India generates 62 million tons of waste every year. This includes the plastic, metals and organic matter that we throw out every day. While most plastic and metal can be recycled, organic waste is left to rot in already overflowing landfills where it doesn’t get the oxygen it needs to decompose. In unmanaged landfills, the decomposition of organic matter releases methane that has the potential to trap solar radiation 20 times more effectively than carbon dioxide, causing an increase in the global temperature. And that’s what makes composting so important. While it might sound complicated, it’s basically using your food scraps and other decomposable matter to create a fertile and nutrient-rich soil that can be used in various ways. Here’s how to set up a compost pit in your building.
Step 1: Finding the perfect spot
The spot you choose should get a lot of sunlight and be far away enough from neighbouring houses so that the smell is not a problem.
Step 2: Making the pit
Dig a hole that’s about 2 to 3 feet deep and 3 feet wide. Make sure you don’t dig too deep because the organic matter needs a good amount of oxygen and enough heat to decompose properly.
Step 3: Get your ingredients ready
Step 4 : Time to layer them up
Begin with a layer of all your decomposable waste and mix them together to ensure nothing gets left out. Over that, add a layer of soil and dry leaves to completely cover the layer below. Repeat the steps till your pile of organic matter is about a foot above the ground.
Step 5: Don’t forget to hydrate
Water the compost pit until all the ingredients are soaked. Moisture is a very important factor in the decomposition process so ensure you don’t miss a spot.
Step 6: Give it a good mix
Once every week, use a spade or shovel to give the entire mixture a good turn to ensure that enough air is getting to the matter. This is also the perfect time to give it another spray of water so that it doesn’t get too dry.
Step 7: Now we wait
Composting usually takes a few weeks so be patient. Make sure you’re doing step 6 once every week to ensure the compost is of a good quality. If you’re not noticing any progress after a couple of weeks, add more ‘green’ material to it and keep it moist. On the other hand, if it’s too smelly and wet, add more soil and turn the compost more frequently. The perfect compost will smell and feel like soil.
Step 8: Finally time to use it
The finished compost can be used in multiple ways. If you have plants at home, the nutrient-rich compost is the perfect supplement for your potting soil. Instead of spending money on expensive fertilisers, you can use the compost to slowly give your plants the nutrients that they need. Compost is also great for starting a garden in your building.
Composting is not only beneficial to you but also to the environment. Every bit of waste you prevent from ending up in a landfill reduces the devastating impact they have on the ecology around it. And right now, our environment needs all the help it can get.