Want to reduce the amount of waste your household is producing?
One low-cost way is to divert food waste from landfills and return its nutrients and carbon back to the soil through composting.
"Home composting is a great method of reducing your family's waste. Even if you only have a small garden or balcony, there are lots of ways you can go about composting, Emilie Porterfield, Co-owner, Pop-Up Gardens says.
"Choosing the right compost method for your home is important."
How to choose the right compost for your home
A large bin (or even an open compost pile) are a great way to produce large quantities of rich and fertile compost.
A compost tumbler is a fantastic option. This is a barrel on a stand, which can literally be spun (or 'tumbled') using a handle, which ensures the compost is mixed evenly, allowing it to break down faster.
Even if you have no outdoor space at all, there are great indoor options these days! You can get a bokashi bin, which is designed specifically for indoor use - it uses beneficial bacteria to ferment kitchen waste in 2 - 4 weeks. It is recommended that you have 2 bins so that you can rotate them - filling one up with new scraps, whilst leaving the full one to ferment. Bokashi bins produce a potent liquid compost which is great for your home-grown veggies.
Tips to ensure your garden compost works effectively
It's a great idea to have a small compost bin or "caddy" in your kitchen, for easy disposal, which can then be emptied regularly into a bigger bin outside. Ensure your caddy has air circulation to avoid rot and reduce smells. Cover the air holes with gauze or netting to avoid flies getting into it.
In your main compost bin, make sure you use a good mixture of green waste and brown waste (ideally 50/50). Green waste is "wet" waste, which includes vegetable and fruit scraps, grass and plant clippings, coffee grounds & paper filters, tea leaves etc. Brown waste is "dry" waste, which includes dry leaves, wood chips and sawdust, shredded paper and cardboard, eggshells, nut shells, hair and animal fur etc.
Avoid adding meat products (off-cuts, fat, bones etc) greasy or oily foods, dairy products, pet waste, or any items which are not fully biodegradable such as face/surface wipes, teabags (which usually contain plastic), and any "degradable" plastics (because these do not break down fully, they only break into smaller pieces of plastic).
Make sure your compost gets plenty of air - this is required to create the aerobic reaction, which causes the materials to break down into compost. If you're creating your own compost bin, ensure you drill air holes. Stick gauze over the holes.
When adding lots of green waste to your bin (such a veggie scraps), it's always a good idea to add a thin layer of brown waste over the top. This will reduce flies and will prevent smells escaping.
It's a great idea to mix or turn the materials regularly whilst they're breaking down. This will help the compost to break down quicker, and will ensure a good distribution of green and brown matter throughout the mix.
Your compost should be moist but not wet. If it's too wet, add some sawdust or other dry materials. If it looks too dry, add a bit of water and mix it up.
May 6th to 12th marks the 13th International Compost Awareness Week.