Anything to do with composting case studies is incomplete until we hear from a certain someone. ‘Endlessly Green’ is happy to team up with this particular composting expert and thanks her and her ‘We Care for Malleswaram’ team-mate Shyamala Suresh for bringing you HOME COMPOSTING METHODS.
By Shyamala Suresh
When she first experimented with composting, Vani failed. Today she’s regarded as one of the leading urban composting experts in Bengaluru. She has practised and taught several methods. Her apartment is a laboratory of sorts where she has four different methods of composting running in parallel. It has become a great open source of information and has people flocking it each time she holds a composting workshop. In fact, there have been more than a few who have walked out of the workshop fully transformed—from being a cowdung-hater to a compost-lover. Let’s explore the home composting methods she has perfected for over five years.
Urban composting is the simplest solution for managing an individual unit’s wet waste and there are different methods to choose from, all of which are simple and effective.
“Composting in simple words is the breakdown of organic matter, it happens naturally in open spaces. However, in the urban setting, lack of space requires us to practice this in a contained atmosphere. This requires a certain amount of understanding as we are creating conditions suitable for breakdown in the contained atmosphere. Often, bad smell, rodents and insects are the primary issues that people face due to lack of understanding,” says Vani.
Aerobic, as the name goes, involves air circulation for the breakdown of organic matter. It requires very little in terms of infrastructure. If you choose not to invest in a Khamba from Daily Dump, you can start with any container. But make sure you punch some small holes around it to ensure circulation. Vani has been practising with both Khamba and other containers for years.
What you need: A Khamba or a pot or a tub or any container with small holes for aeration, dry leaves and an inoculum which is nothing but a rich concentration of micro-organisms to speed up the composting process.
- Collect all the organic waste from your kitchen and mix it with dry leaves of equal quantity. Crush the dry leaves for faster and easier breakdown.
- Either add half-done compost or butter milk or cow dung or Panchagavya to start the process.
- The pile must be turned once in four days.
- If the pile is too wet then it will start to stink. Add more dry leaves to neutralize it and aerate it. If it’s too dry, the breakdown will stop. Sprinkle some water.
- Once full, it will take 30-45 days to become compost.
- Sieve it and use the finer part. The rest can go back into the container for further breakdown.
Points to ponder:
- It is advisable to avoid adding meat, dairy products and cooked food at least in the beginning.
- Keep the container covered, but not airtight.
- Daily Dump sells the Khamba which comes with detailed instructions.
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About the author
Waste management and composting-crazy person; addicted to sports and books. Shyamala loves people, animals, the gym, conversations and growing organic food.