March 2020: Spring is on its way – time to start composting
The clocks are going forward at the end of the month and every keen gardener’s thoughts turn to getting out and sorting out the garden, particularly after such a long and wet winter. And one of the best and cheapest ways to get good, organic compost for your garden is to make your own.
Not only does it reduce the number of trips you have to take to the Household Recycling Centres to take garden waste, it’s a great way of reducing food waste from your house as fruit/vegetable peelings, tea bags, egg shells can all go into a compost bin.
So, no more trips to the DIY store to buy mass produced compost (often containing peat), you’ll have your own, free compost within 9-12 months of setting up your bin.
There are many different styles of compost bin and depending on how much work you want to put in will dictate which is best for your garden.
Types of compost bins
The most popular is the “dalek” one, which is subsidised by Worcestershire County Council to encourage more people to take up home composting. Currently they cost £13.50 for the smallest one plus £5.99 delivery. To order your bin visit the Get Composting website (opens in a new window) or ring 0844 571 4444.
If you have a small garden or even no garden at all you could try a wormery. This uses Tiger Worms to eat the food waste and in return you get a liquid compost which is great on house plants. See the wormeries page for more information.
For people who are really keen on gardening and cutting down on all food waste, you can have a Food Waste Digester such as a Green Cone, Green Johanna or HotBin (see the wormeries page for all three).
How to make compost
To make the best compost you need to have a good mixture of what they call "greens" and "browns". For more information see the making and using compost page.
“Greens" are things like your vegetable peelings, grass cuttings, cut flowers and other garden waste.
"Browns" are used to give it your compost bulk, so it includes things like cardboard egg boxes, newspaper or shredded paper.
Other things you may not know you can put in a compost bin; your old till receipts; the contents of your vacuum bag; coffee grinds and tea bags; sawdust from your rabbit or hamster.
Just remember that you cannot put any cooked food or meat into your compost bin and it's best not to just put leaves and/or grass cuttings in too as this makes it slimy!
For more information visit our composting pages.
“Compostable” or “biodegradable” packaging – can I put it in a home composter?
There is some confusion about the difference between “compostable” and “biodegradable” items, particularly when shops like Aldi and Waitrose are giving out “compostable” bags or more magazines come in “compostable” wrappings.
“Biodegradable” means that it will eventually rot down in a landfill site.
“Compostable” means that it can be composted down, but depending on the logo on it, is where it can be composted as some can only be composted in industrial facilities such as In-Vessel Composting (IVC) or Anaerobic Digestion (AD).
To check out the differences and the logos used please check our compostable packaging page.
Every month Worcestershire County Council's Waste Prevention Project Manager Emma Stuart will share her ideas, thoughts and tips about everything to do with waste to help you reduce the amount you throw away.