Heal, Sustainability
How To Make Compost At Home With Kitchen Waste ?

Vani Murthy

Founding Member of SWMRT, Brand Ambassador for Swachagraha & TEDx Speaker

6 min read

 

There are so many things that we buy and have no clue how to dispose them properly. Taking the pandemic into account, so many people are buying masks right now, but do they know how to dispose a mask properly? Unfortunately no, and all of this is going to end up in our landfills polluting our precious environment. But, what if I told you that you could make a positive impact on the planet simply by learning how to manage waste properly. From making compost from UR kitchen waste to learning how to manage waste, we have it all covered for you. So, let’s work together to stop this endless cycle of garbage!

The components of waste could be many things starting from dry waste, packaging, bottles, kitchen waste, hazardous waste (like broken bottles) and other plastics.

These components of waste are so vast that when all these various forms of unwanted waste/garbage are combined and picked up by the municipality. With the unavailability of waste management facilities or proper protocols, this waste ends up being dumped in a landfill or in water bodies. The way I look at it is that, until we understand what these landfills can do to our environment, we will not take action to contribute to a better future for our planet.

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How Landfills Affect Our Environment?

Compressed garbage mountains in the landfills are considered to be more harmful than carbon dioxide. It was life-changing when I visited a landfill and saw the impact myself. 60 per cent of biodegradable waste is from our kitchen. It is broken down anaerobically in the landfills, as it is constantly being compressed and this process emits methane. This is one of the deadliest gases, and is considered to be 20x worse than carbon dioxide. We contribute to the greenhouse gases once we discharge kitchen waste out of our homes. It could be in a lake, river, ocean or it’s in a plastic cover and a cow could be eating it. So, we really don’t know where our garbage ends up!

Did you know that Bengaluru produces 4,500 tonnes of garbage/waste everyday?

My waste is my responsibility. This is why I chose to live sustainably and not be a burden on the planet. I do my bit by making compost, disinfectant, stashing milk packets and much more. And it just doesn’t stop here. There is a dark liquid called leachate which runs out of the landfills, contaminates our groundwater and the soil. The three things which we need to sustain on this planet are air to breath, water to drink and soil to grow our food. We have unfortunately contaminated it all by discharging biodegradable waste out of our homes unnecessarily.

If you say no to a landfill, what do you do with the waste ?

You can first start by understanding the categories of waste your home or household may generate. All the waste from UR kitchen is organic matter, which should essentially go back to the soil by making compost. If you have a composting facility available in your neighbourhood or city, so you can drop off your organic waste for it to be processed.

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Did you know that 60 per cent of biodegradable waste is from our kitchen? All the waste from your kitchen is organic matter, which should essentially go back into the soil in the form of
compost.


For example, the USA has many facilities for recycling and managing waste. India, is yet to introduce waste management centres and reduce its carbon footprint. We have a long way to go. Meanwhile, why don’t we take the responsibility of learning the categories of waste and making compost at home?

Categories Of Waste
1st category

Dry waste(recyclable): Packaging, cardboard, newspapers, cinema tickets, plastic, metal cans, bus tickets and every bit of paper that can be recycled.

2nd category

Kitchen/food waste: Vegetable peels, fruit peels, coffee or tea powder.

3rd category

Sanitary waste: Medical waste, band-aids, sanitary pads, anything which is body contaminated.

Hazardous waste: Broken items like bottles etc.

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In Bangalore, we have a system called 2 bin 1 bag. The green bin is for your kitchen waste and the red bin is for rejects (things which can’t be recycled or composted) goes into that bin. And, the third is your bag which you can hang and collect milk sachets without the ends being snipped fully. Every bit of packaging can be collected, sent to the recycling centre or given to your kabadiwala.

In Bangalore, we have recycling centres. 198 wards in total and each ward has a DWCC (Dry waste collection centre). This is one of the ways you can dispose UR dry waste correctly. By not mixing dry waste with other types of waste helps us all contribute to a better world that mitigates climate change together.

Another way of making a positive impact on the planet is by making compost. Here is how I make my compost from my kitchen waste at home.

How To Make Compost At Home With Kitchen Waste
Ingredients

Greens: Vegetable peels, fruit peels, coffee or tea powder and leftover food bits (organic matter only) – 1 large bowl

Browns: Dried leaves, cardboard or sawdust – 2-3 bowls

Microbes: Sour buttermilk- 1 tbsp or cow dung – 2-3 tbsp

Container: Terracotta pot, a red mud pot with a lid, or a small bucket with holes (for air circulation) and a lid.

Preparation

Step 1: Drain out excess moisture from the vegetables and fruit peels in a colander. For example; watermelon or papaya need to be drained of moisture. Use a kitchen towel or a paper napkin to remove the moisture. Cut the large pieces of leftover veggies or fruits for them to break down easily.

Step 2: Add the dried leaves in a small container or bowl. Crush the leaves and add the vegetable peels, fruit peels, coffee or tea powder. Mix everything. Now, add the buttermilk or cow dung using the mentioned quantities and mix everything well.

Step 3: Transfer everything into a bucket, a pot, or a container with small holes and a lid. Repeat the same action every day. Once in 4 to 5 days turn the ingredients in the container to introduce oxygen, as this is anaerobic composting. Add vegetable peels, fruit peels and Brown’s until UR container is completely full. It takes 45 days for the ingredients to break down and become compost. You can repeat the same process in another container for your next batch of compost.

Note:

Always keep the composter (container) away from the rain. You can use this to fertilise your soil to grow veggies at home.

This is how I do my bit and so can you to break the cycle of mismanaging waste and being more mindful. For more information on waste management, log onto these websites Swachagraha or 2bin1bag to find out how you can start managing and making the most out of waste.

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