Waste Management – Part 1 – Wet waste.

My mission to a zero waste home started with waste segregation.

Please stop dumping all that you don’t need into one dustbin. If you have been doing that, you have been committing a crime, adding your share of burden to mother nature, contributing to the choking up of waterways and landfills, increasing the tax price, spoiling the quality of the soil, contaminating water, making life more dependable on pesticides and food processing, spreading diseases leading to the death of thousands of children and sanitary workers. Your simple act of unconscious dumping has many consequences which are perhaps not visible to you.

If you are an educated individual, who knows the effects of non-segregation of household waste but still have not engaged yourself and your family to segregate waste, you are actually playing with the future of your kids.

How to segregate:

Compostable waste – vegetable peels, fruit peels, egg shells, coffee/tea grounds, leftover food, grass clippings, leaves, seeds, fish and meat bones, tissue paper soiled with food, nails free of nail polish, hair, pet hair and nails, dead flowers, pet food, cotton swabs without plastic stem, cotton, toothpicks, floor sweepings without any synthetic fiber dust, wood chips.,

Recyclable waste: newspaper, paper, cardboard, tetra packs, disposable plastic and paper cutleries, plastic, milk packets, glass, Thermocol, electronic waste – (battery, gadgets cd, tube-light, cable, print cartridges etc.) bulk wood and rubber.

Sanitary waste – Dead animal and insects, diaper, sanitary pads, tampons, condoms, used toilet paper, blood soaked cotton, dental floss, tissue paper used during a cough and cold.,

Hazardous household waste – Medicines, pesticides, mosquito repellants, syringes, blade, razor, paint, hair colour, cosmetics, etc.,

Each waste has to be handled in a different way. I shall write on, how i handle each waste in future blogs.

How I handle compostable waste:

To the innumerous questions of Thanvi on life and afterlife, the simplest experiment I do to demonstrate her what life is, Composting. Live a humble life of being purposeful to others, after your life be the richest man in everybody’s heart.WhatsApp Image 2017-02-07 at 2.27.06 PM

Composting is nature’s process of recycling decomposed organic materials into a rich soil known as compost. Anything that was once living will decompose. There are many ways to do composting; here I shall explain in detail, the method that I follow.

Materials required: Khamba, a rake, sawdust or remix powder, some dried leaves and a sieve.

How to use the khamba:

1. Place your khamba either in your balcony, terrace or garden, away from direct sun, rain and pets. A three tier pot system will be sufficient for a family of 3 to 4 persons which produces 25 to 30 kgs of compostable waste per month.

2. Place the pots vertically. One with the solid base should be the bottom C, the other two layers are plastic wire meshed bottom, which is to be placed one over the other B and A. And finally a lid to cover the A.

3. Cover 1/3rd of the base C with dried leaves to absorb the leachate – Water in the organic matter that is released during decomposition.

4. Cover the plastic mesh with a newspaper in B and A.

5. A is the first pot that is going to be used. On top of the newspaper fill three fists full of sawdust or remix powder. Add kitchen/compostable waste and over it sprinkle three fists full of sawdust or remix powder, in a way all the kitchen waste should not be visible.

6. Cover the waste with a newspaper. This is an extra layer of protection from the fruit flies. And then cover it with the terracotta lid.

7. The next day, take out the newspaper and add the kitchen waste and cover it with a layer of sawdust and then the same newspaper.

8. Keep repeating the same until A is full.

9. Once A is full. shift A to B position and bring the pot B to A position.

10. Repeat the process until B is full.

11. Once B is full, transfer the contents of A into C. Bring B to its original position.

12. Now A is ready to get filled.

13. Once all the pots are full (approximately 6 weeks), you will find a crumbly soil with fresh forest smell. Now pass them through a sieve. Post back the remains on the sieve to the fresh waste pot.

14. You can store the compost in a leave-in pot or a bin with holes or any airy container for about one month. In my case, I have no space for leave-in bin on my balcony so I have added another tier of khamba. WhatsApp Image 2017-02-12 at 11.30.27 PM

15. After a month your compost is ready to use as rich manure for your plants. Immature manure can create weeds in your plantation and also reduce the supply of nitrogen to the plantation.

Watch this video for more clarity.

