Composting Food Waste And Making Sustainable Fertilizer
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Methane – a gas produced as a consequence of tonnes of waste materials like food scraps, paper and debris being dumped, is a greenhouse gas that traps heat in the atmosphere. Everytime we discard scraps of food or pieces of paper into our dustbins, chances are that it will most likely end up in landfill. Hence, any method or practice that reduces these chances is always something we must consider working towards, in order to have a smaller impact on the environment, at large.

Enter, composting – a method where decomposed organic matter improves the quality of soil by increasing its capacity to retain moisture, get lush with bacteria and nutrients as well as increase plants’ resistance to insects and diseases. Briefly described, composting basically involves combining food waste and paper products into a pile and allowed to sit, in order to let the environment microbes to breakdown the mixture over time. While the idea of what composting is might not be entirely alien to us, one of the most common myths surrounding the practice is that it needs plenty of space to be done.

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Unlike large-scale composting which happens on farmlands, composting on a micro-level can begin with allotting a little bit of space under your kitchen sink or balconies. Most cities also have various composting programmes where a community effort is taken towards contributing organic waste to upcycle into food for the soil. Long story short, the more compost you produce, the more you can add to soils and the better food you grow.

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Vegetable Waste That Can Be Reused In The Kitchen

Buying a compost bin that is good enough to fit into compact spaces is necessary. Make sure to buy one with a lid, so you can create a warm environment for the microbes to thrive within. If possible, set up the bin in a well-drained area with partial exposure to the sun. Once the bin is set up – divide your waste into two categories – green and brown. All food waste falls under the ‘green’ category and waste materials like sawdust, paper, wood chips usually make up the ‘brown’.

Follow the ratio of two parts brown waste to one part green waste. Ideally, add the green waste to the bin and cover it up with the brown waste and make sure to mix everything together at regular weekly intervals. If you do end up adding green waste items like watermelon rinds or tomato seeds, which contain higher moisture levels, to the compost bin, adjust and increase the ratio of brown waste slightly. Find the list of what to and what not to compost below:

To Compost

  • Fruit and veggie scraps
  • Tea leaves
  • Eggshells
  • Meat and bones
  • Dairy products
  • Dried grass
  • Rice, pulses, nuts
  • Bread, baked goods

To Not Compost

  • Plastic
  • Weeds
  • Metal
  • Glass
  • Cardboard
  • Laminated paper
  • Milk cartons, milk packets