Harvesting Black Gold at Your Own Home in 5 Simple Steps!
Least to our knowledge, our ancestors were very well versed in composting their organic waste very efficiently. How cool is it to have a composting history! The concept of sustainability and caring for the environment comes from our roots.
Until 1950s, when towns were still small, solid waste collection was hardly necessary. Most people had land on which they could dig a pit, Ruchhan or Saga (in Newari), to dispose of their waste. Waste was primarily organic and easily biodegradable.
Fast-forward to the 21st century, as Nepal modernizes, it faces modern waste problems. We lost contact with our roots; composting is practiced less and has been replaced by landfilling - a seemingly easier alternative. We need to reverse the narrative from unscientific dumping to 5R's i.e. Reduce, Reuse, Replenish, Rethink and Recycle.
Nowadays we are choking our land with huge amounts of waste we generate. Perhaps a better way to deal with it would be by segregating waste at its source and managing it at individual level - going back to our roots and start composting again.
Doko’s Smart Bucket will help you compost easily at home. Let's review smart bucket for home composting. Through these 5 simple steps you can manage organic waste which accounts to approx. 60% of the total household waste generation.
1. Segregation at Source
The smart bucket can only take organic or kitchen waste. So be sure to develop a habit of segregating different types of waste into different bins. (Trust me it looks way more difficult until you decide to do it.) Here are a few tips to help you sort your household waste into three primary categories:
a. Green Dustbin for Kitchen/Organic Waste: Fruits and vegetables peels, leftover food, some meat and dairy products.
b. Blue Dustbin for Inorganic/Recyclable Waste: Plastics, food packaging wrappers, tetra-paks, milk pouches etc.
c. Reject Waste: Soiled food cans, toiletries, used sanitary napkins and pads, diapers, medical waste etc. These are items termed as inert or reject waste which is sustainable options to reduce reject waste or reuse what we can before discarding.
Note: Paper items, newspaper, glass items, E-waste, etc., should be stored separately so that to avoid contamination.
Browse a list of Recyclables that Doko Recyclables accepts and to store:
2. Smart Bucket Setup
Our Smart Bucket has 7 components. Let’s go through them one by one:
• Smart Bucket: For a family of 4 members, you get 1 pair of Smart Buckets which has processing capacity of 1 kg of organic waste/day.
• Lid: It is used to keep out flies, bugs and rodents from entering in your bucket.
• Strainer: It sits at the bottom, so that any excess liquid is collected at the bottom of the Smart Bucket. This way when liquid accumulated at the bottom, our organic matter (your daily waste feed) is happy and ready for fermentation.
• Decomposer: It is the mixture of microbes ( Saccharomyces sp. and Trichiderma sp.) which helps speed-up the fermentation process.
• Tap: It is used to dispense out leachate (liquid matter) collected at the bottom of the bucket.
• Shovel: It is used for raking organic waste. It is, also useful during harvesting of the pre-compost.
• Kapoor/Camphor Balls: Proper composting process should not produce foul odors. On the off chance foul smells arises our Smart Bucket includes camphor to help with any smell issues.
Refer to Image 1: Components of a Smart Bucket
Installation of Smart Bucket
So, as we are now familiar with all Smart Bucket components, let's get straight into putting the pieces together:
a. Place the Smart Bucket on a flat surface.
b. Arrange the tap and screw it tightly at the bottom of the Smart Bucket.
c. Place the strainer inside the Smart Bucket.
d. Put 2 Kapoor/Camphor balls in the slot given under the lid.
e. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of the Decomposer on the Strainer.
f. Now the bucket is ready to handle your daily kitchen waste.
Note: Close the lid tightly. Store it in a cool and shady place until needed.
Refer to Image 2: Pictorial guide for the installation of Smart Bucket
3. Feeding and Fermentation
The feeding and fermentation process is all about persistence, lots of love and dedication. You have got to buckle down and follow these steps every day for good results and to divert your organic matter from landfills to your garden. Eventually, it’ll become second nature to you.
a. Keep your days' worth of organic waste segregated and put it in your First Smart Bucket (approx. 1 kg/day).
b. Add 2 teaspoons of Decomposer on every new layer of kitchen/organic waste that goes into the bucket.
c. Close the lid as soon as you put the organic waste into the bucket as it may attract flies.
d. Wash the lid if you see flies or their larva.
Refer to Image 3: Daily Organic Waste feed to the Smart Bucket, Doko Recyclers MRF Site, Bhaktapur
• Fermentation Process:
a. When your first Smart Bucket is full (approximately after 20-30 days), close the lid tightly and store the bin in a cool and dark place for up to 4 weeks.
b. Check the bucket every few days until you see white mold and there is a sweet smell of fermentation.
c. Use second bucket while the first one is fermenting.
The day is here my friend - the day you've been waiting and composting for. Let's harvest some black gold and get your garden flourishing!
a. Layer equal amounts of fermented waste with soil in a box/carton.
b. Place the box in a shady place for 2-3 weeks for it to cure, after which the compost will be ready to be used in your garden. You will be surprised to see how quickly your plants will slurp it all up.
Refer to Image 4: Pre-compost ready for harvesting
5. Leachate Collection
Bonus points: every once in a while you can also get home grown liquid fertilizer.
a. Drain leachate once a week from the tap.
b. Leachate is nutrient rich with beneficial microbes which can be used as fertilizer.
c. Important , Make sure that you dilute leachate in water at 1:10 (1 part leachate to 10 parts water) ratio before you use it as liquid fertilizer.
You can also use the leachate in your drainage or septic tank to decompose organic matter faster.
Woo-hoo! By following these 5 simple steps you have become a self-certified Compostwala or Compostwali! Consider donating your excess compost to your neighbors, friends and relatives. Spread the word and enjoy the process
To get your Smart Bucket click on the link below!