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How to Compost

Follow our handy step by step guide below, as well as information about getting the right mix, and some insightful video tutorials by composting guru Nicky Scott.

Why Compost?

Home composting is one of the most effective actions you can take to reduce methane (a highly potent greenhouse gas) and help the planet. You will reduce your waste, reduce the air pollution by not having bonfires and reduce the need to water your garden. You will also increase your plant growth, and their health, by replacing polluting and toxic chemical fertilisers and pesticides.

To get started, have a look at our handy step by step guide featured below.

Guide to Composting

Step One - Choose a location for your bin or heap

A compost bin, or heap, is best sited on soil but can work on concrete. It is imperative to add the right mixture of materials and light sprinklings of healthy soil (or manure), which introduce the micro-organisms required to get the composting process going. Placing the bin in a sunny location will speed up the process, but it will also work in the shade. Place your bin (or heap) anywhere that's convenient, but not too close to your house.

Step Two - Start adding your materials

Anything that has recently lived can be composted, but care needs to be taken with certain materials, including meat and fish. The most common materials composted are: fruit and vegetable trimmings, grass cuttings and garden waste. In addition to these, you can compost paper and cardboard.

Step Three - Fill up your bin and Let time work its magic

Once your kitchen caddy/container is full, empty this into your bin. Try to get a 50/50 mix of greens and browns, as this creates the best compost. Here is a handy table which has examples of both green and brown materials.

It takes between 9 and 12 months for the composting process to be complete, so just be patient and keep adding your greens and browns to the top of the bin.

Step Four - It's ready to use!

After 9 to 12 months your compost should be ready. It will have turned into a crumbly, dark material, resembling thick, moist soil, which gives off an earthy, fresh aroma. Lift the compost bin slightly, or open the hatch, and fork out the nice earthy mixture.

Your compost is ideal for garden beds, veg patches, hanging baskets and as a soil improver.

Getting the right mix

To have a succesful compost heap, you need to ensure you get the right mix of both brown/dry material (cardboard, leaves, egg shells) and green/wet material (garden trimmings, peelings and pulps). It's important that this balance is kept to prevent your heap from becoming to wet or too dry.

Have a look at this handy table below to give you and idea of examples of brown and green items that can go into your composter.

For more information about composting including troubleshooting, have a look here for some video tutorials presented by composting guru Nicky Scott

Wormeries

A Wormery is a highly effective food digester that converts ordinary kitchen food waste (and other organic matter) into useful liquid feed and rich organic compost, all through the natural action of the tiger worms that live inside. Although a small amount of garden waste, such as leaves and grass can be added to a wormery, it is best to use a standard compost bin if you have large amounts. Woody or thick fibrous material is best avoided altogether.

If you want a simple way to compost your cooked and uncooked kitchen waste (you can even compost scrunched up kitchen roll and toilet roll tubes!) then a wormery is for you. There are even wormeries designed to help you compost your pet poo. For more information about wormeries visit the wormeries page.

Garden/Food Waste Collections

Some councils collect garden and or food waste from your home. Use the menu below to select your local area to find out if your council offers this service.