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Trash to treasure

Trash to treasure
Compost is one of the best ways to recycle food waste, and allows you to save up on fertilizers for your garden.

Convert your food waste into compost to enrich Mother Nature with nutrients



by

Farhana Chowdhury

Published: Mon 30 Sep 2019, 2:51 PM

Every day we produce tonnes of organic waste, but where do they go after we throw them away? These eventually end up in landfills and add to methane emissions, which is slowly eroding away our health, environment and quality of life. 
It's never too late to adopt healthy practices to reduce the harmful impact of waste. And one easy project that families can take up is composting at home. The simple DIY scheme not only helps reduce household waste, but create a healthy environment for beneficial microorganisms that create nutrient-rich matter in the form of humus soil, eliminates the need for chemical fertilisers and overall lowers your carbon footprint.
 To get started, you will need: 
- One plastic garbage bin with a lid (or a special compost bin from your local hardware store)
- Food waste - fruit and vegetable peels, scraps and stems, seeds, egg shells, food scraps, used tea bags, ground coffee, etc.
- Green matter - dead leaves, dried flowers, grass, twigs, animal fur, human hair, etc.
- Cardboards - old boxes, egg cartons/trays, coffee sleeves, etc
- Paper - old newspapers, used notebooks, tissues, book covers, wrappers, cups, plates, toilet rolls, etc.
- Soil 
- Water
Method
- If using a garbage bin, drill few tiny holes into the lid of the plastic lid, as well as into the sides of the bin. A special compost bin will already have features necessary for the process. 
- Start by lining up the bin with scraps. Add a layer of soil and sprinkle water after every layer of scrap. The moisture will help kick-start your project.
- Close the bin and place it in a dry, shady area of your garden or balcony. 
- Within a span of three to five weeks, your organic trash will decompose and start to take shape (often in the form of crumbs). 
- Once ready, you can spread this mixture in your garden or a potted plant for healthy blooms.
Remember to tend your pile and keep track of what you throw in. Here are some tips to ensure a stink-free bin:
- Avoid throwing in meat, fish, dairy products and grease. These materials are undesirable and will make the compost smelly. In case you add some in by accident, fish them out or add more cardboard to help break it down.
- If the pile is too wet, it's because it has become soggy from too much water or production of nitrogen. To fix this, simply get a small pitchfork or shovel and turn over the pile to aerate it. Additionally, you can drop in brown matter such as wood chips, newspapers, and cardboard to soak up excess water. 
- At times the clumping of nitrogen can cause a foul odour, so use a pitchfork to break it up. Dried leaves or newspaper shreds can also help fix the problem. 
Happy composting!


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