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March 11, 2011 > Waste diversion project at Fremont Gurdwara

Waste diversion project at Fremont Gurdwara

Submitted By Sarika Rathi

Fremont Gurdwara Sahib is open seven days a week and holds daily programs for local Sikhs and visitors to pray and seek blessings. At Gurdwara, vegetarian meals are prepared for over 2,000 people weekly. As a result, a lot of food scrap is generated. It is estimated that more than 400 pounds of food scrap is generated each week.

Dr. Sarika Rathi, Master Composter, identified the opportunity to convert all food scrap into compost. She received funding from Altamont Education Advisory Board to set up a vermicomposting system at Fremont Gurdwara to divert organic waste from the landfill. Previous Gurdwara management committee president Harjot Singh Khalsa and current Gurdwara treasurer Jaswinder Gill have been instrumental in beginning this project, which was kick-started in September 2010. Since then, with the help of volunteers and the management committee, we are diverting organic waste from the landfill. A number of training workshops are conducted to educate management and volunteers on how to take care of the system.

This project has generated a lot of interest. A local worm farm has shown interest in letting us use their new system for speeding up worm composting. The city of Fremont has also shown interest in this project. The current plan is to move the vermicomposting system to a bigger space so that it is easier to feed worms and try out the new system which is offered to us. With the help of the management committee, we are also planning to conduct further training workshops for volunteers and school children to educate them on the importance of composting valuable organic waste.

Currently, Gurdwara is spending close to $2,000 on their garbage bill every month. If we can compost all food scrap generated at Gurdwara, it will divert 20,800 pounds of waste from the landfill and greatly reduce the garbage bill for Gurdwara. With support from the management committee and volunteers we can achieve the goal of Zero Waste at Fremont Gurdwara. For more information please write to Sarika Rathi at rathi_sarika@yahoo.com.

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