Steps and tips to learn how to compost organic waste at home
22 Apr 2021
The activity can reduce the daily bag of waste by 50% and, by previously separating everything, the recyclables remain clean and dry so that urban waste collectors can handle them safely and hygienically.
Each person produces, on average, one kilogram of waste per day, estimating that half of the total is made up of organic waste, compost bins are a great contribution to the problem of waste generated at home, since they transform this waste in a very valuable product for the garden or orchard.
What is organic waste?
Household organic wastes are those of vegetable or animal origin that are produced at home: herb, coffee, infusions, peels, stones and remains of fruits and vegetables, food in poor condition, paper napkins, eggshells, dairy products, bones , fat and other remains of red meat, chicken and fish.
If they are not separated and treated properly, they generate many inconveniences, such as dirtying recyclable waste such as paper, cardboard, plastics, metals and glass, hindering the task of the recuperators or the fact that their decomposition generates substances that pollute groundwater, air and soil, in addition to giving off bad smells and being a source of proliferation of pests and diseases.
To avoid this, they can be safely and easily treated at home by composting.
What is composting?
It is a practice in which organic remains are biologically transformed into compost. This is possible because it is carried out by beneficial microorganisms (fungi and bacteria) in the presence of air and humidity, without odors or risk to people’s health. It can also be done by incorporating California worms (vermicomposting), but they are not essential in the process.
By composting, the daily bag of waste can be reduced by 50% and compost is the ideal fertilizer for plants, pots and gardens.
By separating the waste, the recyclables are clean and dry so that urban waste collectors can handle them safely and hygienically.
You can compost peels and remains of fruits and vegetables, herb, coffee and infusions, paper filters included. And other items such as dry leaves, napkins that have not been used to clean, papers without ink and shells of nuts or other dried fruits.
Not everything is composted
Only organic vegetable waste, egg shells and leftover grass and coffee can go into the compost bin. Animal remains are not composted at home as their treatment is more complex from a sanitary point of view. The remains of cooked vegetables are not composted either because having a high concentration of liquids, can rot the compost bin.
Other items that should not go to a compost bin under any circumstances are: faeces from domestic animals such as dogs and cats, toilet paper, swabs, sanitary napkins, tampons, diapers and other body hygiene products, cloths and napkins used to disinfect the home. , vacuum cleaner or sweeper scraps, medications, cigarette butts and ashes.
Clean and dry plastics, metals, glass, tetrabrik, paper and cardboard are recycled and delivered to urban waste collectors.
The compost bin
It can be placed in open spaces (field or garden) or in confined spaces. The compost bin takes the form of a plastic or wooden container that must prevent the entry of rainwater, allow the entry of air and favor the drainage of liquids (called “leachate”). ”) That are produced throughout the process.
Its shape and size will depend on the space we have and the amount of organic plant waste generated at home.
It can be done at home, recycling paint cans or something that is a container.
The three A’s of composting
The humid organic vegetable waste generated in the kitchen is usually rich in nitrogen (N), while the dry organic vegetable waste is rich in carbon (C). Nitrogen and carbon are elements necessary for the Composting microorganisms can grow, develop and reproduce.
Technicians call this balance “C / N ratio.” In practical terms, for each volume of wet remains, 1 or 2 volumes of dry remains are placed.
• Air (oxygen)
The microorganisms in the compost bin require oxygen to live. The lack of this element will induce the development of so-called “anaerobic bacteria” that are responsible for the generation of bad odors. Compaction of the waste pile and excess humidity, which translates into air deficit, must be avoided.
Therefore, it is recommended to stir the pile once or twice a week, add dry organic waste that will absorb excess moisture and provide “structure”, that is, porosity, and prevent rainwater from entering, placing a non-hermetic lid .
• Water (moisture)
The waste pile in the compost bin must be moist enough for microorganisms to grow and develop. In general, the waste generated in the kitchen is very humid (70% of its weight is water) and when mixed with the dry waste, the humidity level is balanced.
However, on very hot days or if there is excess dry material, it may be necessary to add water.The key: neither dry nor wet. But with the humidity of “a freshly squeezed sponge.”