Though the term “turning coronavirus crisis into an opportunity” was coined by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, two brothers of Shastri Nagar in Thane made it possible in an innovative way. They had started selling vegetables during the lockdown to support their family after losing their jobs and have now become a known face in several households. They offer compost free of cost in exchange for vegetable waste to every vegetable buyer.
Ranjan Narsule, 41, a resident of Modern Colony in Shastri Nagar in Thane started selling vegetables after he lost his job during the lockdown. Initially, he used to sell vegetables within the society as access to other societies was not allowed.
However, after the ease in the lockdown, he was left with some vegetables which finally go into the dust bin as waste in a couple of days.
Narsule had heard about the composting with vegetable waste. “I did some research on Google and started composing in my balcony. After a few months, the compost was ready and now the problem was what to do with it,” said Narsule. He added that initially, he gave the compost to residents in his society. “But the amount of compost kept increasing, and further composting was not possible in the limited space. This meant that the vegetable waste would have to be dumped in the bin,” said Narsule.
As online shopping has already hit the retail business, they decided to something different to remain in the business. Finally, Narsule got to support his brother Kishore who was working from home due to Covid-19, and brother-in-law Manoj Tulaskar. They decided to offer compost free of cost to vegetable buyers if they bring vegetable waste. “The idea worked out and residents happily exchange vegetable waste and collected the compost,” said Narsule. He added that there are no monetary benefits out of it, but certainly the vegetable wastes do not go to the dumping ground. The vegetable waste collected from customers is now used for composting.
The initiative has not only brought praise in the neighborhood; they got some permanent clients. “We have bought an electric vehicle which is pollution-free to carry vegetables as well as composting,” said Narsule, adding that they park their vehicle at three to four places for just one hour.
They exchange a fixed quantity of compost in exchange for vegetable wastes. “The purpose is that everyone gets the compost and use it in their balcony flower pots or gardening area. There are residents who wanted to make compost but due to space crunch, they could not do it. They have become regular customers which means more business,” added Narsule.