Top Tips for Successful Home Composting
What can I put in my compost bin?
The micro-organisms and creepy crawlies, which breakdown organic matter in your compost heap or composter, work best if given a blend of materials from each of the two lists below:
- Fruit waste
- Vegetable peelings
- Tea bags
- Coffee grounds
- Dead cut flowers
- Fresh plants
- Hedge clippings
- Herbivorous pet waste
- Small amounts of garden soil
- Shredded paper
- Egg boxes
- Cardboard packaging
- Used kitchen roll
- Pet animal groomed hair
- Hamster/gerbil bedding
- Chipped garden waste
- Shredded garden waste
- Vacuum cleaner dust
- Dead leaves
Always try and add reasonably small quantities of each material to your heap or composter at any one time to keep a good balance of wet and dry materials. This will enable the waste to be broken down more quickly.
If this is done there should be no need to stir the contents with a garden fork as natural organisms will do the mixing for you.
What can't I put in my compost bin?
- Cat litter/dog waste
- Plate scrapings
- Shiny card or coloured magazine print
- Objects that don’t rot
- Meat (cooked or raw)
- Disposable nappies
- Diseased plants
- Paper hankies
How long will the material take to breakdown?
This will depend on the time of year and the climate. During periods of warm weather a composter full of material may well keep up the degradation process whilst you are adding material to the top without becoming overfull. It is a good idea, if space permits to have more than one composter so you can leave one to breakdown whilst filling another one.
You will soon have a source of beneficial soil conditioner to use in your garden, removing the need to purchase peat-containing composts.
Small Gardens Can Still Compost
Even if you only have a small garden without the capacity to use soil conditioner but you make space for a home composter, you can use it just for waste from the kitchen and household as described in the lists above, without it filling up too quickly.
You will be freeing up space in your black bin for other non-recyclable rubbish and contributing significantly to the diversion of waste from landfill.
Why should I use a Home Composter when I have a Green Bin?
Home composting is the best way to deal with garden and suitable kitchen waste as it minimises carbon usage in the transport and processing of the Green Bin waste. Home compost first and use the green bin for things like surplus grass cuttings, perennial weeds and woody plant waste that cannot be composted at home.