Goodbye organic garbage, Hello compost!
What are the solutions to the waste problems in Tunisia? Are compost bins make a good alternative? In the relatively small country of Tunisia, garbage is a big problem.
Garbage is a major issue in Tunisia. A large portion of the trash that we discard does not undergo any sorting before it is loaded onto trucks and hauled to landfills. In addition to using up valuable energy and creating pollution and gridlock on city streets, truck trips to landfills also waste valuable landfill space that could be put to better use. To deal with the problem of waste accumulation, one option is to separate it at the source.
Composting in Tunisia
Over the past few years, an increasing number of composters are getting installed in private homes in Tunis. Some other composting projects launched by a few municipalities and organizations across the country, however, the concept remains unknown for most ordinary people.
A composter is a container for organic waste, such as scraps of fruits and vegetables and other organic matter, which accounts close to 40% of household waste. This organic matter decomposes in the composter and can be used as fertilizer in gardens as it helps create nutrient-rich soil.
Composting is a great way to enrich the soil in your garden and lawn. Plants benefit from this, as it provides nutrients and helps to retain moisture in the soil. The term “black gold” isn’t a misnomer. Adding compost to your garden is the single most important supplement you can give it.
Recycles Kitchen and Yard Waste
Composting has the possibility to save households up to 40% of their garbage disposal costs. The lack of air in a landfill inhibits the decomposition of organic matter, which is why this is so important. As it decomposes, methane gas is released into the atmosphere, accelerating global warming and climate change.
Introduces Beneficial Organisms to the Soil
Soil aeration, plant nutrition, and disease prevention are all aided by the microscopic organisms found in compost.
Good for the Environment
Composting can be used as a natural fertilizer for lawns and garden beds instead of chemical fertilizers.
Reduces Landfill Waste
Landfills in Tunisia are rapidly filling up, and many have already been forced to close their doors. Compostable waste accounts for one-third of landfill waste. Our landfills will last longer if we divert this waste from the landfill (and so will our wild spaces).
Getting Involved: What to Compost
Depending on the type of composter you have, there are some general rules about what you can and can’t put in your compost. To varying degrees, all compostable materials are made up of carbon and/or nitrogen. The key to a healthy compost pile is to keep these two components in balance with one another.
There are a variety of carbon-rich materials (such as shredded brown paper bags; shredded coffee filters; coffee grounds; conifer needles; eggshell; straw; peat moss; wood ash) that give compost its fluffy texture.
Carbon is the primary component of a compost pile, while nitrogen is a secondary component.
Enzymes can be made from nitrogen- or protein-rich matter, such as manure, food scraps, green lawn clippings, kitchen waste, and green leaves.
Carbon is the primary component of a compost pile, while nitrogen is a secondary component. As a general rule of thumb, use one-third green and two-thirds brown material. The brown materials’ bulkiness allows oxygen to permeate and nourish the organisms that live there, allowing them to thrive. An anaerobic mass is formed when nitrogen levels are too high. When nitrogen-rich material is exposed to open air, it can release odors, so good composting hygiene means covering it with carbon-rich material. Carbon-rich material often emits a fresh, wonderful smell. If you’re unsure, increase the carbon content!
Getting Involved: How to Compost
- A compost pile can be started on bare ground. Your garden beds will be enriched by worms and other beneficial organisms as a result of this process.
- Lay a few inches of twigs or straw in the ground before moving on to the next layer. Drainage and aeration are aided by this.
- Compost materials should be added in layers, alternating between wet and dry, to keep the soil evenly moist. Tea bags and seaweed are examples of moist ingredients. Straw, leaves, sawdust pellets, and wood ashes are examples of dry materials. Wood ashes should be sprinkled in thin layers to avoid clumping together and slowing down the decomposition process.
- Add manure, green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings), or any source of nitrogen to your garden. The compost pile is activated and the process speeds up as a result.
- Keep the compost moist. Let the rain take care of it, or use a sprinkler if necessary.
- It doesn’t matter what kind of material you use, as long as it’s sturdy. Composters need moisture and heat to thrive, so it’s important to keep compost covered. Covering the compost also prevents rain from over-watering it. Ideally, the compost should be moist but not soaked or soggy.
- Turn. Turn the pile with a pitchfork or shovel every few weeks. This helps to aerate the sludge. Turning “adds” oxygen to the process, which is necessary for it to work. Straw or other coarse material can be substituted for this step if you have access to it. Add new materials to your compost pile by sprinkling them in rather than layering them on top of each other. Mixing or turning the compost pile is essential to aerating and speeding up the process of decomposition. Rotating compost tumblers are an option if you don’t want to build your own compost pile, but rather prefer to buy a composter.
Suggested Read: The National Arbor Day in Tunisia 🌳
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