Eliminate 50% of your Landfill Waste: Composting Garden and Kitchen Waste

Beehive Composter
Beehive Composter

Embarking on a composting scheme in your own home is relatively easy to do and has great rewards if you continue to dispose of your kitchen and garden waste in the same way.  You’d be surprised at the amount of products from your kitchen that you can place into a small composting bin and then add to your garden compost, eventually using the compost in your own garden or giving it to neighbours. It’s a very self sufficient and rewarding scheme – it’s estimated that 50% of your waste currently going to landfill could be composted.

Getting Started

Firstly you’re going to need a composter in order to collect the waste that will be transformed into compost. For your garden there are several options when it comes to picking a bin. It’s advised to check with your local council first, to see if they provide reduced rates on compost bins or even give them away for free. If not, buy a composter ready made here at Jack’s Garden Store. Constructing one from scratch is relatively easy; the basic structure is a box which can be created from erected pallets or pieces of wood. Feel free to lay a piece of old carpet on top to keep it warm and therefore speed up the composting process.
A small enclosed bin will suffice for your kitchen, layered with newspaper to make emptying it easier and far less messy. Ensuring it is an enclosed bin will prevent fruit flies from loitering around it and laying their eggs in the waste.

Simple Rules to Follow

Once you have acquired your compost bin you should ensure that you understand the following rules on disposing of waste. This will guarantee that your compost isn’t too smelly, slimy and speed up the entire process.

  • Preferably you should start your garden compost heap in spring and make certain that you’re using the best mix of materials in roughly even quantities. This means an equal amount of nitrogen rich material which is generally soft and green and carbon-rich materials that are dry and brown. Do not let either material dominate the heap as the decomposition will be slowed to an extremely slow pace!
  • Initially you should place material that is of a woody nature at the bottom so that the air circulation can be increased, then add material in 30cm layers. Shred larger items to speed up their decomposition and if you notice the pile is very dry, spray it with water to moisten it but do not soak it.
  • Once the bin is full it will start to heat up on its own as it begins to decompose. Once it has started to cool down after a couple of weeks you can aid the process by “turning” it and with warm conditions it will be ready in a couple of months.

What can I add to the Compost Bin?

Egg Shells - Great for Compost
Egg Shells - Great for Compost - Photo by busbeytheelder

Waste can be separated into two groups; nutritious components and fibrous components.

Nutritious Components:

  • Vegetable peelings
  • Raw and cooked food (excluding meats and bones)
  • Crushed egg shells
  • Coffee and teabags
  • Hair and nail clippings
  • Vacuum cleaner dust
  • Grass Cuttings
  • Annual plant and weed remains before they have set seed

Fibrous Components:

  •  Crumpled up non-recyclable paper
  • Egg boxes
  • Torn up cereal boxes
  • Kitchen paper
  • Toilet Roll Spindles
  • Paper bags and wrapping paper
  • Tissues
  • Straw

What you Should Avoid

  • Any paper that should be recycled such as newspapers, letters and printer paper.
  • Drinks cartons and other plastic food packaging.
  • Too much garden waste can slow down decomposition – add in small amounts or create a separate heap.
  • No meat as this can attract vermin and smell. 

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