Home composting

Compost is a great way to enrich soil in your garden or allotment to help you grow flowers, vegetables, herbs and potted plants. Home composting is easy and can be done all year round.

Home composting is an environmentally-friendly way of recycling food and garden waste to make free compost for your garden. Home composting can also reduce your carbon footprint as it does not involve heavy transport to collect any waste. Home composting can help to protect other council services as it reduces the cost of waste disposal to the council.

What to compost

For composting to work, you will need a 50/50 mix of green and brown items. Greens are nitrogen rich ingredients which add moisture for rotting, whilst browns are carbon rich ingredients which help create air pockets.

Greens items include:

  • Vegetable peelings
  • Salad leaves
  • Grass cuttings
  • Old flowers and dead plants (disease free)
  • Tea leaves and tea bags
  • Citrus peel
  • Coffee ground and filter paper
  • Cut flowers
  • Fruit peelings and pulp
  • Hay
  • Hedge clippings
  • Soft prunings and plant debris

Brown items include:

  • Dried leaves and twigs
  • Egg shells and egg boxes
  • Straw
  • Wood chippings
  • Wood ash
  • Shredding paper and small pieces of carboard
  • Paper bags
  • Cotton wool

Avoid items such as:

  • Meat and fish scraps
  • Cooked food
  • Bones
  • Bread
  • Dairy products such as milk, butter and cream
  • Oil
  • Pet waste
  • Nappies
  • Coal ash
  • Cigarette ends

Use our handy recycling guide to help you dispose of these items correctly.

How to compost

The best place to position your compost bin is on a patch of bare soil, in the sunlight or in partial shade. It may also be a good idea to place your compost bin somewhere accessible for you to easily reach.

Begin to add your compostable items to your compost bin. Remember the best composting mixture is a 50/50 mix of green and brown ingredients. You can use the list above to help you compost the right items.

Turn your compost heap with a garden fork roughly once a month to add air. Air is required to aid the breakdown of natural waste. Keep adding your compostable ingredients throughout the year.

It will take between six and 12 months for your waste to rot down into compost. Compost is ready to use when it has a dark brown, crumbly soil-like texture. Don’t worry if you find some whole pieces still left like twigs, cardboard and egg shells. Simply sift out these ingredients and use them in your next compost batch.

For further hints and tips on home composting you can visit sites like RHS and Gardeners World.

Buy a compost bin

Residents can buy a compost bin from Get Composting.