How To Compost in a Small Balcony: Zero-Cost & Zero-Smell in 40 Days

How To Compost in a Small Balcony: Zero-Cost & Zero-Smell in 40 Days


Composting is when food and plant waste material decomposes biologically.

There are three main types of composting methods, aerobic (with oxygen), anaerobic (without oxygen) and vermicompost (using worms instead of bacteria).

The Better India (TBI) spoke to composting expert Vani Murthy to understand the common aerobic process. This is a process suitable for all kinds of spaces – no matter you have a small balcony, or no balcony at all.

Murthy has been composting for ten years and has been practicing the method of Swacch Graha (a home that generates minimal waste).

Here’s a zero-cost five-step process you can follow:

Step 1: Add Kitchen Waste in Container

Add kitchen waste like fruit peels, vegetables, eggshells, coffee or tea powder to a container (bucket, drum, terracotta pot). For a continuous cycle, Vani suggests maintaining two containers so that if one is filled, you can continue the process in the other. 

Step 2: Add the Browns

Arrange for the browns like dry shredded leaves, sawdust or cocopeat to control the moisture and add them to the wet garbage. 

Step 3: Arrange for Microbes

Arrange for microbes to break down the wet waste. Either get microbes from semi-done compost or generate a fresh patch by adding cow dung. You can also add buttermilk to kickstart the microbial colony. 

Step 4: Provide Oxygen

In aerobic composting, providing oxygen is very crucial for a smell-free composting cycle and to avoid crawlies like maggots. Either you can make perforated holes in your container or churn the pile of waste once every four days.

Step 5: Layering

Aerobic composting will prepare manure in 40-45 days. All you have to do is keep adding kitchen waste daily and ensure oxygen flow. If the mix becomes soggy, add more browns to maintain the ratio.

Composting is like the art of cooking and is completely subjective. There is no hard and fast rule regarding the quantity of waste, dry leaves or the size of the container. Keep containers covered and do not let rainwater percolate inside. This process is my personal favourite as all resources are freely available. Do not give up until you get the hang of it as you are preventing 60 per cent of your waste from polluting the environment.”

Vani Murthy

So, now that you have an idea about what goes into composting, initiate the process and help make the planet greener. 

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