March 9, 2016

Composter Planters

INORA’s Composter planter is a unique waste management technology developed for composting of organic wastes and planting of vegetables, ornamentals, herbs, medicinal plants, vertical gardening in the same container. It has been developed by INORA for individual family use. Some of the ideas that went into developing this product:

  1. The solution should be compact and fit into the urban household. Ideally using the concept of re-use of available containers would be ideal rather then creating new plastic for this purpose.
  2. It’s capacity should be sufficient to cover every type of kitchen waste generated by an average Indian household.
  3. It should not produce any harmful effects such as encourage the growth of pathogens, create odours and attract pests.
  4. Materials used in the product should be easily available anywhere.
  5. The attention required to keep the process going should not be more than 2 mins a day.
  6. The compost generated should directly be used for the next level of value creation, namely, for creating a green space in the household.
  7. The product should need minimum care and should not need a harvest for atleast 12 to 18 months.
  8. Initial cost should not be more than a meal for a family at a good restaurant.
  9. Operational cost in a month should not be more than a cup of coffee at a good cafe.

And here’s what we came up with..



The composter planter specifications:

  1. 200 l drum with 3 levels of aeration holes on the circumference. 2 levels of 8 holes of 3″ dia and 1 level at the bottom with tiny aeration holes.
  2. Drainage holes on the base to drain away liquids.
  3. Top cover to use at the start of composting.
  4. 1 kg of kitchen waste can be treated per day.
  5. Full composting / vermicomposting layers setup incl. of drainage layer, agro bedding layer, compost layer and vermiculture (optional).
  6. 1 kg of INORA’s Decomposition Culture to be used once in 5-6 days, only a teaspoonful.
  7. 0.5 l of INORA’s IVEM Odour Control Spray. To be used everyday after loading fresh waste.

Prerequisites for using a Composter Planter

For best results, the composter planter has to be setup right. We list a few important issues that need to be taken into consideration for setup:

  1. The unit has to be positioned in a place that does not allow easy access to rodents.
  2. Ideally the unit should be placed in a shaded area away from direct sunlight. The cover should also be used to prevent rain water from entering into the composter.
  3. The bottom drain holes should be kept free to allow for liquids and moisture to drain away. Any stagnation of liquids inside the composter can lead to odours and anaerobic conditions.
  4. Enough air circulation should be allowed in and around the composter unit.
  5. The composter is normally too heavy to move in use. It should hence be positioned in a place that can be relatively a permanent location.
  6. If placed indoors or on balconies, a small tray may need to be placed below the composter to collect moisture for disposal at regular intervals. The liquid collected in called compost wash and can be used as a liquid fertilizer for your potted plants or gardens.

Types of Wastes to be Treated in a Composter Planter

A composter planter can take all organic bio-degradable wastes such as vegetable peels, fruit peels, food scraps, shells of nuts, stalks of greens, coffee grounds, tea leaves, food waste, egg shells, non vegetarian waste (in small quantities), bones, coconut fibres, etc.

With liquid food waste such as dals, sambhar, etc that needs to be disposed, ideally it should be strained in the kitchen sink to wash away all the liquids. The solid content can then be disposed in the composter.

Certain food materials like dairy products, oils, etc. lead to stickiness and cut off air circulation leading to odours. When added into the compost bin, only small quantities can be added. After addition the contents of the bin should be turned to mix and aerate the compost pile. Any sticky food materials, such as chapati dough, etc should be avoided or added in small quantities with care, since it tends to form sticky lumps in the compost and lead to anaerobic conditions that lead to odours.

Materials that should NOT be added into the Composter

Any material that adds excessive amount of moisture, stickiness, potentially harmful pathogens or materials that destroy friendly composting mircro-organisms should not be added into the composter planter. A few such materials are:

Food waste with large amounts of liquid contents such as gravies, curries, oils, dairy products, sugars, etc should be avoided. The solid content of the waste can be added after they have been washed and sieved under running water.

Cat and Dog litter, biomedical wastes should not be added since it adds harmful pathogens into compost. Cow dung is the only exception since it promotes composting with a whole host of beneficial micro-organisms and also removes odours.

All non bio degradable materials should not be added particularly, plastics.

Harmful chemicals, such as paints, pesticides, mineral or fossil based oils, detergents, etc should not be added in the composter.

Plants that can be grown in the Composter Planter

The 8 aeration holes on the sides of the composter allow for plantation of nutritional and medicinal plants as the compost layers build up with the 1 kg of waste added everyday.

Nutritional plants such as tomatoes, brinjal, chillies, capsicum, different varieties of gourds can be grown.

Medicinal plants such as Lemongrass, Aloe Vera, etc can be grown.

Once the layers build up beyond the first layer of aeration holes, even a large fruit tree such as papaya, chickoo, drumstick, lemon, etc can be planted at the center.

To order INORA’s Composter Planter, please fill in the Enquiry Form

In case you are looking for community level composting solutions for your housing complex or gated community, please fill in this Enquiry Form