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Learning Journey in Composting of Prachi Pawar of ComePostVille SantaCruz

Updated: Aug 28, 2022

#LearningJourney of Prachi Pawar of ComePostVille Santa Cruz in her own words below.

"I started my composting journey in 2018. I had recently completed my postgraduation during which studied about climate change, sustainable lifestyles and increased use of pesticides in agriculture. Needless to say, I was fired up to do my bit and started kitchen waste composting.

I bought a readymade composting kit with a meshed plastic container, some starter compost and a stirring rod. We were staying in a rented flat and I kept it in the balcony. Sometimes it used to stink if the moisture content increased too much and the neighbors used to complain. But somehow, with a lot of helping tips, I managed to keep it till it was full and after a month, we harvested the first compost. It smelled just like moist soil and we were very happy to have arrived there.

The problem of that particular container was that when it was full, for a month I needed to throw my wet waste out. Even if it was segregated, I felt a pang of guilt to throw it and soon I purchased one more container, put a net inside and started again.

It went on for two years. Then we shifted to a new house with a terrace on top which we intended to use as a container garden. Here, my netted containers did not work as these were designed to be kept in an enclosed space. So, I kept these in our staircase and simultaneously started one more composting unit. In this, I fixed two empty paint cans (one inside other), perforated the inner one to drain the leachate, put a tap at the bottom of the outer one and started to put kitchen waste inside. Within fifteen days, I realized that there is too much heat generating inside this. Consequently, maggots were born and they filled the container. Though composting process was happening very fast, some of the maggots started to come out. Now, the layout of my house is such that, terrace is directly above the living room and the staircase is open. So, some maggots started to fall down in the living room. We soon realized that though maggots are fine in the garden, its not a very good idea to keep this going. Also, leachate was too much and we did not know for sure if it could be used for the vegetable gardening. I used to spread the half-done compost every day in sun to get rid of maggots. All other methods like putting cocopeat, dry leaves were also tried.

Now I am at a stage where I want to continue composting but it should not become a new challenge every day. After talking to a lady who is composting for 24 years on her terrace, I have come to the following conclusion. Right now, my old compost bins are working fine, and I am going to try and just keep my wet waste in a plastic bucket with drain holes in open terrace. I plan to cover it with coconut coir. Lets see how it goes. One thing is for sure. If you want to compost your wet waste, you have to find that exact balance of the space, its orientation, the climate and the time at hand. If you are able to manage it, you can successfully compost."

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