Why composting?

How often do we cook more than we can eat? Or what about the milk that has been sitting inside our refrigerator for too long?

Where do you think our leftover food goes after we throw it in the trash?

According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, over 40% of the food produced in India is lost or discarded. The value of food waste in India is also estimated to be approximately 12 Billion USD [92,000 crores per year. This is the loss that occurs even before the food reaches the consumer. Besides, we generate a large amount of food waste in our homes. According to the Food Waste Index Report 2021, Indian households waste 50 kg of food per person per year.

With 12 Billion USD we can feed around 35 Million people for a month!!

Better processing and recycling can feed 11 per cent of the world’s population, many of whom are in India, that goes hungry.

What happens to our food waste if we do not compost them?

We usually throw away the excess food items with our trash without segregating them. It’s out of sight, out of mind! Unsegregated waste that includes Bio-waste, plastics etc. either sit on landfills or is incinerated. Since the waste is not separated, the waste cannot be recycled and also cannot be decomposed. So the waste remains on landfills. The food waste, over time, gets decomposed but with a high price. The food waste rots and releases methane!

What is composting?

Composting is the natural process of turning organic matter like leaves and food scraps into a valuable fertilizer that can benefit both soil and plants. It is sometimes known as “black gold” by farmers. As it accelerates the decomposition process by providing an optimal environment for bacteria, fungi, and other decomposing organisms to do their work.

How it works?

During composting, microorganisms eat organic or rather carbon-containing trash. This will lead to breakdown of waste into its simplest components . This results in a humus – which is rich in fiber and carbon. It also produces inorganic nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium that replenishes the soil.

Composting's main purpose is to reduce the amount of solid waste we produce. When we eliminate solid waste, we save space in municipal landfills as well as mitigate the production of greenhouse gases. The advantage of finished compost is that it acts as natural fertilizer that works wonders to the soil.

How composting works
Image courtesy:
What can you put in your compost bin?

How Composting can be a solution?

Many of us are unaware about the consequences of wasting food on our environment and society. Food waste that is not recycled is disposed in landfills. Where it rots and releases methane, a destructive greenhouse gas that is 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. According to Project Drawdown’s updated list of the most effective solutions to “draw down” or reverse the build-up of carbon in the atmosphere, composting organic waste can reduce carbon dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas emissions by more than half.

The solution to this problem might be under our noses, or rather our feet! We can compost our food waste!! The land beneath our feet is a vital resource that contributes to our country’s environmental and economic fabric.

The Composter: How much can composting help in solving the climate challenge?


1. Reduces methane emissions from landfills

Composting is one way to reduce methane emissions from organic waste that is now stored or disposed of in landfills. Because methane-producing microorganisms are not active in the presence of oxygen, the aerobic composting process does not produce methane.

When biodegradable waste is dumped in a landfill, it is buried beneath a pile of trash. Thus, cutting off the decomposers’ oxygen source. As a result, anaerobic decomposition happens and produces Biogas. It mainly consists of Methane and Carbon dioxide. Both deadly for the environment

2. Improves Soil Health and Lessens Erosion

Compost should be a critical component in the improvement of large-scale agricultural systems.  The endless amount of fertilizers that farmers use can easily be replaced with compost. Composting is an organic and cheap alternative to synthetic fertilizers, which are extremely harms the productivity of the soil. Compost has been demonstrated in studies to improve soil water retention capacity, productivity, and resiliency.

Composting as a waste management technique!

Along with this, composting is also a great Waste Management Technique. Composting requires us to segregate waste. Segregation at the source is extremely vital for sustainable waste management. Segregating would ensure that the bio-degradable material get composted. Non-biodegradable’s inorganic nature makes them good recycling units and would head to a different facility. 

But the two should never be mixed together as it will either pollute the composting process or the recycling process. As a result, the un-segregated waste would simply pile up in our landfills putting pressure on our already dwindling land resource. One good thing- segregating neither costs us extra money nor does it take up much time. The only thing we need is the desire to act on it.

Composting is a wonderful solution to reduce our carbon footprint. But the only drawback with this method is that it works only with organic wastes. Non-biodegradable wastes make up the majority of our wastes. This includes plastic, a major environmental hazard. 

The issue here is that, since the non-biodegradables are not organic (not made up of natural carbon compounds), microbes cannot break them down into simpler forms. Non-biodegradables can either be reduced, reused, recycled (not all wastes) or incinerated. But these methods have problems of their own. 

Coming to the million-dollar question. What can we do? The easiest solution is to compost at home! Collect your food scraps and other organic wastes to make your own compost bins. Here is a complete guide for you to get started with your composting journey.

Here’s a list if all that you should NOT add to your compost pile.

Every action we do has an impact on the health of our planet, and our daily actions can help to make the world a better place for everyone. Composting helps the environment by reducing the amount of solid waste in landfills and adding nutrient-rich organic matter in our soil. Let’s be a part of that!

This blog is originally written by Ishita Paul. She is a Economics student from IPCW, University of Delhi. and a long time contributor to the Mission Sustainability.

Composting Kit
One Home Composter Bin with Starter Kit

The Package Consists of Single 40 liter Compost Bin with tap and Arrangement for air circulation and tap for removing compost tea. Culture Powder 1kg, Neem Powder 1kg, Compost Manure 1 kg Cocopeat Hand Cultivator. Instruction guide in Marathi and English

Price: ₹ 1,680