My pots of gold

At a conservative estimate of 2.5 kg of wet waste per week, its more than 300 kgs! This is what my six compost pots have seen since we moved to Mumbai more than two years ago.

The pots are placed in an open balcony, and being on a high floor, there is good cross breeze. Inside, each pot is covered with a cardboard sheet (reused pizza box) so that the waste is not exposed.

Pots of gold
Pots of gold

All my family’s kitchen waste goes in here – vegetable and fruit peels, food scraps, egg shells, tea, bones… everything. There is no wet waste dustbin in our home. Just a small vessel at the kitchen sink for convenience. Some of the waste, like banana peels and watermelon edges and mango seeds, often go straight into the pots without making a trip to the kitchen.

The compost has never been “harvested”, but with the pots getting full, this will soon need to be done. So these six pots have more than two years’ wet waste. People may wonder whether we eat anything at all. In the heat of Mumbai, it is incredible how the waste reduces to almost nothing in a couple of days. And to think this is most often transported miles and miles to someone else’s neighbourhood! Often to landfills where it cannot breathe to decomposition.

The main workers in the compost are little black beetles. There are hundreds of them. Quite harmless and non-problematic, they can sometimes be seen talking walks around the balcony, at which time we scoop them up and return them to the pots. That is, if they escape the birds that eat them. Mango flies and soldier flies are also seen, but not many.

Little black beetles
Little black beetles

Managing the compost is not difficult. Keeping the wet-dry balance may take some practice. Those starting out may encounter smell issues apart from insects. Nothing that we humans are incapable of handling. Much like handling your mobile apps. Much like cooking. Once you get the experience, composting is a breeze! And the thought that you are contributing to “saving the earth” can be very satisfying. As satisfying as serving up a delicious meal.

If you have a balcony, get yourself some pots and give it a go! If you have a terrace, with a bit of shelter from rain and sun, it is even better. This is assuming that your apartment block is not doing composting (like where I live). Composting on a large scale will be very impactful.

And those with gardens and space in the compound, there is no excuse to give those stinking bags (yes, old wet waste will stink!) to municipal door-to-door collection.

Online and in-person resources and guides are plenty. All you need is the will. Make your own pots of gold!

Other related links
Composting at Camellia apartments, Pune
Zero waste initiative at Brigade Millennium Mayflower, Bangalore


4 thoughts on “My pots of gold

  1. vanimurthy September 11, 2014 / 8:32 am

    Earth Healer!! Inspire more to join the march to make this planet a better place!


  2. Arathi Manay September 12, 2014 / 9:07 pm

    Thanks Vani. Thanks for your relentless inspiration!


  3. Shirley November 9, 2014 / 8:52 pm

    Hey Arathi, I finally know from where these tiny visitors crept into my balcony. Didn’t know that these were harmless beetles and was always busy driving them out. Now I shall befriend them without fear 🙂 by the way both my girls loved the caps to keep page. Very creative and interesting.


  4. Arathi Manay November 10, 2014 / 9:33 am

    Pop by anytime Shirley. Will show you and the girls the caps.


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