The Art and Science of Composting

  • Reduces the burden on our landfills: Many dumping grounds in cities across India are severely overburdened and running overcapacity. If we started composting, the burden on our dumping grounds would reduce significantly!
  • Decreases greenhouse gas emissions: When food rots in landfills, it breaks down anaerobically (without oxygen) and releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is 25 times more potent at warming the earth than carbon dioxide. Ugh. We can avoid this by simply composting at home. Additionally, if we composted at home, our biodegradable waste doesn’t need to be transported across large distances for dumping/ processing. This further reduces vehicular CO2 emissions.
  • Prevents water pollution: Fruits and vegetables have a high water content (approx 70 to 90%). When mixed waste is discarded in landfills, this water from the rotting organics can react with metals in the landfill to produce toxic leachate that causes groundwater pollution.
  • Improves soil quality: Compost is packed with beneficial nutrients and minerals that are essential for plant growth. Compost also helps the soil breathe more easily and helps retain moisture. This allows us to reduce the amount of water we use for watering plants.
  1. Get a composter: You can order one from brands like Dailydump, Smartbin Air or you can even make your own DIY version by drilling some holes in a bucket. Here’s a reference video.
  2. Add food scraps and cover it with browns: Drop your food scraps (aka greens) into the composter daily and cover with a layer of cocopeat/ crushed dry leaves/saw dust (aka browns). As a thumb rule, a good ratio of browns to greens is 2:1. So for every part of food scraps/ kitchen waste, remember to add double the amount of browns.
  3. Add microbes: Add some microbial culture to your composter once a week or so to help speed up the process. Most composters come with the microbial culture along with the order. Or you can order it separately from brands such as Dailydump. You can also use sour buttermilk instead.
  4. Stir the contents: Since this is an aerobic process, give it an occasional stir to let oxygen in to speed up the process. Once full, keep the pot to rest and repeat the process in another pot. In about 3–4 weeks, your first batch of compost will be ready!
Image source: On-farm Composting Handbook by Robert Rynk

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We’re a sustainability social enterprise helping organisations, workspaces and events adopt sustainable practices and zero waste solutions.

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