How to Compost at Home: Easy Step by Step Guide

5 min read

How to Compost at Home: Easy Step by Step Guide

A comprehensive guide to compost easily at home!

I’ve been on a path towards a sustainable and low waste lifestyle for around 2 years now and one the most significant steps towards this was composting.

So I’m going to share my experience and some tips to help anyone who wants to start doing it themselves!

“Composting will change your life'' is what I was told by Divya Ravichandran, the founder of Skrap, an environmental sustainability firm that helps individuals, businesses and brands adopt sustainable practices and zero waste solutions. That pushed me to start, even though I’d been toying with the idea for a while.

What she said was true, composting was really life changing for me. Once you start doing it, you’ll realize how satisfying it is to see your kitchen ‘waste’ turn into this beautiful black soil called compost. Your heart will sing the first time you harvest your compost, I guarantee that!

Also, on an individual level, this is perhaps the biggest contribution you can make towards the environment. Composting has the power to reverse climate change. It enriches the soil and makes it absorb more carbon. And of course, it is great for plants!

So, Where Do I Begin?

Get yourself a composting unit

If you are in an apartment, you can get a stackable unit that doesn’t occupy much space. If you have a garden, you can dig a pit and compost in that.

If you want to buy a unit, I recommend The Daily Dump. They have distributors in most cities and you can locate these on their website . I recommend them because they have a fantastic team to help and even have customer support available on WhatsApp to support you with queries and doubts.

OR, you can even DIY. 

What you will need: 

  • A large container(s) with some holes. It could be made terracotta or plastic. Some people even use old buckets or even old paint buckets.
  • A cover/lid or a cloth secured on the opening. This is to avoid flies and pests from getting in.

Buy or collect some ‘brown’ material

This could be cocopeat (you’ll get it easily at any nursery or even online), crushed dry leaves, shredded brown paper or a mixture of all these. You can also buy compost making powder online. If you get a unit from The Daily Dump, they’ll give you this as part of their starter kit. They call it ‘remix powder’ and even if you don’t get their unit, you can buy it separately.

Segregate your waste

Start collecting your kitchen waste (essentially wet waste) - fruit and vegetable peels, bones, even food soiled paper/napkins etc. in a container. We just place a container on our kitchen counter and keep putting these things in it. At the end of the day, we put this in our composter. You can also compost hair, nails, brown egg cartons, used toothpicks etc.

How to compost?

Step 1 - Put some browns at the bottom of your composter, then add your kitchen waste.

Step 2 - Cover your kitchen waste with the browns. You should add enough browns so that no kitchen waste can be seen.

Step 3 - Cover this with a newspaper or brown paper (I use used brown paper bags, especially those soiled by food because they cannot be recycled)

Step 4 - Cover with a lid and repeat everyday!

Step 5 - Once full, leave it for 30-45 days and then harvest!

That’s really all you need to do! 

If you have a stackable composter with 3-4 units (depending on how much waste you generate), then you fill one unit, close it and start filling the next one, then the next one. By the time your 3rd or 4th container is full, your first one would be composted. Keep following this cycle.

One common misconception about composting at home is that it smells. It does not. You just need to ensure your wet waste is properly covered with the browns and there’ll be no smell at all.

It also takes only 2-3 mins everyday to fill and about half an hour once a month/45 days to harvest. So, it’s not time consuming either.

Here are some useful tips to make composting easier and faster:

1. A stackable composter is great for apartments with space constraints. I live in Bombay and my composter is on my balcony, so it is very convenient.

2. Chop big peels/pieces into smaller bits before putting them in the composter, they’ll compost faster.

3. You can put in everything from your kitchen, even spoilt veggies/fruits. And bones, as well as leftover cooked food.

4. Dry your compost once it’s ready - spread it out in a big basket or tub. Then put it in a breathable container to mature for a month before you use it for your plants.

5. There will be small bugs and maggots, don’t be creeped out or scared. They help in composting and are your friends! They will usually not even come out of the unit and be happy inside. Let them be.

6. To kick start the process and to keep it going, add microbes once a week/10 days. You can buy microbes online or even use a spoon of sour curd.

8. Follow @dailydumpcompost @wormrani @skrap.zerowaste bare necessities on Instagram. They conduct workshops on composting regularly and also do Instagram lives. You’ll find a wealth of information on this topic from them. You can also follow me as I share my tips and tricks on this topic and as well as other sustainable practices regularly.

Composting is not as difficult as you might think! I used to think that too, but trust me, once you get a hang of it, you will love it!

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Sonika Bhasin

Sonika Bhasin

Sustainability Enthusiast

About Author

Sonika is a media professional, mother of a 2 year old boy and a sustainability enthusiast. She and her husband embarked upon a journey towards a sustainable and low waste lifestyle for their son, to leave him and his generation a planet worth living on and to be comfortable and live a long healthy life. They believe in mindful consumption and are also bringing up their son with the same values. Through her Instagram account, Sonika shares her experiences, tips and tricks to help and encourage as many people as possible to do the same.

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