Imagine if the garbage collector in your area does not come for a few days. The stench emanating from our garbage will be enough to make us sick! Now multiply this stench and garbage by hundred times, that is exactly what the villagers living next to large landfills for garbage dumping experience everyday! Municipal corporations across India are finding it difficult to find space for garbage landfills. The only solution to this problem is to generate less waste from each home, but is that a feasible idea?
Nearly 40-50% of all the waste we produce is organic that can be reused to improve soil’s fertility. Earth’s soil provides plants with nutrients that puts into a process a stream of ecological systems, allowing life to thrive. So instead of using chemical fertilizers and growth hormones to soil to increase its fertility, the organic waste produced in our homes can be reused and converted into organic fertilizer through decomposition in a compost pit.
Compost pits can be built according to the type of residential building you live in. if you live in an independent house, an underground composting process can be done in the garden at your house. It consists of three basic steps: digging of the pit, placing organic waste in it and covering it with soil. Such a DIY compost pit at home can be easily built without much expense; thus is the ideal model for those who might find other methods of composting difficult to implement, owing to the technicalities or amount of fund required.
While you prepare a compost pit at home, make sure you follow these measures:
- Cut all your organic waste into small pieces. Mix carbon-rich waste like paper and dried leaves and nitrogen-rich waste like vegetable scraps and food leftovers. This will fasten the process of decomposition.
- Dig a pit to a depth of one foot and broaden the size depending on the amount of organic waste generated. Typically, a pit of 1 ft deep by 2ft wide by 3ft long would be suitable for a large household of 5-6 members.
- Close the area with gunny bags and add scrap to it daily. The decomposition process takes about 4-5 weeks. Water the area daily to speed up the process. You can also begin sowing seeds and growing plants after the initial two weeks.
- Make sure there are no utility lines passing near the compost pit area. Do not add any animal products like meat, bones or dairy products to your compost pit as it can attract pests.
The compost generated can be utilized for your kitchen garden to grow vegetables. However, if you live in an apartment, you need to look at alternative ways to create compost. Generating the right microbes to start the composting process is difficult to achieve indoors.
Daily Dump, a Bangalore-based organization has innovated easy-to-use home compost pots, along with a friendly compost-pit manual. They also provide eco-friendly accessories to help with the preparation. Daily Dump’s “Kambha Composter” is a three-tiered terracotta unit that has holes in it. If you begin with Daily Dump’s starter kit worth Rs.1800, you get a ready remix of compost and starter microbes that help you begin the process easily.
Kitchen waste needs to be dumped into the top-most pot (A unit), until it becomes three-fourths full. Remember to stir the contents once in a while. Once the pot is three-fourths full, you need to transfer its content to the second pot (B unit). Now the A unit is again ready for use. Once it is 3/4ths full, again we need to shift the contents of B to C (the bottom-most unit) and after this, we need to shift contents of A to B. After a month or so, (it may take longer initially) you will find that the contents of the bottom-pot have turned into dark powdery manure.
Vegetable peels, fruit peels, coffee and tea decoction, dry leaves can be added, but adding leftover food can emanate a bad odor in an apartment. If you place the Kambha composter in a corner of your balcony, then the smell issue can be avoided. However, flies are attracted to it during summer. They can be kept away by a homemade repellent made from apple cider vinegar or Peppermint essential oil. If you carry out the correct process, the smell coming from manure will be like the smell of soil!
If you think this kind of stirring, transferring and segregating is too hectic for a working professional, you can try the “Smartbins” created another by Bengaluru-based company Greentech Life. can take all kinds of food waste, including non-vegetarian leftovers. Greentech Life has innovated the idea of sprinkling Bio Bloom starter microbes that rapidly begin the decomposition process. The Smartbin has a strainer at the bottom which leaches out the leachate liquid through a tap. Since the bin is completely sealed, all chances of insect attack and rotting smell are eliminated.