practice

We have tried to implement it through the following strategies

(i) Source Reduction: The most effective way to manage waste is to prevent it from being generated in the first place. NSS regularly conducts campaigns on the college campus and local areas for reducing use of plastics and making our campus a plastic free zone.

(ii) Waste segregation and safe disposable of Electronic waste: Colour marked Bins on the college campus for biodegradable and non-degradable waste besides contributing to the waste management of the local municipal service, also serves to instill in the students the significance of waste segregation which they can pass on to the society at large.

Electronic waste :Taking into consideration the severe health hazards and long-term ecological damage potential of electronic waste, A.P.C. college has entered into a MOU with Hulldek – a certified e-waste handler .Besides arranging awareness campaigns for our students a large collection bin has been installed on our campus. Old laboratory equipments, personal computers, printers etc are handed over to the agency. The college also receives a monetary compensation for it.

(iii) Waste-to-Energy: Biogas digesters provide a solution for organic waste management on campusbyyconverting non-recyclable and non-compostable waste, into energy through anaerobic digestion. Next step was commissioning of a bio-gas digester next to the ladies’ hostel.Solid waste (food waste snd vegetable waste alongwith rice starch was fed to the bio-digester. The output gas has been to the hostel kitchen and provides gas equivalent to about 11/2 cylinders each month with zero input cost.

(iv) Completing the nutrient cycle – The output sludge from the bio-gas digester is fed to a composting chamber where water-hyacinth from neighboring ponds is dumped alongwith plant waste (cut grasss, leaves etc) from the campus is dumped. Initially earthworms were introduced into the pits.After about three months biocompost or vermicompost is formed. Interconnected chambers have been formed to allow a harvest every month after the initial three months.This natural fertilizer is being suggested by environmentalists as a replacement for chemical fertilizers across the globe

(iii) Rainwater-Harvesting -Although not a solid-waste, rainwater which runs off is an avoidable waste. With depleting water tables across the globe ,this naturally distilled source of water if put to proper use can reduce consumption of filtered water, recharge the water table and minimize erosion of surface soil. A.P.C. College has installed NIRADHAR – a rainwater harvesting system which collects water from the roof of the Girls’ hostel . It is redirected to the washrooms of the ladies hostel, the excess water flows into a recharge pit, which after filtration seeps down to replenish the water table.

Evidence of Success

True success of a project lies in the upliftment of the surrounding community alongwith the immediate beneficiaries. Success of any project can be short term or longterm.

(i) Reduced labour cost for disposal of solid waste and saving in fossil fuel by using the bio-gas in the kitchen of the ladies’ hostel has served to make the project self-sustaining.

(ii) Integration with teaching learning - Different aspects of Biogas generation is taught in subjects like zoology ,chemistry ,microbiology and environmental science . This unit serves as a live project for these departments of our college making them aware of the interdisciplinary nature of complex real-world issues during the concept to reality journey.

(iii) Raising awareness level in locality- percolation of message to society at large on benefits of sustainable waste management throughstudent awareness programs during fieldwork in neighbouringareas.

(ii) Closing the Nutrient Loop: Recycling organic waste into compost and returning it to the soil, the nutrient cycle is closed, reducing the need for landfilling and conserving valuable resources.

(vii) Integration with our Incubation cell : The incubation cell felt that besides contributing to creation of social awareness students could explore this as a revenue-earner.The college has started marketing of the product with the name “bio-shakti” .Initially it was sold amongst the staff members and students. Based on the encouraging response, it has been decided that the composting facility be expanded.

Problems Encountered and Resources Required

The inertia of society to accept any new development has been one of the issues faced by this project also.

(i) Repeated requests and monitoring was required in initial stages to ensure that the food and vegetable waste was dumped in the bio-digester.

(ii) Flame quality from bio-gas is not consistent.

(ii) As sufficient water hyacinth for bio compost is not available from college pond it has to be sourced locally.

(iii) While people with vegetable gardens are buying vermicompost ,local farmers are still reluctant owing to higher immediate yield of chemical fertilizers and need to be made aware of the longterm benefits.

Why our best Practice

The college authority and IQAC feel that it is one of the best practices of our Institution as it involves all the stakeholders – namely the teachers, students and the society at large. Besides it is in consonance with our vision to create a technologically superior and ethically strong human resource who may strive for adoption of cleaner and greener technologies in their professional life leading to sustainable development in our society in the years to come.