Kalptaru’s Vermicomposting Technique.

February 20, 2011


Kalptaru Society Projects

Kalptaru ATM Goldbox

In the metropolitan cities like Mumbai today, we are facing a big issue for garbage disposal. Mumbai City produces approximately 6000 tonnes of garbage every day. Local government bodies are trying to get over this problem by dumping the daily garbage on the dumping grounds. Due to the huge volume of garbage being produced every day, and with the availability of limited space at the dumping ground this problem is getting worse. In next few months it is suspected that the dumping grounds will reach their limits and then government will have to find new dumping grounds which would be even further from the city. This would require additional transportation and would add to the air pollution. At the same time dumping grounds already cause land pollution.

To control this severe issue, for the last 2 years Brihan Mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) is encouraging citizens of Mumbai to segregate organic and inorganic garbage at the household level. Idea is that the organic waste can be converted into rich manure through the process of composting. However due to the inefficient processes and BMC’s inability to create awareness among citizens, it is not working and many of us are still not segregating the garbage and are giving the entire garbage as it is to the local sweeper. If we see, typically organic waste makes up more than 50 % of daily household garbage. We can convert this daily organic waste into rich manure through the process of Vermi-composting at our home or at our society. This would considerably reduce the daily garbage being given to the BMC. And at the same time we are producing rich manure through the waste, which can be used for our plants. Thus with the help of Vermi-Composting we can help reduce the garbage disposal problem of our city, in a big way.

Pollution à Recycle is the solution.

Garbage – Mixture of Organic and Inorganic material.

A)    Organic : Generated from nature, can be decomposed and recycled. Includes kitchen waste, horticulture waste, paper waste, etc.

B)    Inorganic : Generated by human beings. It creates a big problem when it is mixed with nature. It should be separated and recycled. Includes glass, metal scrap, thermocol, plastic waste, etc.

Solution à Garbage A and B should be segregated. Garbage A (Organic) should be used for composting and garbage B (Inorganic) should be recycled.

Vermi-compost is the process of using surface layer (Epigenic) earthworms and micro-organisms to convert organic food waste into dark, nutrient rich manure. The advantage of Vermi-composting is that it can be done indoors as well out doors. A properly managed Vermi-composting does not produce any odour. There are 3000 species of earthworms. The main species of earthworms which are useful for Vermi-composting are 1. Eisenia Fetida, 2. Eudrilus Euginie. These composting earthworms are Hermaphrodites, with each mature worm has both male and female sex organs. They live close to the surface of the soil and are very useful for composting. They feed on decomposed organic material. Their life span is 2 years on an average. They grow and reproduce quickly. These compost earthworms require an environment with neutral pH, around 25 to 30 degree C of temperature, 70% humidity and sufficient air.

Composting earthworms prefer decomposed food, with high nutrients and with relatively low carbon. Ideal food includes decomposed fruits, vegetables, kitchen waste, some animal manure, garden waste, paper, corrugated box, etc. Worms do not prefer materials with high content of Ammonia, Nitrogen, Fats, Oils etc. These include onion, lemon, garlic, etc. These earthworms eat only dead and decaying food. They cannot eat a live plant or any other live material.

Composting earthworm eats food as much as its own body weight. Depending on the type and quality of food, and environment in which worms are living. Earthworms release micro-organisms from their body, such as Bacteria, Algae and Fungi. These micro-organisms facilitate decomposing of the organic waste. Within 90 days organic waste can be converted into compost (manure) with the help of earthworms. Vermi-culture is composed of fully grown earthworms, cocoons and baby worms. These act as soil conditioner over a long term.

Composting can be achieved in three ways :

  1. Simple composting : Daily segregated wet garbage should be stored in a container with proper aeration. After few months it would decompose and turn into compost.
  2. Bio culture composting : Bio culture is available in powder or liquid form. It should be mixed with wet garbage and put in aerated container. After few months compost will be ready.
  3. Vermi-Composting : It is the process of efficiently converting organic waste into compost with the help of earthworms. It can be done in a household or at society.

Method :

  • Use any container with proper aeration of minimum 1 CFT in volume.
  • Put 2-3 inches layer of coconut flax or sugarcane bagasse or dry leaves at the bottom. This material has good water holding capacity.
  • On top of this layer, put 2-3 inches layer of decomposed cow dung.
  • Next put 2 kg of Vermiculture containing around 50-70 earthworm (Species : Eisenia fetida or Eudrilus Eugenie).
  • Put water from top so that all layers are properly soaked.
  • Add daily wet garbage of about 1 kg. If garbage is more than one kg, bigger kit should be used.
  • Sprinkle water every alternate day.
  • Put a tray below the container/kit to collect extra drained water. This water can be used as fungicide for plants.
  • Stir the added garbage twice in a week.
  • As garbage decomposes its volume reduces and it settles down.
  • About 6 months later, container will be full. Stop adding wet garbage and water for 2-3 days.
  • Slowly remove the top layer which is not yet decomposed. Below that you will see the compost formed.
  • Take out this wet compost (Make sure you don’t touch the bottom 3 inch layer from the kit) and make a heap of it on the floor. After 2-3 hours all earthworms will go to the bottom of the heap. Then you can remove the compost and put the bottom layer containing earthworms back to the container/kit.
  • Above process can be used to convert daily organic waste into rich compost at the household as well as at the society level.

