Home composting

Ross More

November 1, 2022

Reducing waste and generating ‘black gold’ for your garden!

Many local councils offer garden and/or food waste collections which prevent organic materials going to landfill and releasing methane, which contributes to climate change. However, much of the organic matter generated in your home can be composted, providing free fertiliser for your plants or garden.

What home composters are available?

Closed compost bins tend to be the most popular type, commonly ‘dalek’ shaped bins of a few hundred litres, made from recycled plastics. However, if space is an issue or you do not want to have to turn compost then smaller tumbler style bins are available. There are many handy guides online which offer tips on how to create DIY compost bins, such as from old wood pallets.

It is worth checking if your local council offer subsidised compost bins, which can bring quite a cost saving.

How to start home composting

Where to place your compost bin will depend on the type you choose and most come with a guide of where to site it and how to use it but consider the position and if you can easily add to it and empty it once compost is ready.

It is preferable to have the composter on bare earth to better encourage worms, but if that is not possible then use layers of straw, twigs, paper with some existing compost to start with.

What can you compost?

  • Dry leaves
  • Vegetable, fruit scraps and eggshells
  • Grass cuttings
  • Plant clippings
  • Weeds (before they go to seed)
  • Shredded paper
  • Cardboard (non glossy)
  • Hair
  • Coffee grounds
  • Sawdust (untreated wood only)

Things that should not be added to your home compost include meat and fish scraps, dairy, charcoal, cat and dog waste. Bind weed is also not recommended to be composted. When adding material, it should be layered with ¼ to half green material and the remainder being woody browns, such as paper, leaves, cardboard, straw, and dead leaves.

Maintaining and harvesting your home compost

Keep the compost moist, adding water if needed. Turning the compost speeds up the process by allowing air to circulate.

Your compost should not smell or attract flies. If it does, then it indicates the blend of material may not be correct. It is worth stockpiling some material like cardboard/shredded paper to allow you to be able to add a good mix each time.

Compost can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years to mature depending on factors such as the correct blend of materials being added and the frequency it is turned.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this blog represent those of the author, Ross More, and are not those of recycle-more, Valpak Limited or any other organisation.