Clean Energy

Composting at home. Its easy. Its effective.

Is waste handling a problem at your place?
If you are residing in a city like Kathmandu then you are definitely finding hardship to handle your daily waste. You can not help when frequent and inevitable strikes by municipality workers prolong more than a week or sometimes to couple of week. Your home stinks with the waste and you have only a choice to look to the municipality authority to resume service. But why? Why do you have to expect to municipality authority when you can handle your waste at your home in smarter way? Look how.
v  Understand that the amount of waste you are thinking is not really a waste. Only 30 % of total waste (of you think) is real waste.
v  To find out the real waste, you need to segregate the waste first. As you segregate, you soon come to realize that you have very less waste.
v  Categorize them to four categories 1. Decomposable 2. Recyclable 3. Reusable 4. Waste
v  Look at  the  example below
Kitchen Green & Brown waste, leaves and twigs from garden,  shredded newspaper
Bottles, Plastic Bags, Newspaper & Magazines, Metal Scrap, Clothes
Plastic Bags, Plastic Containers, Paper cartoons
Meat & Dairy Products, Electronic products,  Medical waste ,cigarette butts, Aluminum foil
For Decomposable waste, start composting in a bin and produce nutrient rich compost manure for your plants and flower in garden.
Recyclable waste, sell it to KAWADI , you will get a good price while you are  helping for a better planet.
In case of reusable waste, develop habit to reuse. When you are reusing, you are obviously saving money also you are saving environment.
Finally waste (actually too little) .

Start with a compost bin

If you are composting kitchen waste, any kind of containers can be used. Bins can  be built from scraps cans or buckets with the tight fitting lid. You may choose whatever is available to you locally. If you are going for clay pot, chose a pot with the small holes around its walls and at the base too. You need to have a vase like pot at the base of one to collect fine compost.

Composting is not a skill but a sweet habit. For composting, first of all lay a base. A base can be the layer of dry leaves, shredded newspaper or twigs from garden.  Then you can start piling kitchen waste into the bin. Remember , dry leaves or moisture soaking materials are very  important to keep the composting  good because kitchen waste discharge water during decomposition which needs to be balanced with dry organic material. If composting is done without dry organic material, then the compost starts to get filthier, starts to stink and the result compost will not be good.
Inside composting
Once you have started composting and pile up the kitchen and garden waste in a bin, bacteria, fungi and insects help to decompose the organic waste. The pile gets hotter inside which is an exothermic process.
Be careful while you are selecting composting material!
Do compost
Do not compost
Vegetable scraps
Fruit rinds. Cores, pits and peels
Fish and Poultry
Coffee grounds, tea bags
Pasta, breads, cereals, grains
Oily foods
Paper napkins, paper towels
All kind of milk products
Egg shell
Other animal products
Flowers from puja
Dead animal, Animal hair & feathers
Cooked food and rotten vegetables
Batteries ,
Cigarettes butts
Aluminum foil, wrappers
Take care
When you are piling the waste in the bin, be careful you are alternating green and brown waste. Brown waste is good source of carbon which adds the quality to the composting process. Also, for effective composting, the size of the composting material should be carefully chopped into smaller pieces. Remember to mix the pile every week with the help of a fork or twig.
At first time, you may not get expected result.
There’s a high chances to make common mistake at your composting process too. So here, I have mentioned some the problems which are most likely to occur at first attempt and also the solution of the problems,
1.      Compost is stinking
If your compost is stinking then you certainly have not added dried leaves, shredded newspaper, saw dust. This can also happen if you are not stirring/ mixing the compost material every 4-5 days.
2.      Insects and flies are attracted
If fruit flies and insects are attracted at your compost area then, your compost must have been slimy and wet. Best way to avoid flies is adding proper amount of dried waste, shredded newspaper to the compost. If you are composting in vertical container, cover the compost with paper or close the lid tight.
{Resources : Daily, Composting at home(Cornell waste management institute)}

Prakash Acharya is an entrepreneur from Nepal, passionately working to substitute fossil fuels with clean energy technologies. He co-founds Mukti Energy, a solar energy company providing a one-stop solution in the sector. He is also a big believer in change so he advocates and works for creating impact in society. His topics of interest spans from sustainability, zero energy, poverty reduction, sociology to smart city. He graduated from Institute of Engineering, Thapathali Campus on Industrial engineering. He is also a former assistant lecturer in IOE, Thapathali . Prakash is a fellow for Social Entrepreneurship Outreach Program 2014, Social Entrepreneurship Forum Sweden.

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