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Composting at Home Guide

9 Aug 2023

This crossing point marries the principles of waste management and thoughtful design, giving rise to a new paradigm where structures serve human needs as well as contribute to the regeneration of the environment.

The convergence of composting and architecture creates a strong synergy that transcends conventional boundaries when it comes to sustainable design

This crossing point marries the principles of waste management and thoughtful design, giving rise to a new paradigm where structures serve human needs as well as contribute to the regeneration of the environment.

Imagine a world where buildings are not static elements but rather living entities that interact with their surroundings in unique ways. Sustainable architecture brings this vision to life, weaving together human residence, waste reduction, and ecological restoration in an intricate tapestry of innovation.

At the core of the composting-infused architecture is the idea of biomimicry - the imitating of nature's patterns and processes in design. Similarly, as ecosystems blossom with interconnectedness, these architectural creations mimic natural systems, flawlessly integrating the built environment with the natural world.

  • Green Roofs: Rooftops transformed into lush gardens enhance aesthetics as well as offer habitats for nearby vegetation. These green roofs retain water, mitigate heat island impacts, and sequester carbon, adding to the overall health of neighboring environments.

  • Vertical Gardens/Living Walls: Vertical gardens that adorn building exteriors act as air purifiers, filtering contamination and enhancing air quality. These vertical gardens celebrate the beauty of biodiversity while at the same time further improving the well-being of nearby inhabitants.

Sustainable architecture flips the script on waste, viewing it as an important asset as opposed to a burden. Natural waste produced within these structures turns into the raw material for composting systems, resulting in nutrient-rich soil alterations that can be utilized to enhance surrounding landscapes. 

  • Composting Toilets: These innovative sanitation solutions represent sustainability at work. Human waste is converted into manure, reducing the strain on conventional sewage systems.

  • Biodegradable Materials: Sustainable architecture embraces natural, biodegradable materials that, in the end, return to the earth without leaving a lasting footprint. From bamboo-based designs to earth-friendly paints, these choices focus on sustainability and the preservation of resources.

Composting at Home: Nurturing Sustainability in your Backyard

Composting isn't exclusively a grand architectural concept; it is a concept that can be flawlessly integrated into our daily lives, beginning right at home. 

By embracing composting as a household activity, you can contribute to waste reduction, improve your garden soil, and become an active participant in the cycle of sustainability. We believe that sustainable living starts with little yet impactful practices.

Understanding the Composting Process in a Compost Pile at Home


Composting is a natural and intricate biological process that changes organic waste into nutrient-rich soil amendments. By understanding the different stages of this process, you can effectively manage your compost heap and create top-notch compost for your nursery. Here is a breakdown of the composting process:

  • Initiation and accumulation

Composting starts with the collection of organic materials. These materials can be comprehensively sorted into "green" and "brown" components. Green materials are nitrogen-rich and include kitchen scraps like fruit and vegetable peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Brown materials, on the other hand, are carbon-rich and comprise dry leaves, paper, and cardboard.

  • Microbial activity

As you layer green and brown materials in your compost pile or bin, naturally occurring microorganisms begin to break down these materials. Microorganisms, fungi, and different organisms feed on organic matter, producing heat and carbon dioxide as by-products.

  • Heat generation

Microbial action creates heat inside the compost pile. This increase in temperature is an indication that the decomposition process is in progress. The heat assists with speeding up the breakdown of organic materials.

  • Aerobic decomposition

Proper air circulation is fundamental for aerobic decomposition, which depends on the presence of oxygen. Turning or mixing the compost pile introduces oxygen and prevents the accumulation of foul-smelling anaerobic conditions.

  • Material breakdown

Over time, the microorganisms break down complex organic compounds into less complex particles. The heat produced during this breakdown kills microorganisms, weed seeds, and potential plant diseases.

  • Maturing and curing

As the composting process continues, the pile will begin to cool down. This shows that the most active phase of decomposition is closing. Allow the compost to "cure" for half a month to several months. During this period, the remaining organic matter further breaks down, and the compost matures into a stable, supplement-rich substance.

The end result of composting is humus. Humus is dark, crumbly, and rich in nutrients. It improves soil structure, water-holding capacity, and nutrient availability. Humus additionally supports the growth of beneficial soil organisms.

Different Composting Methods at Home

Traditional Compost Bins

Traditional compost bins are widely used and come in different sizes and designs. These bins are suitable for both small and large gardens. They provide a controlled climate for composting, allowing you to easily monitor and manage the process. Traditional bins are perfect for households with a mix of kitchen and yard waste.

Compost piles


Compost piles are a simpler and more casual approach to composting. They include creating a heap of organic materials in an assigned region of your yard. 

While they require less initial investment, compost piles need more frequent turning to guarantee proper air circulation and decomposition. They're great for people with adequate outside space and a willingness to take part in more hands-on composting.

Trench composting

Trench composting involves digging channels in your garden and burying organic waste directly in the soil. This strategy improves the soil and reduces the need for a separate compost pile. It's especially valuable for improving soil quality in specific areas of your garden.

Investigating Common Issues When it comes to composting at Home


  • Foul Scents: Assuming your compost pile smells terrible, it very well may be excessively wet or need appropriate air circulation. Turn the pile to introduce oxygen and add dry, carbon-rich materials like leaves or shredded paper to retain excess moisture.

  • Slow Decomposition: In the event that your compost isn't breaking down as quickly as expected, it could require more nitrogen-rich materials. Add kitchen scraps, grass clippings, or other green materials to accelerate the decomposition process.

  • Pests: If bugs like flies or rodents are drawn to your compost pile, try not to add meat, dairy, and oily foods. Bury food scraps deep inside the pile to prevent bugs.

  • Extreme Heat: While some heat is normal during composting, an excessively hot pile might indicate an imbalance of materials. An excessive amount of nitrogen-rich material can prompt high temperatures. Add more brown materials to cool down the pile.

  • Unpleasant Appearance: If your compost pile looks slimy and wet, it very well may be because of an excessive amount of green material. Add brown materials to re-establish the balance and improve the texture.

  • Lack of Heat: If the compost pile isn't generating enough heat, it could require more nitrogen-rich materials. Ensure appropriate air circulation by turning the pile, which will also help increase its internal temperature. 

  • Unwanted Plant Growth: If you notice weed seeds growing in your compost pile, the compost pile might not be reaching sufficiently high temperatures to kill the seeds. Turn the pile all the more frequently to heat up the inside and destroy weed seeds.

  • Acidic pH: Excessive citrus peels or other acidic materials can bring down the pH of your compost. To balance the pH, add more alkaline materials, like crushed eggshells.

Taking everything into account, we welcome you to reflect on the powerful impact of your efforts. By embracing composting as a core practice in your household, you're enriching your soil as well as contributing to the broader vision of sustainable architecture in Africa.

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