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Be a superhero – save the planet with your trash!

Team StoryWeavers|November 6, 2020| 1

Do you know that you can be a superhero too! You can be a superhero who saves the planet from the monster named garbage. No seriously, according to a survey done in 2017, Urban India is the world’s 3rd largest garbage generator. So where does all this garbage go? Most of it is dumped into landfills. A landfill is a site assigned for the disposal of waste by the Central Public Health and Environmental Engineering Organization (CPHEEO) and the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB). Nearly 20% of India’s methane gas (a greenhouse gas) emissions are from landfills. Not only does this garbage lead to global warming but it also reduces the quality of the air we breathe and the cleanliness of our surroundings.

But what can you do about this?

Well, you do have a superpower that can save us all. Each one of you has it. What is it, you ask? It’s ‘will power’! All you need to have is the willingness to take matters into your own hands and turn the situation around. Of all the garbage that gets generated in your house, every day you can turn at least 30% of it into a useful substance called compost. 

What is compost and how is it useful?

Composting in process

Composting is the natural process of organic material breaking down/ decomposing into a soil that can be used in your garden as a nutrient-rich fertiliser. The decomposition happens due to tiny decomposers like bacteria, fungi and worms that turn dead plants into nutrient-rich soil. 

Decomposers may seem a bit gross at first, but do understand that they have a very important job to do. These little tiny friends of ours are basically turning our garbage into something useful by eating it out. Isn’t that amazing?

Also, not only does compost improve the health of our plants significantly, but it also does the job of introducing these Microscopic organisms in the soil that ward off plant diseases. 

Making compost is deceptively easy – all you have to do is let things rot for a while! But just like any other everyday phenomenon, it has science behind it, not necessarily complex but important to make good quality compost.

All compostable material is either carbon( usually brown in color) or nitrogen-based (usually green in color), varying in degrees. It is believed that a 4:1 ratio of brown to green is a good rule-of-thumb to make compost. 

Here’s a brief summary of what to compost and what not to.

What to and what not to compost_Infographic

Now if you have found that superpower of willingness to perform this DIY, let’s get started on this really fun activity!

You’ll need:

Materials required for composting DIY

credits: pbs

  1. a 2 litre plastic water bottle
  2. a pair of scissors
  3. a soft-board pin/ nail
  4. Newspaper, ripped into small pieces
  5. Spray bottle with water
  6. Some soil from your garden
  7. Compost materials – like apple core, grass clippings, onion peels, any wet waste
  8. Some patience!

What to do:

Composting DIY

credits:pbs

  1. Rinse the bottle and peel off the label.
  2. Cut off the top of the bottle as shown. Set the top aside. (Ask an elder family member/parent to do this for you)
  3. Use the soft board pin to punch 8 to 10 small air and drainage holes along the sides and bottom of the bottle.
  4. Put some soil, shredded newspaper/cardboard and old leaves inside the bottle. This is your compost starter.
  5. Use the spray bottle to wet the compost starter.
  6. You’re ready to add to your compost! (Try vegetable scraps or eggshells or apple core but do not add dairy or meat.)
  7. Turn the bottle top upside down and place it in the open top of the bottle. It will act as a funnel for adding a little bit of water each day to keep the contents damp.
  8. Place it in a spot where sunlight can reach it. Cover the top of your compost with a kitchen towel when not in use.
  9. Every few days, stir the compost and make sure to keep the contents damp. As your compost breaks down, you can add more kitchen scraps or plant litter, as well as some more soil from outside to mix in. You might see fluffy mould growing — so keep your compost covered when you’re not working with it.
  10. When the compost starts looking like soil (may take a month’s time) you can use it to either add to an existing pot of plant or even add some seeds to it and grow a whole new plant!
Composting in action!

credits:pbs

This simple, albeit time-consuming DIY goes a great way in saving your landfills. If each one of us starts making compost, we could reduce the wet waste disposal by a great percentage overall. Not only will that help us fight global warming but also improve the health of the plants around us – who anyway are the saviours of this planet. To sum it up, in the words of commissioner James Gordon from the Batman series – “You’re going to make a difference. A lot of times it won’t be huge, it won’t be visible even. But it will matter just the same.” 

Share your composting experience with us in the comment section!

Did you enjoy reading this? Read similar stories at The Learning Tree 

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About the Author


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Charu Verma

Charu, a feminist and an accidental writer, is yet to master the art of writing about herself. Always curious to learn new stuff, she ends up spending a lot of time unlearning the incorrect lessons. She enjoys all sorts of stories – real, fictional, new, old, hers and would love hearing yours too. Feel free to ping her at storyweavers@byjus.com to share anything that you think is worth sharing.

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