When we replace our kitchen waste bin with a composter, we demolish all the unethical and wrongly institutionalised waste ‘management’ practices perfected over 1000s of years all over the world—in one go! Change can be so powerful and liberating! This change can be realised at home where self-renewal of what we call ‘waste’ goes on ceaselessly provided we create the right atmosphere and the apparatus for it.
A neat, tidy and compact composter is what you need to bring about one such beautiful change in your routine. A pair of Eva can help you do just that.
Made of fibre-reinforced polymer (FRP), Eva is strong-bodied, well-designed and long-lasting. She comes in two capacities: 50 litres (about 27+ kg) and 30 litres (about 16+ kg). Please note that when you keep adding the inputs day by day, breakdown keeps happening and so does compaction of the contents inside. Which means, it can take in more waste than what the tech specs show.
Both capacities come with an aerator-cum-compost tea strainer. When inserted, it sits a few inches above a small tank allowing excess moisture (or compost tea) to drip down through the holes. The same can be extracted through a tap fitted at the bottom in the front a few days after the batch starts, and every couple of days thereafter.
Below: Eva-50 and Eva-30.
- Chop the kitchen rejects into smaller pieces. This increases the surface area of the waste particles and speeds up the decomposing process. Drain out extra moisture, if any.
- Spread a two-inch-thick layer of Endlessly Green Microbial Cocopeat (or Compost Culture) at the bottom. Add a two-inch-thick layer of kitchen waste rejects on top of it. Now add another layer of cocopeat. Repeat the process until Eva is almost full. Always cover the top layer with cocopeat to prevent fruit flies from accessing the food waste. But make sure you don’t fill it to the brim thereby blocking the aerator.
- A few days after you start the batch, drain out the compost tea through the tap. The quantity of the tea is directly proportional to the nature of input. If there are too many fruit peels, then more tea. Drain it, dilute it at 1: 10 (compost tea : water) ratio and use it for gardening. This liquid is nutritious and loaded with soil-friendly microbes.
Composting is basically a drying process. Hence you will witness the pile inside Eva going down even as cocopeat resists compaction and continues to allow aeration all over the pile. Different strains of bacteria, fungi, protozoa, etc., begin to act on the food waste. When they perish, another batch of microbes arrives and picks up from where its predecessors left off. This is Nature’s perfect algorithm and no one can tinker with this. The least we can do is to accelerate the process by chopping the waste into smaller pieces and adding microbes manually. If you pay attention to the changes happening inside the pile, you will agree that the science of composting is fascinating which can keep widening the circle of your curiosity batch after batch.
In about 3-4 weeks, earthy aroma begins to emanate out of Eva — the kind you experience when the first few raindrops hit the earth after a long summer. This means one thing: most of the bacteria and fungi have gone, and actinomycetes—a half-fungi and half-bacteria—has arrived to break down the food waste further. This also means something more: the announcement of the grand finale!
Harvest this compost, sieve it, and put the fine compost in an aerated container or a bag to cure. Toss the semi-processed clumps into the next batch.
Please note: There are actually two stages in composting. The first one is the active phase of composting where all the biological process goes on briskly. Bacteria dial up the temperature even as compost tea keeps dripping down. The second phase is when most of the food is broken down and hence the biological activity is at its lowest, but not stopped. During the curing stage, further breakdown happens at a slow pace and then the pile cools down completely. Only now is this compost ready to nourish your plants. If used prematurely, it can harm the plants. So please be patient.
Eva’s plus points
Eva scores high with its FRP build, the aerator, the compost tea strainer and then the tap that lets you take out the excess moisture. The result: no odour, no flies, no overflowing maggots. There are enough aeration vents at the top and just above the compost tea tanks. This allows enough air in and also through the aerator.
If moisture is not drained out properly, then high moisture retention at the bottom of the composter can trigger excess maggot proliferation and bad odour. Lack of aeration also triggers bad odour problems, moisture build-up and excess maggots. All this can slow down the process and bring out soggy compost which will need further processing. Eva simply eliminates these pressure points and renders your composting experience hassle-free.
FRP means no rust or no repainting hassles. If kept in a shaded but well-aerated spot, its lifespan increases.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Usually, the ratio of microbial cocopeat to kitchen waste is 1:3. One kg of cocopeat can process 3 kg of kitchen waste. To cut costs, use 40-50 percent of compost from a previous batch and 50-60 percent of fresh microbial cocopeat.
The first batch always takes 7-10 days longer as the microbes present in the cocopeat and the food waste need time to multiply and build colonies. The second batch onwards, it takes not more than four weeks to finish at least 80 percent of transformation from waste to compost provided you stick to the recipe and allow enough aeration by placing the composters in a well-aerated spot. No composter gives you 100 percent ready-to-use compost at once as certain types of waste take longer to break down.
Tip 1: I find it more convenient to collect all the rejects in a container and then transfer it to the composter before packing the day in. If I keep going to the composter each time I have some rejects coming out of my kitchen, I have to open the composter as many times which unnecessarily dissipates the heat generated by the bacterial activity.
Tip 2: Mixing of the waste with microbial cocopeat speeds up the process than layering it. Barring the bottommost and the topmost layers, the rest goes all mixed.
Price (until online sales start):
Eva, 50 litres (27+ kg): Rs 5,000 + 12% GST + Rs 300 delivery charges within Bangalore. For locations beyond Bangalore, courier charges are applicable as per actual.
Eva, 30 litres (16+ kg): Rs 3,000 + 12% GST + Rs 300 delivery charges within Bangalore. For locations beyond Bangalore, courier charges are applicable as per actual.
No 48/2, Amaatra Academy Road,
Opp Reliable Lifestyle Gate,
Kasavanahalli Main Road, Off Sarjapura Road,
Mobile: 9686862946, 9900717946.
M: 93934 67950.