You Know You’re a Home Composter When…
As a home composter you might be able to relate to some of these quirks.
Pollution stemming from garbage is a worldwide problem. Heaps of rotting dry and wet waste can be seen sitting around in mounds adjacent to slums and human settlements in several developing cities around the world. These toxic mountains of civilization’s detritus defiles the air, pollutes the water, and contaminates the soil, turning their surroundings into uninhabitable dead zones. These are also, not coincidentally, areas which are usually occupied by the most repressed and downtrodden sections of society.
This worldwide epidemic has given rise to home composting, a process of turning biodegradable waste into healthy usable manure for gardens and agricultural fields. No need for any fancy equipment or high tech gizmo that depends on electricity for you to start composting. There are a dozen ways in which one can compost their kitchen waste all from the comfort of their very own homes. Amongst the myriad methods available, the compost bin method seems to be the most popular as it requires the least amount of maintenance and space.
Most people today do not reside in traditional homes with bountiful backyard space to take on such enterprising pursuits. In modern day metro cities, most of us are either pigeonholed into gated community apartments or reside in dark dingy houses in a row of buildings constructed wall-to-wall on streets that leave absolutely no space for nature to co-exist.
Besides, many of us don’t even have the time required for such endeavours, with most of it being absorbed by our personal and professional lives. Only the few amongst us who are privileged and sensitive about the living world venture out to get involved in such pursuits. But that has got to change if we ever want to eradicate the menace of mixed waste and the havoc that it is creating in our living environment.
Composting must move out of the realm of ‘hobby’, something that is a manifestation of the dreams of gardening enthusiasts and hippie environmentalist tree huggers, into a way of life for everyone who generates waste regardless of their personal inclinations.
Composting must seamlessly be sewn into the fabric of society. It must not feel like an additional chore to be done.
“Composting must move out of the realm of ‘hobby’, something that is a manifestation of the dreams of gardening enthusiasts and hippie environmentalist tree huggers, into a way of life for everyone who generates waste regardless of their personal inclinations.”
The reasons for composting can be many:
- Reducing your carbon footprint and fighting climate change
- Shutting down landfills to repurpose the land for something useful
- Securing and protecting the lives of underprivileged, disadvantaged people who are forced to handle hazardous mixed waste on a daily basis.
- A sense of personal responsibility towards the earth and its inhabitants.
However, once you immerse yourself in the home composting process, you start noticing a few behavioural changes in yourself.
Here are a few of them:
You try to buy all your food raw and unprocessed as possible
Garlic peels, pea pods, bean pods, coconut shells, fruit and vegetable skins, and animal bones are the primary raw material for your home composter that will nourish your existing compost. This will reap black gold in the form of fresh, organic, and perfectly usable compost in a couple of months. So, you feel the inclination to stick to fresh food as much as possible.
You always try to keep your grocery list free from any processed or preservative-laden food that comes in plastic. When you purchase a box of cookies or a packet of chips, all you do is eat the food and throw away the wrapper.
Where’s the compost in that?
In a nutshell, where people see an extra chore to be done, you visualize your verdant home garden brimming with life from the copious amounts of compost that you’ve been feeding it. It feels therapeutic.
You feel bad for food waste generated at social gatherings and try not to load up your plate like everyone else
Whether you’re at a wedding reception or at a birthday party, you know for sure that a lot of food waste is going to be generated there. You naturally tend to feel bad for all that waste which could have potentially been turned into usable compost in a couple of months ready to feed the soil and regenerate the earth.
You don’t load up your plate and end up wasting food like everyone else just because it’s a buffet, and know that you can always go back for seconds in case you need more.
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You stop wasting food altogether while eating outside
You have a newfound appreciation for the earth and how it nourishes our bodies through the crops we grow.
You don’t let anything go to waste. Since you’re directly connected to the crop cycle, you know where it will end up if you waste it especially if you’re dining at a restaurant that doesn’t compost its waste.
“Organic waste in landfills generates, methane, a potent greenhouse gas. By composting wasted food and other organics, methane emissions are significantly reduced.”
All that perfectly usable compost which could be nourishing your garden and breathing life into your plants is instead sitting somewhere in a mountain pile of mixed waste rubbish leeching hazardous chemicals into the air, water, and land contaminating it, making life miserable for all living beings nearby.
You feel terrible and sorry for wasting food, something that you usually wouldn’t have spared a second thought for before. In a similar vein, you have a fresh appreciation for restaurants and eateries that do compost their waste, sending absolutely nothing to the landfill.
You don’t feel guilty for throwing food into the trash…..oops…. I mean composter at home
While you become extremely mindful and cautious about your eating habits outside the house, you relax and lower your guard inside.
Whether you’ve had leftover food from a party, someone knocked over a plate and it fell on the floor, or some food got spoiled because you forgot to put it inside the refrigerator, you don’t feel as guilty about it as you used to before.
It doesn’t matter that you totally forgot to consume the Channa masala you left inside the fridge a week ago.
You know that none of it is going into the deadly “mixed waste landfill”, and so the guilt of wasting food doesn’t sting as much as it used to before.
All your food waste will be going into your very own composter where it will be turned into fresh compost a few months down the line ready to breathe life into a bunch of your potted plants sitting on your balcony, or the soil in your home garden which will end up sequestering carbon from the atmosphere, not adding more to it.
Yes, you might still feel bad about wasting food. But not that bad!
You buy only filter coffee powder instead of instant coffee:
When you buy instant coffee, you lose access to the precious grounds which you could have added as fertilizer to your garden or home composter.
“Coffee grounds contain several key minerals for plant growth — nitrogen, calcium, potassium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium and chromium.
They may also help absorb heavy metals that can contaminate soil.
What’s more, coffee grounds help attract worms, which are great for your garden.”
Being a home composter, you definitely do not want to lose access to this precious organic waste, which could either be rejuvenating your garden or accelerating the decomposition process inside your composter.
You are spurred on to start gardening
You are delighted on seeing the black gold that organic fresh compost is, and this inspires you to start your very own home garden or at least keep a couple of potted plants.
You realize you could start your own garden with the fertilizer that you get from your composter periodically. Even if you don’t plant anything, something or the other might definitely pop up from that pile of organic gold which you’ve been nourishing for months together.
Either ways, you are spurred on to start gardening yourself, or become a good samaritan by donating all your organic compost to a resident in your apartment who does. Either ways, its a win.
You recognize compost for the black gold that it really is and do everything in your capacity to lay your hands on organic products while actively eschewing processed foods. You become part of the equation in the natural crop cycle instead of being a passive bystander like the majority of humans are, completely disconnected from the crop cycle and totally detached from the natural living world.
Composting brings us one step closer to the natural world, and helps us gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the work that farmers do.
For those of you who’d like to take it a step further and get your hands much more deeper into the soil, the rooftop gardening movement could be a great start.
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