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How a Farm in Dharamsala Can Help us Replace Plastic Bags with Eco Friendly Cow Dung Planters

These innovative cow dung planters help reduce the menace of plastic bags causing pollution and sickness in animals.

About a year-and-a-half ago, an enterprise called Badmash Peepal  came into existence when a family bought a property called Peepal Farm near Dharamsala, Himachal Pradesh. Soon, a few friends and local community members joined them. Their aim was to ‘alleviate physical pain’.

They decided to make use of the property by accommodating recovering injured stray animals and “creatively maladjusted people who want to do good work.” An organic farm was created to provide for the residents of the premises.

Stray cows, injured or suffering from other medical problems, can be commonly seen on this farm. With so much cow dung easily available, the family decided to look for ways to use this as raw material to create something useful.

Recently, they came upon the idea of making ‘Cow Poop Pots’.

Use cow poop pots and dump plastic ones
Use cow poop pots and dump plastic ones.

Anyone who buys plants knows that most nurseries sell the little saplings in plastic bags. Once the plants are transferred to mud or cement pots, the plastic bags are discarded. They either end up in landfills or are burnt – causing pollution and harming the environment. 

Even worse, many of these small bags just fly around and land in green patches where animals graze. The animals end up eating them and consequently die from stomach ailments. Similarly, the light weight plastic bags often fly into nearby water sources and end up in the stomachs of marine creatures.

It is extremely unfortunate and ironic that innocent animals pay the price for our interest in the greenery around us.

A usual sight outside a nursery
A usual sight outside a nursery

“The ‘cow poop pot’ is the best answer for this menace of plastic bags. Not only does it save the environment it is better for our gardens too. Once the plant  gets bigger in the cow poop pot and needs to be transplanted into the ground, there is no need to dig a deep hole. This pot with the plant can simply be placed at the designated spot and a small mound of mud created to conceal it,” says Robin Singh, the founder of Badmash Peepal.

Plants started in a cow dung planter can be placed directly in the ground without having to disturb the root ball.

A plant started in a cow poop planter being transffered to the ground
A plant started in a cow dung planter being transferred to the ground

So how is this pot made? Just six simple steps and the cow poop pot is ready! After that, if sun dried properly, the smell of the dung goes away too.  The machine to make these planters was designed by the Holy Cow Foundation in New Delhi.

The six steps to creating these eco-friendly planters are:

1. Collecting the cow dung

Collecting cow dung is the first step

2. Removing earthworms from the dung

Removing earthworms from the dung is the next step

3. Filling the mould with the cleaned dung

Filling the mould with the cleaned dung is next

4. Compressing with manual effort is the next step

Compressing with manual effort is the next step

5. Removing the compressed pot comes next

Removing the compressed pot comes next

6. Finally the pot is ready to be sun dried for 24 hours

Finally the pot is ready to be sun dried for 24 hours
“These pots can be easily purchased from the farm (for Rs. 15 each) by those who live in and around Dharamsala. They are also available at the local stores and nurseries around our farm. We plan to soon start a gardening club based on a ‘Community Supported Agriculture’ model. For a nominal subscription fee, we will provide a monthly box of seasonal saplings in these cows dung pots and the money collected will be used to take care of the stray and injured cows and bulls,” adds Robin.

For more information, please contact Robin Singh on mail  at:

Photo Credits: Robin Singh and Joellen Anderson

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About the author:
Aparna Menon is a freelance writer, writing for various newspapers for the past 10 years. Her main fields of interest are wildlife, heritage and history. A keen traveler, she loves to read and write and does a lot of art work too.

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