A whole lot of food is wasted during the festive season. In the United States alone, five million tonnes of waste is generated over the festive period, according to HGTV. They do a lot with such waste like creating more soil.
I came across this shocking video where a man who appears to be of Chinese origin, was spraying something that looks like commercial apples, with paint spray.
What on earth is he up to, you may ask? He’s simply someone unscrupulous who has taken opportunity of the demand for food to create God-knows-what.
You can keep yourself from such harm by deciding to start planting your own food. Starting with vegetables or herbs, maybe.
How To Start?
Many say that good soil is the foundation of a healthy, productive garden. But not many may know that composting plays a large role in maintaining the vitality of a garden’s soil.
More than half of what we carelessly throw into the trash is organic matter, which if composted, can produce rich top soil for our plants. Like, we can actually plant our own fruits and vegetables from the comfort of our homes.
Unfortunately most of us do not separate our dry waste from wet waste, which makes composting impossible. The precious wet waste — what can potentially become black gold — remains unusable junk inside our landfills.
Also, by mixing our food waste with our recyclable waste (paper, plastic, metal), we make even our recyclable waste less recoverable.
The key to a clean, garbage-free city lies in citizens doing their civic duty of source segregation (separation) and composting.
What is Composting?
Composting is simply the process of breaking down the organic matter (food waste) in the presence of air and water, using micro organisms and small insects present in nature. The end product is called compost which is rich in readily usable plant nutrients forming a part of healthy soil.
Composting organisms require 4 conditions to create compost:
1. Carbon that comes from brown organic matter like dried leaves, sawdust, paper
2. Nitrogen that comes from fruit and vegetable waste, coffee grounds
3. Oxygen which comes from air
4. Water in the right amounts
Landfills are not the ideal environment to create compost, since food waste is made toxic by the plastic and metal waste. Further waste gets piled up everyday like a mountain and the layers below are cut off from oxygen.
See The Easy Steps Below To Compost Your Kitchen Waste (Tips by Preethi Sukumaran – the CEO & Co-Founder of Krya Consumer Products LLP in India where they have to deal with huge amounts of waste too).
1. Separate your edible kitchen waste (vegetable peels, fruit peels, small amounts of wasted cooked food) in a container.
2. Collect dry organic matter (dried leaves, sawdust) in a small container.
3. Take a large paper carton or earthen pot or a bucket and drill 4 – 5 holes around the container at different levels to let air inside.
4. Line the bottom with a layer of soil.
5. Now start adding food waste in layers alternating wet waste (food scraps, vegetable and fruit peels) with dry waste (straw, sawdust, dried leaves).
6. Cover this container with a plastic sheet or a plank of wood to help retain moisture and heat.
Every few days, use a rake to give the pile a quick turn to provide aeration. If you think the pile is too dry, sprinkle some water so that it is moist.
Within 2 – 3 months, your pile should start forming compost that is dry, dark brown and crumbly and smelling of earth. There are also readymade composting kits available for those who want to overcome initial resistance to starting composting.
With time and a little patience, composting will become second nature to you.
By segregating, recycling and composting, a family of 4 can reduce their waste from 1000 kg to less than 100 kg every year. Imagine 90% of all the garbage in Lagos vanishing overnight and a clean, green city- it will help you start your composting journey.
What Items Are Acceptable?
All food products including: fruit, vegetables, breads, cereal, dairy, meat (including bones); coffee grounds, filters and tea bags.
Food-soiled paper including: paper towels, plates, napkins, pizza boxes and paper lunch bags.
Items that are not accepted include: plastic (bags and Styrofoam), glass, metal, liquids and pet waste.
Send us pictures of extreme instances of garbage affecting normal life in Lagos.
More on how to Stop Waste at work, home or school.