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Make your own Compost

Updated: Apr 21

We discard lots food waste every year. This ends up in landfill, where it takes many years to completely degrade and, while they do break down, emit methane into the atmosphere.

We should look to our food consumption to reduce waste. Freeze your leftovers for another day. Plan meals and write a shopping list, o only buy what is needed. Then compost unavoidable food waste like vegetable cuttings.

The benefits of composting your garden and kitchen waste are two-fold. You’re reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill and providing a habitat for a range of minibeasts. The community of minibeasts who live among the waste help the decaying process, and in turn, these beasts are a delicious food source for hedgehogs and other animals.

How to get started

All you need for a successful compost heap is waste, air and water! A simple heap covered with old carpet or plastic is just as effective as a 'bin'. The only advantage of a container is they look tidier and can be easier to manage. Try to pick a shady spot to keep things moist, and water any dry ingredients you may be adding.

What to put in your compost:

  • Grass cuttings and dead leaves.

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps and peel.

  • Plain cardboard (not the glossy cereal box kind).

  • Old cut flowers and bedding plants.

  • Prunings and dead plants.

  • Coffee grounds.

  • Tea bags (check your teabags don't contain plastic first!).

  • Pet droppings from any healthy veg-eating pets, including gerbils, rabbits, hamsters and birds, along with any bedding made from natural material or newspaper.

  • Eggshells – these help to keep the heap from smelling.

  • Newspapers – shredded paper can help to soak up excess moisture in a heap.

Top tips for composting:

Ensure you have a good mix of items. If you have large amounts of compostable items to dispose of, such as hedge trimmings or bags of cut grass, it is worth using your garden waste bin (if you have one) or contacting your council to see if they have a municipal composting scheme. Composting works best if you add a fair quantity of material at a time, so it is best to save up your kitchen scraps and add them to the heap along with some pruning or old bedding plants.

It is important to mix the contents of the heap every now and again to aerate it – wait at least three months to turn the heap with a gardening fork.

Your compost is ready to use when it becomes dark and crumbly.

Do not compost:

Cooked food, coal and coke ash, meat and fish, bones, cat litter, dog poo, disposable nappies or human poo, glossy paper, weeds, woody stems, or diseased plants.

Remember! Be careful when you turn or fork your compost, especially in winter, as there may be animals hiding or hibernating in there – everything from smooth newts to hedgehogs!


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