Reasons why you should compost

Enriches soil: using compost on your soil helps it to retain more nutrients and moisture. It also will reduce the need for watering.

Reduces waste: the disposal of biodegradable material is minimised, saving on landfill and reducing methane emissions. This will reduce your carbon footprint.

Saves money: not only is compost a free natural fertiliser; less household waste means your refuse bills will be reduced.

Less chemicals: using organic compost as an alternative to synthetic fertilisers means your soil will receive the nutrients it needs, with fewer chemicals, and it’s cheaper.

What can be composted?

Green waste: fruit, vegetables, tea leaves, coffee grounds, garden waste, leaves, dead plants, dead flowers, grass and hedge cuttings.

Brown waste: kitchen paper, newspaper, woods, twigs, branches, crushed egg shells, cardboard egg cartons and straw.

Avoid: meat, poultry fish, bones, dairy produce, fats, oils, plastics, cans, glass, glossy paper and diseased plants.

Note: Only some tea bags are biodegradable. Plastic fibres are often woven through the paper to help them maintain their shape when boiling water is added.

As a result they leave behind a fine grey web of micro-plastics in the soil when composted. Purchasing biodegradable teabags means they can be broken down by a biological process.

How to get started

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  • 1 While compost containers are available in garden centres and hardware shops, you can also make your own from scratch using wood pallets or scrap wood.
  • 2 Position your bin in a shaded area of the garden free from extreme temperature or moisture (micro-organisms work better in constant conditions).
  • 3 When the bottom of the container is in contact with the soil, it allows drainage and speeds the process along as it is it easier for microbes and worms to access the compost.
  • 4 To create a good airflow, place a layer of woody garden refuse at the bottom of your bin.
  • 5 Use equal amounts of green and brown materials on top of this bottom layer. Green materials are rich in nitrogen, while brown materials are rich in carbon. A combination of the two is ideal for effective composting.
  • 6 Breaking up materials such as egg shells will improve the rate of composting.
  • 7 Ensure that you turn your compost regularly using a fork or shovel, as this will allow air to get in, preventing the compost from becoming anaerobic.
  • 8 Your compost should be damp but not soaked. Using a lid can help manage the amount of water that gets into your bin.
  • 9 Compost can take anywhere from six months to two years to mature fully. The ready-to-use compost will be a dark brown colour, with a crumbly soil texture.