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Here is an interview done for Sustainability Quotient of BCCI, Mumbai. The following has been excerpted from the original article for the same.

An interview with Monisha at her current project at Fortune Heights, Mahim, Mumbai where RUR has implemented a holistic waste management solution for the residential tower of 28 families, gave an insight on how RUR functions.

“Convincing people is perhaps the biggest challenge. But once they understand the impact of waste to their own families and see the benefits of composting in the form of freshly grown produce, they are converted” says Monisha explaining the work at Fortune Heights which incidentally, is also her place of residence. The children of the families have a big role to play; something that they take on with all the enthusiasm and sincerity that comes with their age. Their whole hearted participation convinces their parents and very soon the entire family is taking the job seriously.

Trial and Error to Perfect the Art

From demonstrating segregation of household waste into dry and wet to training the kachrawala or door-to-door waste collector to use the composting equipment, it is all handled by RUR. Harvesting the compost includes a fortnightly cycle during which it is regularly monitored to ensure the right conditions for the wet waste to break-down and turn into black gold. Then the families come together to help layout the beds and pots for growing a terrace garden comprising of easy-to-grow herbs and seasonal vegetables. “Trial and error with how, when and what to grow has helped us perfect the art of sustaining a vegetable garden” explains Monisha.

Monisha demonstrating the composter at Fortune Heights
Monisha demonstrating the shredder/composter
Families with children setting up the garden using compost
Core team of RUR: Monisha, Malvika, Sejal & Smita
Monisha and her daughter harvest vegetables on the terrace
Terrace garden with raised bed for growing vegetables

Case Study: ‘Waste to Kitchen’ Urban Terrace Farming in Mumbai, October 2014
Fortune Heights in Mahim West in Mumbai, a residential tower of 13 floors with 28 families and terrace on the 14th floor.

  • 2 years ago, RUR took up the initiative to recycle bio-degradable waste into compost. Embarked on a sensitization campaign on Sustainable Waste Management using Circulars, Posters and Sessions. Implemented total waste management unit. Total cost amounted to Rs.20,000 between 28 families around Rs.700 per family!
  • Daily 15 to 20 kg of wet waste from the kitchens like vegetable and fruit peels, flowers, leaves from the compound etc. is placed into the composting bin.
  • Every 2 months they generate 240 kgs of compost. In a year they recycle 600 x 12 = 7200 kgs of wet waste: excluded from going to the landfill/dumping and equivalent carbon emissions prevented from being released into the atmosphere.
  • Dry recyclables like paper, plastic and metal are also collected and responsibly disposed.
  • All the compost is given to the families as well as for the trees and the terrace garden.
  • Harvests so far from the terrace garden include brinjal, cabbage, spinach, ridge gourd, sweet gourd and herbs like mint, basil, chilli and flowers like hibiscus and mogra. They have hired one person on a monthly basis to help.
  • Residents have come close as a result working together as a community while spreading the word of their work. They have signed a Green Pledge and become Champions for the cause!

Small Solutions for a Big Problem

As we stand on the 14th floor gazing at the vista of a sprawling Mumbai, I take in the beautiful sunset view while she remarks “Look at the number of terraces out there that can all be converted into a landscape of green while lowering our collective waste footprint”. I agree with a sincere hope that RUR and others like them grow substantially to help Mumbai city from drowning in its rising mountain of waste! Contact Monisha Narke at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and visit RUR at for implementing a waste solution in your company or housing society today!
Original article has been published in Sustainability Quotient of BCCI, Mumbai. The above has been excerpted from there.

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