One of the major problems that’s on rise in most of the urban cities is managing urban waste. An urban Indian citizen generates nearly 700 grams of solid waste per person per day that is nearly 250 kg in a year and around 60 per cent of it is made up of organic matter. The precious wet waste that can potentially become black gold, remains unusable junk inside our landfills and in addition it releases harmful toxin gases due to anaerobic decomposition. By mixing this organic waste with the recyclable waste (paper, plastic, metal), we make even the recyclable waste less recoverable. The key to a clean, garbage free city lies in citizens who take up the responsibilities of source segregation and composting. So let’s get started with composting at home to do our part towards reducing the piling up of landfills that can be accomplished in very easy and simple steps.
Easy steps to convert kitchen waste into rich compost :
1. Collect all the wet waste from the kitchen like vegetable pieces, fruit peels, egg shells, tea bags and coffee ground.
2. Take a plastic bucket with lid (20-30 litre capacity) and make holes on it in a way that sufficient air can pass in the bucket
3. Add some dried leaves and garden trimmings at the bottom of the bucket about 1 inch, then add the wet waste, add a fistful of compost or buttermilk or cow dung to initiate the aerobic decomposition process and finally cover this with dry leaves/ garden trimmings.
4. Repeat the process till the bucket is full and turn the pile around every alternate day with the help of a rake. This helps in balancing carbon and nitrogen. Dry leaves and garden trimmings are carbon rich materials, while kitchen wastes form nitrogen rich materials.
5. The pile has to be kept at the optimum level of dampness. If it is too wet, add dried leaves and mix; if too dry, sprinkle some water and mix
6. Once the bucket is full, leave it for 45-60 days for complete decomposition and keep on turning the pile once in every 3-4 days so that the bucket is well aerated that helps in speeding up the break down process of organic matter
7. After two months, the waste will be converted into nutrient rich compost. The compost thus prepared is dark brown in color, crumbly, moist and smells earthy. It can be used to fertilize the plants in the kitchen garden.
Lastly a few points to remember that make composting easy:
1. Do not add cooked food, meat and diary products, atleast in the beginning, to avoid foul smell
2. This task will take a couple of months to get familiarized with the composting process.
3. You may come across some initial problems like maggots, soldier flies or the stench might put you off, but keep yourself going for at least two or three cycles of composting.
4. Always add the banana peels that are rich in potassium, the nutrient that makes the plants resistant to pests and diseases and egg shells that are rich in calcium that helps in keeping away the blossom end rot in tomatoes