Compost care:

1. Cut the vegetable rinds into bit size pieces as possible.
2. Crush the egg shells with the hand before throwing into compost.
3. You can accelerate the decomposition by adding curd or buttermilk.
4. If there are a lot of fruit flies, it means that you have not added enough sawdust/remix powder to cover the top layer of the kitchen waste. Or seal the pot with newspaper properly.
5. You can enrich your compost with panchagavya, turmeric, microbes or neem powder if you are going to use the compost for vegetable gardening.
6. It is best to leave the compost in the leave-in bin for a month, for a mature manure.


1. I travel often, does composting need daily care?

With the khamba method, you need not rake the pot or remove the leachate. Time and ventilation in the pot will do the job, no need of any attention even for a long time.

2. I am interested in composting but I have no plants or garden to use the resultant manure.

I live in an apartment and I do not have any plants of my own. I use my compost to manure apartment plants and gift it to neighbours who own plants. You can also sell it to nursery owners. If you are in Bangalore, you can sell to dailydump.org. They buy compost made out of their composting products.

3. I feel disgusted to touch/see/smell kitchen waste.

Your waste is not somebody else’s responsibility. Do not think it’s just a little that I am throwing away. A family of three easily generates about 30 to 40 kg a month, which nearly 400 kg per year. In Khamba method you hardly touch any waste nor does it smell. If you are still concerned, you can wear a pair of gloves.

4. Will my compost attract maggot?

The maggots will eat food scraps in your compost, helping to break them down faster. Then they will turn into flies, though they are harmless and helpful. They seem annoying and perhaps unsanitary. I include brown materials (sawdust) in compost, to get a good balance of carbon and nitrogen. This keeps the attractive smells in, and the flies out.

There are various methods of composting – Vermicompost, composting pit, trust bin, smart bin, community composting, pooja composter, leaf composter for home and community composting purposes. Product and knowledge source – http://dailydump.org/. Choose any method but definitely fulfil your duty as a responsible citizen and be a parent who leads by example.

It’s time to change, we have to fix what we did. It’s in our hands. I have tears in my eyes every time I harvest my compost. Composting taught me what life is. After all, we will also be like this bag of dust one day. Let us utilise this one life to share and care for others. I create about half a bag of waste a day. To see a month’s waste in just one bag, It’s just out of the world feeling.

If cleanliness is godliness, I do my prayers every day

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14 Comment

  1. udayaa says: Reply

    Wonderfull statement nandhini. Thanks for great ideas

  2. karthick srinivasan says: Reply

    Well presented… Will give a try and worth it.

  3. Deepthi says: Reply

    Very detailed. Sent to my mum..and she has questions. She does a lot of her research on youtube and now is confused about adding cooked food/left overs to the compost. She says she usually doenst add cooked food..but based on your list I said we can add left overs..now im confused.
    She uses her compost for gardening.

    1. durgeshnandhini says: Reply

      its ok to add cooked food, veg and non-veg.

  4. Hi Nandhini…you have nicely explained the composting method that you are following. I have certain queries as I have started the composting procedure but somewhat differently. Its in a plastic tub. Can you help me with it? Can I interact with you?

    1. durgeshnandhini says: Reply

      Hi Smitha, how is it going now?

  5. ankita says: Reply

    Hi Nandhini, I make across your recent article online. You mentioned that you segregate the waste at home and personally take it to the physical recyclers and online agents. Can you please mention the names of those recyclers and online agents? Actually, I am looking for them to sell emptied milk bags and some recyclable plastic. Thanks!

    1. durgeshnandhini says: Reply

      The online ones are majorly into Ewaste collection. Most often there would be recyclers in every community, just leave a word with your newspaper guy.

  6. swathi says: Reply

    A well explained post..from my end its a long way to go..
    Will try to implement..

    1. durgeshnandhini says: Reply

      its just the start swathi, everything will fall in place. Try journaling.

  7. Sravani says: Reply

    You inspired me. I am starting the composting right away.

    1. durgeshnandhini says: Reply


  8. Umaprakash says: Reply

    Lovely Nandini.I have been doing composite manuerino without cumba in Delhi. It is very good you have shared your ideas in social media to motivate people &sense of social responsibility. I highly appreciate your efforts

    1. durgeshnandhini says: Reply

      Beautiful. All the best. Thanks for writing in.

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