Home Composting: A way to help our plants and the environment
Why home composting? Every day more and more people become aware of the importance of taking care of the health of our planet. Without the resources provided by the Earth, we would cease to exist. For this reason, care and respect for the ecosystem become absolutely necessary attitudes to ensure our subsistence in the future.
Creating awareness about actions that benefit the environment is becoming increasingly important.
One of those actions is composting. This is a practice that we can do at home and that can help significantly to avoid environmental pollution.
What is composting?
Composting consists of the natural transformation of organic waste through a biological oxidation process that turns it into a fertilizer that is very rich in nutrients and that serves to feed the earth. This process can be done both domestically and industrially.
Benefits of composting
Practices such as composting help a large amount of waste, which we generate day after day, to be reincorporated into nature, helping to return nutrients to the earth.
Those who have or want to have their own eco-garden of flowers, vegetables and plants of any kind, can benefit from this excellent option to ensure they produce in a nutritious and natural soil.
Compost provides nutrients to the soil, increases porosity and water retention, favors the development and growth of plants and seedlings.
In other words, we can generate low-cost, high-quality fertilizer at home with great benefits for the soil.
Did you know that, on average, 50% of the waste generated in our homes is organic? This means that if you composted, you could reduce around 30% of the waste you throw away every day, since not all organic waste is compostable.
Starting with this activity would help prevent organic waste from reaching landfills, which are the places where all household waste that is not used arrives.
Let's prevent organic waste from reaching landfills
The current management of organic waste is very deficient. The vast majority of it is collected mixed with the rest of the waste not destined for recycling, and in the best of cases, it is separated in triage plants, to later carry out a process that was previously called composting. The result, called compost, is of poor quality, so farmers are not willing to apply it to their land.
In turn, the mixed waste is deposited in the sanitary landfills that are located in the outskirts of cities and towns and, in some cases, within the urban area itself, on impermeable membranes to prevent leachate, generated by the waste organic, penetrate the soil contaminating the groundwater.
The problem is that these membranes support a certain pressure, that is, a certain weight that is generated by the meters of height of waste deposited on them. When this weight is exceeded, and this happens in most cases, the membranes crack and allow the polluting liquids to enter the soil.
Another negative effect of poor waste management in landfills is the generation of gases such as methane. It is estimated that 60% of the greenhouse gases produced in landfills are due to the presence of organic waste.
How to make compost bins at home?
This is an excellent way to manage approximately 50 percent of the waste generated in homes. You just need to have a yard or garden and a little perseverance.
So, you will need:
- 1 composter.
- Organic waste that is possible to compost.
- 1 pruning shears to shred waste.
- 1 rake to remove the compost.
Once you have established where you are going to make the compost. What you will need is a composter. You can make it with old pallets or wooden planks. The important thing is that it has drainage and allows the free circulation of air in a good part of its structure, not only at the top.
It can be a wooden drawer, preferably with a lid, that has holes. Then, you can cover the bottom with nylon or begin to deposit organic waste inside the drawer. A space in the garden or patio where there is shade is the appropriate place to locate it, so that it is not directly exposed to the sun’s rays.
What can be composted?
- Peels, scraps of clean fruits and vegetables
- Yerba mate, coffee and infusions
- Washed eggshells
- Dried fruit shells
- Potato skins
- Food-Stained Napkins and Grocery Paper
- Dry leaves of trees and bushes
- Dried grass and plant debris
- Shredded or chopped pruning branches
- Bouquets of dried flowers
After having chosen the space and prepared the box to make the compost, form a base or bed with the most woody materials available: pine cones, branches or pruned hard bushes. This will facilitate aeration of the compost, which is vital for proper compost production. Then add a first layer of soil, continue with organic material such as fruit peels, potato peels, egg peels and vegetable remains, including coffee grounds. All this must be cut into small pieces. Then add soil again.
Between layer and layer, it is convenient that there is cardboard and clean napkins. If dry material is not added, such as cuttings from toilet paper rolls, it will only rot and not degrade.
The backfill should end with a layer of soil, dry leaves or garden material to seal and prevent bad odors or unwanted insects.
The mixture should be slightly moistened and aerated from time to time, stirring it with a small shovel or with the same hand. In a period between two and three months, the compost will be ready to use in your plants and vegetables. It will normally have a fresh earth aroma and a dark color.
Waste that you should NOT use
It is very important that you remember that not all organic waste can be used. Waste that you should NOT use:
- Coal ashes
- Meat of any kind
- Color printed magazines or sheets of paper
- Cigarette filters
It is also important to know that the list of waste that cannot be used is much broader. These are some of the ones that usually cause the most errors in composting. We can agree that all biodegradable waste can become compost given enough time, but the use of some of this waste can cause, even if it is biodegradable, to attract unwanted pests or cause bad smells.