Updated: Sep 7, 2021
We hear about it a lot, but do we actually know the benefits of composting or the science of composting? This blog aims to do an analysis of energy, pollution, and costs involved and eventually the immense benefits thereof!
At this crucial time in human history when we need to adopt sustainable practices or risk destroying the environment, permanently. We must understand the importance of composting before we decide to go for it. The benefits are listed as below:
Here are five benefits of composting:
The soil gets important nutrients as compost is humus-rich in nutrients.
Adds valuable microbes to the soil, such as bacteria, fungi, and protozoa.
Recycles kitchen and garden waste.
Reduces landfill waste, lessening pollution.
Makes the environment strong and healthy ensures a better future!
However, I don’t think that most of my peers offering waste management services are taking the world in the right direction. There are organizations that are into various types of composting. It does no harm to know as much as possible!
This process naturally plays itself out over 4–5 weeks. By using a carefully curated culture of micro-organisms, you can save about 1–2 weeks. However, any attempts to make it shorter are counterproductive. Let me explain.
Forced Drying Machines are Counterproductive to Composting
Some Waste converters use artificial heating systems to evaporate the water faster.
The dried powder that stays behind, however, is extremely hygroscopic — which means that it absorbs water that it finds around it, and forms larger clumps of organic matter. If you use it as compost, it will rot in the open soil, attract flies and insects and will smell excessively bad. Even after curing it for 10–15 days, as most vendors suggest, the quality of compost is not optimum.
Artificial heating also burns the organic matter which emits harmful gases like Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Dioxide, Methane, and Nitrous gases. All of these gases are more harmful than CO2 alone, as far as global warming is concerned.
The heating systems also consume unnecessary energy and release harmful gases. These are precisely the effects that wet waste composting hopes to undo. This is why I call such systems counterproductive.
*It takes 1 electrical unit to evaporate about 10 kg of water. India produces over 60 million tonnes of waste every year, of which 60% is organic waste suitable to make compost. About 10% of this is being treated at the source, which leaves us with approximately 32 million tonnes of organic waste to be treated. Even if forced drying machines were to treat 30% of this, i.e., 10 million tonnes, they’d end up using 1 billion units of electricity. At 8 US cents a unit, this amounts to an electricity bill of $80 million ~ 500 crores. Every year.
I see the true value of composting in being adopted as a distributed practice. We can all make a cleaner world by choosing to take care of our own waste locally, at an individual level, making compost at home, and using the compost to make our cities greener!
All it needs is your dustbin, bacterial culture and maybe, a large fork to till the soil.
We can also start using eco-friendly and natural products for home, kitchen, and toilet hygiene. Check out some of those products here.