Closing The Loop: Generating High Quality Compost from Food Waste

Everyday, we at Saahas manage 12 tons of waste. We compost close to 5 tons of food waste everyday to generate 15-20 tons of high quality compost a month.

Food waste is recycled into compost at our onsite and decentralized waste management centres, Kasa Rasa 1 and 2. Based on the quantum of the food waste generated in a location and area available, different technologies are adopted to generate aerobic compost. Our focus is on adopting technologies and processes that imitate the natural process of decomposition thereby ensuring the quality of the compost produced.

Aerobic Composting - Tank System Aerobic Composting - Manthan

To generate good quality of compost we ensure the following.

  1. Segregation of Food Waste: Although the incoming food waste is segregated, we re-check the same to ensure that no metal, plastic, glass or other non-biodegradable items are present before we start processing it.

Secondary Sorting of Wet Waste

  1. Field Staff Hygiene and Safety: Field staff are asked to wear personal protective gear like masks, gloves, shoes, apron while processing the food waste. Hygiene and safety training is conducted regularly. All our waste management units are equipped with wash areas and toilets.
  2. Carbon-Nitrogen Ratio: Sufficient amount of carbon (dry leaves) is added to help decompose the food waste on time.

Garden Litter

  1. Heat Generation: Food breakdown happens due to microbial growth and activity. Microbial activity is affected by temperature of the compost pile. Temperature between (55 to 65 degree centigrade) helps in faster breakdown of food and kills pathogen.  Temperatures above 70 degree centigrade can hamper the microbial activity.

To make sure the temperature levels are suitable for microbes we monitor it frequently and adjust the pile accordingly. The most common methods of adjusting temperature include turning piles, adding dry leaves and checking the moisture levels.

  1. Odour control: With insufficient oxygen the composting process becomes anaerobic and emits foul odour. To ensure the continued supply of oxygen, the compost is aerated passively and the piles are turned frequently.
  2. Ventilation: Units are well ventilated to aid aerobic composting and to ensure healthy work conditions for the field staff.
  3. Leachate: Excess water in the food waste drains out as leachate. Leachate if not managed properly attracts a lot of flies, and emits foul odor. At all our locations we have provided a proper drainage system to manage the leachate.
  4. Compost Stabilization: Maturity of the compost is tested by checking the temperature of the pile and the smell. If the temperature has not stabilized (or more than 30 degree centigrade) then the compost is allowed to degrade.
  5. Compost Testing: Once in three months our compost is tested for macro, micro nutrients, PH and EC. Based on the test reports changes are made in the process to meet the required standards or parameters.
  6. Vermi-composting: To get high quality manure suitable for growing vegetables and fruits we have started producing vermin-compost from food waste using African worms.

Saahas takes pride in stating that the compost we generate is of high quality and meets all the statutory standards and requirements. For more information on our compost, call 41689889.

Rajvee Gosrani,

Saahas

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