EXNORA Zero Waste Management Program was established in 1997, in conjunction with the environmental organisation from Chennai of the same name.The project uses the ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’ principle, with each item segregated by hand, and all biodegradable waste turned into compost. Paper, glass and cardboard are recycled, plastic bags are washed, dried and sold for recycling. Today, EXNORA (EXcellent NOvel and RAdical ideas) is a completely self-sustaining unit; collecting more than two tons of waste a day, and employing over two hundred local workers. Their jobs are regularly rotated so that more skills are constantly being developed. This program serves as a model for other rural communities to adopt.
In the first phase, biodegradable waste is mixed with cow dung and urine – neutralising the odour – and sits under the hot sun for three months. It is then moved into the vermi-composting shed, where worms bred on site break down the compost for another three months. Finally, the compost is sifted and packed into bags. This compost, known as ‘black gold’, is sold at the temple and used in the campus gardens, afforestation areas and tree nursery