Hi, so for the third week of my 6 months challenge, i decided to start composting as much waste as possible. After stopping to buy plastic bottles of water and replacing deodorant by an alum stone, please find below how to make your own compost even in an apartment (with balcony and providing you have plants to use your compost with).

Why composting?

Some people believe that organic waste can be thrown to the trash with no impact on the environment. Unfortunately, organic waste in a landfill actually participate to methane emission because it decomposes anaerobically. In some cases it is incinerated or the methane emitted are used to generate energy. however this is still not efficient enough and composting is still a more environmental friendly way to dispose of organic waste. Also reducing volume of trash will reduce the number of trucks or trips that need to be made to collect it and dispose of it. Compost is also a great alternative to chemical fertilizers.

how to start your own compost?

plastic basket
plastic basket

Honestly, when I started researching about this I had many questions and thought it would be a complicated process. It turned out the solution was actually very simple. I started looking for a recipient for my compost pile, and I found a plastic basket similar to this one:

bamboo basket
bamboo basket

a more environmental friendly option would be a wooden basket similar to these. What is important is that your compost pile can breath inside the basket.

I put a plate to collect water under my basket and I started by putting newspaper at the bottom. I had some soil left that I was not using for my plants, so I put some as well. (not required). And I started composting my organic waste.

how to maintain a proper compost?

The main concern with composting is the smell. Actually a proper compost does not smell bad. how to ensure this? First make sure your compost is breathing (hence the opened basket indicated above). You can also turn it around from time to time (i do it every one or 2 weeks). Second, you have to make sure to have a good proportion of green and brown matter.

Green matter (fresh and moist) includes:

  • Grass clippings
  • Coffee grounds/tea bags
  • Vegetable and fruit scraps
  • Trimmings from perennial and annual plants
  • Annual weeds that haven’t set seed
  • Eggshells
  • Seaweed…

Brown matter (dry) includes:

  • leaves, Twigs, chipped tree branches/barkSawdust
  • Corn stalks
  • Paper (newspaper, writing/printing paper, paper plates and napkins, coffee filters)
  • Dryer lint
  • Cotton fabric
  • Corrugated cardboard (without any waxy/slick paper coatings nor adhesive tape)…

If you find that your compost pile is not heating up or is dried, then add more green mater. If you it starts to smell, add more browns (newspaper or cardboard for example). Air it put some water on top. You should have about 1 third of browns and 2 third of greens. Note though that if you can choose between recycling and composting your paper, it is probably better to recycle it to avoid the production of new paper. However the best for the environment is actually not to use it in the first place.

Once you have some nice rich dark earth at the bottom, just put it on your plants and flowers. The time it takes varies depending the size of the chunks you put in your compost, the weather (hot and humid weather like here helps), what you put in your compost…

What are your alternatives?

if you don’t have a balcony, you may want to look at an indoor compost bin. In some places, there may be an organic waste collection company or organization you can turn to. In Thailand, if you have large amount of organic waste, you can contact scholars of sustenance. They collect organic waste to make compost. (they also will collect food that can be given to people in need).

Thanks, I hope this was helpful, as usual please comment below with your questions or suggestions. And hope you join the journey to help heal the world with me, starting by reducing our environmental impact.

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  1. Pingback: 6 months challenge - change to one sustainable practice a week - heal the worldheal the world

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