As the city boundaries are limitlessly expanding, so are the problems that accompany a growing population — traffic, pollution, increased cost of living. But the ugliest and potentially the most toxic issues of all is waste. Even the most successful and advanced cities don’t seem to have an efficient solution for its management. It seems like there is no getting away from the stench and the unseemly sights of garbage piling up in street corners, empty plots and landfills located outside city limits. And this is causing more than a space constraint — groundwater contamination, toxic gas emission, parasite breeding and greenhouse gas emission are all the common side-effects of our uncontrolled growth.
Every day, each of us generates about 600 grams of waste, amounting to almost 250kgs of waste every year. For a city with 1.2 crore citizens, that’s a LOT of waste. But the good news is that 65% of it is food waste. With just a small change, we can divert this portion from landfills and reuse it to fertilise our gardens and fields. Contrary to popular belief, composting is not messy or smelly. Done right, it can even be stored in your balcony without hassle.
Here are a few tips to get you started.
- Segregate your wet and dry waste
- Collect all your kitchen wastes like vegetables or fruit peels, food remains, greens, tea leaves etc. Mix it with an equal quantity of dried leaves, buttermilk or cow dung and add it into the first composting pot to start off the decomposition process
- Add fresh waste to the pot and gently mix the pile every day. Ensure that the mixture is adequately damp. If it’s too dry, add water to the pot and stir it gently; if it’s too wet, add more dried leaves.
- Once the pot is filled, leave it open for a month and repeat the same steps for the second pot
- Once the second pot is filled as well, move the semi composted matter into a third larger pot and repeat the process again.
In just two months, your wet waste will have fully decomposed into nutrient-rich manure that you can use in your garden.
Wanna make the most of the waste? Here’s how you can improve the quality of your manure
- Do not add meat, bones and coconut shells to the mix. They take longer to decompose
- Ensure that your compost is a good mix of carbon-rich materials or “browns,” and nitrogen-rich materials or “greens”. The more diverse the materials going into the compost pile, the greater the biodiversity of the compost produced at the end
- Good compost is all about the equal ratio – and this is a skill gained through experience than exactly science So keep at it!
You can use simple earthen pots for this process, or procure composting bins designed to aid composting. A number of facebook groups and eco-warriors are eager to help out a newbie, so don’t be shy about asking for help. Composting only gets easier with practice. Wanna know how we do it at GoNative? Stay tuned!