How to home compost

Children Composting

Follow these five easy steps to get the most out of your compost bin!

Step 1 - Placing your bin

It is best to site the bin on a level, well drained site. Placing your bin in a sunny spot will help it work faster, but it may be more important to place it in a convenient spot so that it is easy to use.

Step 2 - What to put in

Composting relies on the right ingredients to make it work. You need a 50:50 combination of GREENS (fruit and vegetable peelings, plant prunings and grass cuttings) which are quick to rot and provide a source of nitrogen and BROWNS (cardboard, e.g. egg boxes and toilet rolls inner tubes, scrunched up paper, sawdust and woody prunings) which rot slowly and allow air pockets to form in the mixture.

Follow these rules and it is very difficult to go wrong!

Step 3 - What not to put in

Certain things should not be placed in your compost bin.

Cooked food, meat, fish, dog and cat faeces and nappies should not be added to your compost bin as they can encourage unwanted pests and odours.  

Also avoid composting perennial weeds (such as dandelions and thistles) or weeds with seed heads. Plastics, glass and metals are not suitable for composting and should be recycled separately where possible.

Step 4 - Do as little or as much as you like!

Some people fill their bin and then leave it to compost by itself, which is fine as long as the balance of greens and browns is right in the first place to allow food, air and moisture to be present in your bin.

If you want the composting process to work faster, then you could encourage more air to enter your bin. The easiest way to do this is to poke holes through your compost with the handle of a broom.  

Step 5 - Using your compost

Finished compost is a dark brown, soil-like layer that you will find at the bottom of your bin after about 9-12 months. It has a spongy texture and is high in nutrients.

For more information and ideas on what to do with your finished compost, visit the What to? section of the website.