If you have been thinking about doing your own compost but have hesitated for some reason, we have some very good reasons why you should keep your worries aside and start doing it. On our last Progress Over Perfection event, Siska Nirmala from Zero Waste Adventure has shared the way to do your own home-composting, which does not require any heavy machinery nor any rocket-science!
Research has shown that 50-60% of the trash we produce is actually organic waste. That is over than half of the amount we produced, and by composting, we would have solved half of the waste problem we have.
As we said, composting may sound complicated, but is actually very straight-forward and can be done in less than 10 steps, even in a space-conscious home. There are many types of home composters and different methods to do it. Do your research before opting for one to see which one will suit you and your home best. You may want to consider things like the space you have at home (do you have a garden? Or you live in a high-floor apartment?), the consumption pattern in your house, the amount of organic waste produced daily, as well as the composter treatment that you consider the easiest for you.
Siska has shared some types of composters available in Indonesia, most of them are every-day items you can grab from the local stores:
- Takakura Basket
- Biopore Holes
- Flower Pot
- Water Barell
- Burlap Sack
Despite the different types of composter available, the basic principles in composting require 3 key elements:
- Carbon Source - dried leaves, wood ash, sawdust pellets, husk, etc (you only need to choose 1)
- Nitrogen Source - food scraps or manures
- Bioactivator - water from rinsing rice or brown sugar water
Once you get your selected composter and the 3 elements ready, you can start doing your very own compost. Here are the guidelines she shared with us using the easiest composter: a big flower pot or bucket.
- Mix your carbon source with manures (husk is one of the best types you can get).
- Lay some mixed husk at the bottom of the composter.
- Make an alternating layer of husk and food scraps until you have composted all of your food scraps. To help speed up the process, you want to ensure that the food scraps are chopped/sliced into small pieces and the source of carbon is at least twice the amount of nitrogen source. This will ensure that you get a healthy compost pile with higher carbon content than nitrogen.
- Pour some bio-activator to awaken the decomposing microorganism, just enough to make it moist. Do not drench your compost.
- Cover the compost and ensure that will not get rained on.
- Stir or turn the composter every few weeks using a shovel to give your compost oxygen and help the entire process of composting.
- After 3-6 months, your compost should turn into black soil material and be ready for harvesting.
Before you start pouring your food scraps into the composter, please note that some of the organic waste cannot be composted as they will exude pungent smell and reduce the quality of compost produced, thus making it not suitable to nourish the soil and plants.
Things you want to keep away from your composter as the decomposition rate is very slow and have the potential to invite pests:
- Animal bones
- Processed food waste (leftovers)
- Dairy products (milk, cheese, yogurt, butter, mayonnaise, etc)
- Oily or fatty food
For those of you who are residing in Bali, you can get all the equipment like the flower pot and husk at local garden stores in Hayam Wuruk street and Bypass Ngurah Rai - Tohpati street in Denpasar.
Image credit: Zero Waste Bali Image credit: Siska Nirmala