Composting is a great way to recycle your garden and kitchen waste at home, especially if you don't have a green waste and organics collection service.
Composting is easy to do, all you need is a space in the back-yard to create a pile or place a specially made compost bin. Composting at home and removing the items used for composting from the general waste bin and recycling them at home instead will save valuable landfill space and reduce green house gas emissions.
|What can you Compost?||What NOT to add to your Compost|
|Kitchen scraps||Diseased plants|
|Egg shells||Metals, plastic and glass|
|Human and animal hair||Fat|
|Used vegetable oil||Magazines|
|Vacuum cleaner dust||Large branches|
|Old potting mix||Bread or cakes|
|Leaves - green and dry||Weeds taht are seeding|
|Tea leaves and tea bags||Bones|
|Coffee grounds||Sawdust from treated timber|
|Garden waste||Avoid adding meat and dairy products until you have mastered composting|
|Grass cuttings - as layers|
|Wood ash and sawdust from untreated timbers|
There are 4 key steps to starting your composting:
- Pick a site with good drainage and shade from the summer sun
- Have a variety of compost ingredients ready for adding (listed above)
- Start layering - a good compost relies on good layering
- Maintaining the compost
Start off your compost with a layer of dry course material, such as dry leaves, straw, garden clippings, and torn up newspaper. This first layer needs to be about 15cm thick and will provide good drainage. Following this layer it is a simple as A, B, C.
- Add a thin layer of kitchen scraps and green garden waste
- Cover with a layer of brown/dry garden waste. Make sure all the kitchen scraps are covered
- Add water to moisten the heap, but do not make it wet.
To create good compost and reduce odours, turn the compost weekly to allow the air in.
Cover food scraps with a thin layer of soil or lawn clippings/garden waste.
Lay a piece of chicken wire on the bottom before starting to stop mice and rats from moving in.
Add a layer of finished compost to your first layer to speed up the introduction of the right bugs into your compost heap.
If you are using a heap instead of a bin, covering the whole pile with hessian will prevent the compost from drying out.
For further information see:
The Easy Compost Guide (PDF - 1081.12KB)