Towards a zero-waste future through Composting
I have always been a little eco-conscious with whatever I did from a very young age. I used to avoid plastic bags wherever I went.
Work as a film maker took me away from Chennai for a long time, a few years ago.When I came back to Chennai that year, I was appalled by the lack of waste management on our streets. Garbage was overflowing at every street corner. It really got me depressed and upset with what my favorite city was turning into. After a point, I realized that there was no use complaining about our city corporation’s ineffectiveness in garbage clearance that I decided to start doing what is under my control.
Any of us who paid attention in 7th standard science class would know that all organic matter decomposes into another form which is essential in plant growth. But, we all assume this happens only in villages, forests or in a pit in the back yard. I was desperately looking for ways that this could be done in apartments as that is the reality of my city life. I came across many Do-It-Yourself videos on making composts boxes but they didn’t seem practical.
This was also the time when I had decided to run an organic kitchen garden in my terrace. I realized I would need lot of compost for its sustenance and what better way than to make my own compost. That is when the thought struck me that that the veggie leftovers that I use for cooking from my garden goes into the compost bin and then the same compost is used for the garden to nourish the next set of vegetables. What an amazing way to sustain!How precious is our food waste that we throw while we pay lots to the nursery to buy clean compost! That is when I also decided that if my garden is all about sustainability then even my containers and mud used in the garden must be reused materials. And that’s what it is and my garden is flourishing!
But the basic problem of composting was bothering me. Finally I came across a brand named Daily Dump. They are a Bangalore based company that designs a 3 tier terracotta “khamba” system for composting. It is not only convenient to use in apartments or small houses but also it looks beautiful thus making it a conversation piece at any home. The company has worked out the design so well that it is easy to maintain and it does not pose any problems like bad odor which is what usually makes people skeptical to compost at home.
To run a 3 tier (or 4 tier) khamba is extremely easy. Instead of throwing your organic waste into a dustbin you just have to throw it into this beautiful khamba. There are instructions to mix the contents regularly or adding microbes and additives regularly. If these instructions are followed to the T then one gets compost quickly. If that also seems like too much work then, you have a cocopeat based microbes powder called the Remix Powder that needs to be alternatively layered with your kitchen waste. It probably takes as much effort anyway to throw the kitchen waste in your plastic lined bin and then throwing it away at your road side dustbin.
I am so happy with the 3 tier Khamba system that I now have 2 functioning ones, one at home and the other at our office. Also by composting I directly influence a handful of people starting from my house keeper who helps me maintain the house, my cook, guests who stay at my house etc.
When a friend of mine wanted the khambha for her place and when it was unavailable in Chennai (I had picked up mine while I drove down to Bangalore on some personal work) she suggested that we retail them at our stores. It then dawned on me that there are a lot more people who want to get into composting in their urban homes but did not have easy access to it. That is when I started retailing them at our stores as well.
More than a business venture it is an initiative to create awareness and make more people compost their organic waste. This way instead of complaining about the garbage I can rejoice with every sales of a khamba and imagine that at least some amount of garbage will not be polluting our city roads or going to our landfills. Do you know about 60% of waste out of any home is organic waste?
Now that I have started composting I have realized that it takes a lot to be eco-conscious than to just say no to a plastic bag. The garbage that my house produces has drastically reduced. Now that the organic waste is separated from the rest of the waste there is now efforts to separate the rest of the wastes as well; plastic, paper, aluminum,e-waste etc. When that is being done, every time I go shopping my mind takes a moment to think about where the end product bottle or sachet is going to go. Which means I really now think twice if I really have to pick up that particular packaged product or if I can go for another eco-friendly option.
The recycle waste is given to our local waste paper wala or you have websites like http://kuppathotti.com/or http://paperman.in/ where you can call for a pick up of the waste.
I strongly believe in the phrase ‘charity begins at home’. If we are not going to be sensitive to our environment why would anybody else bother? Why do we have to wait till a law against plastic bags to come for us to carry our own shopping bag, a practice that was followed even 30 years back.My 9 year old nephew in the US knows exactly which item goes into which segregation bin. He used to do it even before he could read and write. When will our future generation get there?
Composting is not a dirty job. It’s the food that we relish everyday. It’s not going to take up your precious time. We are just throwing organic waste into a different sort of dustbin that’s all. I am a very busy working woman but running 2 khambas is not my extra job, it is just part of my living now like eating and breathing.
Customers from Chennai can now click and pick these Khambas at http://ow.ly/bNTB3058yuw Click online at our website, pay for it, pick it up from either of our stores at your convenience and save on shipping.