Composting your organic kitchen and garden waste is probably the single most effective thing you can personally do to reduce the amount of rubbish you throw away. Up to 30% of what goes into an average dustbin can be composted down to make a useful soil improver.
What is composting?
Composting is a natural process, which breaks down organic waste to make a soil conditioner that is packed with nutrients. Much of our uncooked kitchen and garden rubbish can be composted.
Are there still compost bin offers available?
Yes. Visit our compost bin offers page for more details.
It's good for your garden - digging compost into your soil improves on its texture and nutritional quality, which in turn produces healthier plants
It's good for the environment - organic rubbish that is sent to landfill breaks down without air, which causes methane to be produced. Methane is a greenhouse gas twenty times more powerful than carbon dioxide. Also, making your own compost saves you from buying peat-based compost. Peat bogs are a natural habitat
It's good for your pocket - composting your kitchen and garden waste at home saves on car journeys and provides you with your own versatile, valuable free resource
Which composter should I use?
There are a host of different ways to compost so there's a method and a bin suitable for everyone. Bins can be home-made or bought and you could consider a wormery if you have a very small garden or no garden at all.
What can I compost?
You can compost:
|You can't compost:|
|Uncooked vegetable peelings and fruit||Cooked food|
|Rabbit and guinea pig bedding||Fish/meat scraps/bones|
|Torn, shredded or scrunched up paper and cardboard (e.g. egg boxes/toilet roll tubes)||Pernicious weeds (such as bindweed, thistle, dock roots) or weeds in seed|
|Coffee grounds and tea bags||Magazines|
|Grass cuttings and young or annual weeds||Cat/dog litter|
|Houseplants and flowers||Large unchopped woody branches|
|Finely chopped or shredded shrub prunings||Soot|
|Wood Ash||Coal ash|
Organic waste should be added in layers, some from the kitchen and some from the garden. This way the air pockets help speed up the process and by covering it up with a layer of old carpet or polythene, the warmth stays in too.
What to do with the compost?
Compost can be placed on vegetable gardens and flower beds or placed around trees. It makes excellent mulch to discourage weeds and keeps moisture in the soil. Light soil is improved by the addition of compost and heavy clay soil is made lighter and easier to work by digging in compost. Sieved compost is ideal for potting, window boxes and hanging boxes.
Building a compost bin
How to make a moveable wooden compost box consisting of identical interlocking sections which are stacked on top of each other.
Wormeries - and how to build your own
Wormeries are enclosed bins which use special types of worm to help break down organic matter. They are available for sale but you can also make your own.
Special home composting offers for 2013/14
A wide range of compost bins, kitchen caddies and water butts are now available as part of a nationally procured contract with suppliers Straight plc.