Few common problems and solutions:

Symptom Cause Solution
Composting kit produces bad odour Excessive content of Sulphur (rotten egg smell) and Ammonia cause bad odour.Sulphur – produces when the composting material is too wet. 

Ammonia – produces due to the excess of Nitrogen and green material.

Mix soil with the composting material.Mix dry leaves or grass clippings to increase carbon content. 

Stir the organic waste added to the kit to increase aeration.

Composting material attracts pests, flies Improper material may have been added to the kit. Do not add meat, fish, bones, dairy product, oil, etc.To avoid problem of flies, make sure the freshly added waste is buried into the composting material.
Compost formation is too slow The organic waste is taking time to decompose due to its large size. Make small pieces of the organic waste before adding it to the kit.If possible add cow dung manure into the kit, which will stimulate the composting process.
Composting material is too wet Poor drainage at the bottom.Poor ventilation. 

Rain water coming inside the kit.

Make sure the excessive water drains out easily from the bottom, this water can be collected and used for plants.Make sure the kit is covered from the top to protect from rain water. 

Stir the organic waste added to the kit to increase aeration.


Prakash Dandekar

Dandekar Niwas 588-89/5,
L J Cross Road No 1,
Mahim Mumbai


mob: +91 9820784291


18 Responses to “Kalptaru’s Vermicomposting Technique.”

  1. Digamber said

    Every one should adopt ATM Gold box…

  2. klien fernandes said

    Great Contribution to the envioroment. You guys must take a look at plants treated with vermicompost to belive it. The plants i have seen were bursting with life and blooms. Amazing and so cost effective.

  3. manav said

    i have been using dandekar saabs atm since last 5-6 years,its a great way to decompose your kitchen waste, very effective.

  4. vaibhav s jadhav said

    i need vermiculture for my garden
    send me details about cost per kg.of vermiculture

    • Dear Vaibhav

      Thanks for writing to us. We would encourage you to prepare vermi-compost yourself for your garden !
      You can contact me on my cell number.

      Prakash Dandekar

  5. vanessa rimbaris said

    2 years ago..u took time to explain to me the process..appreciate very very much!

  6. Rahul Pujari said

    Dear sir,

    I would like to purchase your vermicomposting Kit. Can you let me know the price and where i could purchase it. ALso i would like to purchase 1 kg of earthworms, Could you guide me as to where i can buy/get/find earthworms in mumbai. It would be a great help. I want the kit and the earthworms for making compost at home Thanks in advance

    • Dear Rahul,

      Thanks for your interest. We have designed an ATM goldbox to convert your daily household organic waste into valuable vermicompost. You can find the picture of ATM goldbox on the blog page. If you can visit us, we can demonstrate the process step by step.
      Dandekar Niwas 588-89/5,
      L J Cross Road No 1,
      Mahim Mumbai 400016.

      Prakash Dandekar
      Please call before coming

      • Rahul Pujari said

        Thank you for the information sir,

        I will get in touch next week or the week after for the demo.

  7. Honey said

    Dear Sir
    I would like to purchase your kit and earthworms.
    Pls let me know from where I can buy it.


    • Hello

      Thanks for your interest !

      We are located at :
      Dandekar Niwas 588-89/5,
      L J Cross Road No 1,
      Mahim Mumbai 400016.

      Contact Number :
      Please call before coming

      Prakash Dandekar

  8. Abhay A Mayekar said

    Hello Dandekar Sir, Firstly Congratulations and Good Wishes for taking steps towards Greener and Healthier Earth! I am a Businessman and a Passionate Farmer from Raigad. I am interested in making Vermicompost on My plot.Use it for My fields and also distribute it to fellow farmers of the area to make people aware of Organic Farming and its Importance for Healthy life. Do You supply Vermicompost Beds of bigger capacities? say 1-2 tonnes?.and what Species Worms do You provide?. If yes,can I get it at Your residence? waiting for Your reply.Thanx and Regards,
    Abhay A.Mayekar.

    • Dear Mr Abhay Mayekar

      Thanks for your interest ! Yes, we can surely help you. Please contact me on 9820784291 to discuss further.

      We are located at :
      Dandekar Niwas 588-89/5,
      L J Cross Road No 1,
      Mahim Mumbai 400016.

      Prakash Dandekar

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