Beginners Guide To Home Composting

Composting your kitchen and garden waste is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you dispose of in your rubbish bin. By composting your waste you can generate a free source of rich compost to help improve your garden, and also help to reduce global warming in the process.

How does home composting help to reduce global warming?

When sent to landfill organic waste is compressed under tonnes and tonnes of other waste types. The organic waste therefore does not have enough access to air, which restricts the waste from being able to decompose properly. Instead of decomposing, methane gas is produced which contributes to global warming.

The Compost Bin

The first step to start composting at home is to get a compost bin. You can either purchase a compost bin or you can make your own. Compost bins can be bought from the majority of garden centres. The government funded Recycle Now Home Composting Campaign also sells discounted compost bins.

The next important step is to decide where to position the compost bin, which can affect the overall quality of the compost that is produced. For best results place the bin in a well drained area which has good access to sunlight. The drainage will enable excess water to drain out of the compost and placing the bin in a sunny spot helps to speed up the composting process.

What waste items can I put in my compost bin?

There are lots of everyday waste items from your garden and kitchen that can go into your compost bin. These are broken down into ?Greens? and ?Browns?. Greens are the type of items that provide moisture and nitrogen and are quick to rot. Items classed as Greens includes:

Grass cuttings

Vegetable peelings

Leaves

Fruit

Tea bags

Weeds

Browns are waste items that take longer to rot but provide pockets of air, along with fibre and carbon. This includes items such as:

Cardboard boxes

Newspapers (scrunched up)

Toilet roll tubes

Egg shells (crushed)

Shredded paper

Twigs and hedge clippings

How do I make a good quality compost?

To make a good quality compost it is important to use a good mix of both ‘green’ and ‘brown’ wastes. It is simply a case of monitoring the compost and adding more waste depending on the look of the compost. For example, if it looks too dry add more ?green? waste, and if it looks too wet add more ?brown? waste. Every so often it is also a good idea to mix or turn the contents of your compost bin to add air.

How long will it take for my compost to be ready to use?

This will vary depending on the mixture of waste that is placed into the compost bin, the surrounding conditions and the weather. In general it should take between 6 and 9 months for your finished compost to be ready to use.

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