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Why Compost?

Why Compost?

A couple of days ago I attended a composting workshop put together by my local council and Garden Organic. The aim of this session was two fold, firstly the council is currently working on a project with Anglian Water where they are trying to educate communities as to ‘what should go down the drain’ and secondly to be help reduce the amount of waste that is going into landfill.

I was up until about a year ago one of the ignorant who assumed that my food waste would break down if it went into landfill, it does break down but it breaks down anaerobically without proper exposure to air and thus produces methane and adds to greenhouse gasses. For food waste to break down properly, it needs exposure to air. I didn’t really think I needed to compost if I didn’t plant vegetables in the garden and I didn’t really think about any of my food wastage.

Then I woke up and realised that I had a lot of work to do in terms of ‘food waste’ – firstly, I am from a family that throws things away once it’s past it’s use-by date. We’re slaves to the label. There’s two massive problems here… we’re not actually looking at the product inside the packaging to see if it’s okay but not just that we’re not planning our meals properly and we’re not using our food properly.

I think it’s a simple fix personally, plan my meals and only buy what I need. Buy locally so that I don’t need to worry about the packaging and I can support local businesses. By planning my meals, I’ll know what I need and therefore avoid wastage.

But then what do I do with my peelings? Well there are a few options:

Food Digester Cones: This is an innovative way to recycle food and garden waste while providing nutrients for your flowerbeds and vegetable patches. Simply place it in a sunny spot, for example in a flowerbed or vegetable patch, and let it go to work. It combines a basket which you need to dig into the ground and then a cone that goes over the top. Fill the cone with organic food waste. The innovative system then recycles the waste and pumps it back into the soil – so there’s absolutely no turning, moving or spreading.

Food Digester Cone

Standard Style Compost Bins – this is a standard style compost bin, you fill it with raw organic food waste (no cooked food), garden waste and then using a ratio of 50:50 of organic waste, garden waste and ‘brown waste’ (paper, newspapers, magazines, cardboard). By using this method, you’ll end up with a good quality compost within about 8-9 months. You can get dark or green dalek style compost bin… the darker ones are great because they get warmer and create the perfect environment for composting. You’ve also got the wooden, beehive style ones as well. What’s important to remember that adding cooked food waste will encourage rodents.

There are loads of styles of compost bins and they are perfect for composting food waste, paper and other items that you might put into your recycling bin.

If you get the compost ratio right, don’t introduce cooked food and stir your compost 1-2 times per month, then you’re going to get a good quality compost that does not smell. Don’t freak out if you see worms or bugs in there, you want them in there!

So what can you compost?

Grass clippings
Tree leaves
Vegetable food scraps (coffee grounds, lettuce, potato peels, banana peels, avocado skins, etc.)
Black and white newspaper
Printer paper
Most disease free yard waste
Vegetarian animal manure (e.g. cows, horses, rabbits, hamsters, etc.)
Wood shavings or sawdust

Read more at Gardening Know How: What Can You Compost And What Not To Put In Garden Compost

We’re investing in a food digester cone rather than a compost bin at the moment based on the area that we have as that’s the best option for us, think about your needs and what you want to achieve and pick the right option for you!