In my last article, I mentioned how our waste poses a big threat for us. I also discussed how we, as individuals, can do a lot to reduce our waste. One method I mentioned entailed converting our waste into ‘black gold’ – that is, compost.
A few months back, in January, I attended a workshop on home composting organised by We Mean To Clean which inspired me to start composting at home. In this article, I would like to share my experiences and procedures for making a compost at home.
1. Start with segregating the waste. The waste we produce are generally of two types – wet waste (consisting of fruits and vegetable peels, garden weeds, green leafs, flowers, coffee, tea bags etc.), and the other is dry waste (consisting of plastics, packaging material, among many other things).
2. For composting, you will need a compost bin which either you can buy online or make it at home.
3. I made a bin at home using an old plastic bucket. For making such a bin, make holes near the top of the bucket such that sufficient oxygen can reach the compost mixture. In order to keep flies and other insects away, you can cover the holes with an old dupatta, which will still allow oxygen to pass. Also, make a hole in the bottom of the bucket. During the process, liquid fertiliser will also be formed, which you can collect through that hole. After diluting it with water, you can spray it on your plants.
4. Now, put all the wet waste you have collected into that bucket. It will be source of nitrogen for your compost. Along with the wet waste, you have to add an approximately equal amount of carbon sources like dry leaves, sawdust, wood chips, wood ash, and used paper. Make sure not to use newspapers as it will take lot of time to decompose and the ink used in it can also be harmful.
5. Do not use plastic, metal, bones, meat, glass, cheese, and other biohazardous substances. Food waste should also not to be used, as it will bring odour. I will also suggest you not to waste food.
6. Mix all the contents in the mixture thoroughly. If you have some previous compost that you had brought previously, you can add it too in small quantity, as it will fasten the process. However, it is perfectly alright if you cannot add it.
7. After thoroughly mixing these materials, sprinkle some turmeric powder over the compost to drive away any flies or mosquitoes. Cover the bucket completely.
8. Make sure to spend around five minutes every day to mix the contents of your compost, as it will make the process faster.
9. If you find your compost to be more wet than normal, than add some more carbon-rich sources.
On the other hand, if it turns out to be more dry in the initial days, then you can add wet waste. However, if you find it dry even after a month or so, then don’t add wet waste as it will increase the decomposition period. In this case, just add an appropriate amount of water.
10. One of the most telling signs that the composting process is proceeding as planned is that you will find moisture in your bucket. The mixture will also be in a heated state.
11. It will take around 45-60 days to complete your composting process – and I assure you that the effort will be worth it.
12. After your compost is ready, you can use it for your plants or distribute it in the neighbourhood or nearby parks.
Always remember – it’s just about the first step. The only way to know whether you will be successful or not is to start it. With time, you may find some challenges, but you will always figure a way out. Then, you can use that experience to help out others.
I also encountered many challenges, but those only helped me to guide others. Be an inspiration and just give a start to your composting journey. After all, your waste is your responsibility.
Featured image used for representative purposes only.