Guide Recycle

Show all parts of this guide

5. Home composting

Compost adds nutrients to the soil in your garden and also helps prevent soil erosion and retains water capacity. This helps better root development in plants and trees and a happier, healthier garden.

Reduce your waste:

Did you know that approximately 25-30 per cent of our black bin is food waste? As well as cutting back on the food we throw away, we can divert our waste by putting any uncooked food scraps such as fruit and vegetable peelings in a home composter.

Reduce your carbon footprint:

When organic matter such as garden and food waste reach a landfill site it releases gases that contribute to climate change. Through home composting we can all play our part in creating a greener future.

Where do I put my composter?

Ideally you should put it onto a soil base so that the insects and microbes can transfer between both, as well as air and moisture. A good mix of worms is a healthy sign in a composter. If a soil base is not possible it can be placed onto a concrete base - ideally you would add a thin layer of soil to get it started. Try and position it so that it gets some shade in the summer months as this will prevent it drying out.

What can I put into the composter?

You need a combination of ‘browns’ and ‘greens’. ‘Browns’ are bits of cardboard, scrunched up paper, dried leaves and wood prunings. ‘Greens’ are uncooked fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste (grass cuttings, green leaves and soft prunings) as well as tea and coffee grounds.

What can't I put in my composter?

Cooked food, fish and meat bones, perennial weeds, diseased plants and cat or dog faeces.

Then what do I do?

Add a mixture of the above greens and browns into your composter. When adding more waste, check the contents and mix occasionally. If the mixture is too dry, add some 'greens' and if it's too wet, add some more 'browns'.

How long will it take?

You should have a compostable mixture at the bottom of your bin after 6-12 months.

Do I have to buy a composter?

No, you can make a composter out of any material - a few old pallets are very good for making a composter - and ideally you need to be able to keep the rain out. You can also create compost by simply piling material together at the bottom of your garden. It will break down eventually.