The Role of Composting in a Circular Economy: Indian Context
Updated: Sep 27
Many of us have undoubtedly encountered the term “circular economy”. It has garnered increased attention because of the rise in challenges we face, such as resource depletion, environmental degradation and improper waste management. The goal of circular economy is to improve the efficiency of resource consumption, minimize waste generation and ultimately to promote sustainability.
However, achieving a circular economy is not a simple, one-dimensional solution; rather, it is the outcome of coordinated efforts across various domains. Composting is one such undeniable link. In this blog, we will delve into how composting is one of the pivotal elements of circular economy in Indian context. Composting plays a fundamental role in closing the loop by effectively managing organic waste and reducing resource consumption. Consequently, it significantly contributes to the promotion of sustainability.
In recent years, India is facing a growing waste crisis, with overflowing landfills and polluted waterways becoming all too common. These challenges need to be addressed with innovative and sustainable solutions. Composting, particularly in Indian context holds tremendous potential to not only alleviate the waste problem but also to transform agriculture and enhance soil health.
With an ever-increasing population and urbanization, the demand for agriculture is also increasing which in turn increases the amount of waste generated in amounts which has become very difficult to manage. Much of this waste is organic in nature, comprising food scraps, agricultural residues, and farm trimmings. Unfortunately, a significant portion of this organic waste ends up in landfills, where it decomposes anaerobically, emitting methane which is a potent greenhouse gas. This waste mismanagement exacerbates environmental problems and poses a threat to public health.
Composting is a sustainable solution to tackle this enormous problem. It turns organic waste into nutrient rich compost through natural process which eventually returns back to the soil. Below are some ways in which composting can prove useful for Indian economy:
Reducing Landfill pressure
Composting helps in diverting huge amounts of organic waste away from landfills. By doing so, it not only frees up valuable land area but also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases that is released into atmosphere resulting from anaerobic decomposition of organic waste.
Enhancing Soil Health
In a country like India where agriculture is the bedrock of economy, it is very important to improve and maintain the quality of soil. Composting is a natural and sustainable way to enrich the soil in which is continuously degraded with increased farming. Widespread unsustainable practices in farming have also robbed Indian soil of its fertility. Composting as a natural alternative to chemical fertilizers, enhances crop yield and quality.
Creating Sustainable jobs
The composting industry has the potential to generate employment opportunities, especially in rural areas. Setting up composting facilities and managing the composting process creates jobs along the entire value chain. From waste collection and segregation to compost production and distribution, these jobs not only reduce unemployment rates but also contribute to local economic development.
Reducing Water Pollution
Organic waste, when disposed of improperly, can contaminate water sources. Composting plays a crucial role in preventing water pollution by ensuring that organic matter is properly managed and converted into beneficial compost. Clean water sources are essential for both human consumption and agriculture, making composting a critical tool in safeguarding India's water resources.
Addressing Climate Change
Composting not only reduces methane emissions from landfills but also sequesters carbon in the soil. This carbon sequestration helps combat climate change by reducing the overall carbon footprint. Given India's commitment to addressing climate change through sustainable practices, composting aligns well with its climate goals.
Promoting Sustainable Living
Composting is not limited to large-scale operations; it can be adopted at the household level. Encouraging individuals and communities to compost their organic waste fosters a sense of responsibility for the environment. It empowers citizens to actively participate in the circular economy and reduces the waste that ends up in landfills.
In spite of all these benefits and positives about composting, it is not as widely adopted in large scales as it needs to be. The two main challenges are:
Lack of awareness about benefits of composting
Many people in India are not aware of the benefits of composting or how to compost properly. This lack of awareness often leads to organic waste being disposed of incorrectly, contributing to the waste crisis
Lack of infrastructure for composting
In many parts of India, there is a significant lack of composting facilities and infrastructure. This deficiency makes it challenging for people to engage in composting as a waste management option, as they may not have access to the necessary resources or knowledge.
In conclusion, composting has enormous potential to improve agricultural methods, handle India's waste crisis, and advance sustainability on numerous levels. It is a sensible, scalable, and environmentally friendly system that not only effectively handles organic waste but also benefits the economy, the environment, and society at large. Composting's acceptance as a crucial element of the circular economy will prove as a positive step toward making India more resilient and sustainable.