Daily Dump is based in Indiranagar, very close to our place and I went there to buy my first composter (I eventually hope to have a cow that can eat my kitchen waste but thats later and I'll stop before some animal-lovers pounce on me for this utilitarian view of a cow!). Poonam Kasturi, a designer, started this initiative. The product that I bought, the Kambha, has three terracotta pots one on top of the other. The pots have tiny holes in the side that are covered with a mesh, to enable air circulation. It is beautiful! Poonam's house, where this is based, was full of kambhas of various designs. I was given a demo, was shown waste in various stages in the kambhas they have in their backyard. They told me about tending to the composter every 3-4 days, to use neem powder for any undesirable life forms, using lemon grass spray for flies etc.
Poonam has made this design along with some students of hers (from the Srishti School of Art where she teaches). The interesting thing is she is open to sharing the design with anyone who wants to take it up. (This is important stuff and makes sense, no IPR and such here please!) Here is what she says on the website:
"We can delve into another tacit knowledge system that has stood the test of time because of reasons that cannot all be articulated - the technology of small production - with terracotta. If I really wanted to enable this existing network and system, I had to design a production and distribution system that I would not eventually control - hence the decision to create an open-source method for knowledge dissemination - of drawings, communication material and business information." Read more
Daily Dump holds demos in residential areas, apartment complexes and schools (get them when they are young!). I think what they are doing is needed in the urban set up today. The entire garbage problem would seem less intimidating if it could be dealt with locally, in a decentralized manner rather than all the trash getting shipped across the city every day! It would be great if apartment complexes are designed with composting pits...we'll probably get there in a few years.
I loved this quote on the Daily Dump website:
“The distinguished systems theorist Russ Ackoff describes a common trap that guides all the work our globalised world tends to do as "doing the wrong thing righter."
"The righter we do the wrong thing," he explains, "the wronger we become. When we make a mistake doing the wrong thing and correct it, we become wronger. When we make a mistake doing the right thing and correct it, we become righter. Therefore, it is better to do the right thing wrong than the wrong thing right. This way we learn and actually get righter. Most of our current problems are, he says, the result of policymakers and managers (and designers) busting a gut to do the wrong thing right.”