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Woman putting leaves in a compost heap in a garden

How to Recycle

How to set up home composting

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Composting is a low-cost, natural process that transforms your food and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use.

Why compost?

To reduce your impact on the environment

There are lots of good reasons to compost. It saves money, saves resources, can help improve your soil, and can reduce your impact on the environment.

To enrich your soil and feed your plants

Your compost is a nutrient-rich food product for your garden and will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your soil's pH balance in check while helping to suppress plant disease.

It’ll have everything your plants need including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and will help buffer soils that are very acidic or alkaline.

Compost improves the condition of the soil and your plants and flowers will love it!

How to start composting

  1. 1

    You can purchase compost bins from garden centres, DIY shops and online retailers or you can take a container such as an old dustbin or plastic box and punch small holes in the lid and sides to allow oxygen in;

  2. 2

    Alternatively, you can create a heap of compost without a container;

  3. 3

    Find the right site – ideally place your bin or heap in a reasonably sunny place on bare soil. Choose somewhere you can easily add ingredients to it and get the compost out;

  4. 4

    Gather the right ingredients – save everything from vegetable and fruit peelings to teabags, toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes and eggshells to go in your compost bin. Never compost cooked food, meat or fish;

  5. 5

    Fill it up – place these items along with your garden waste into your compost bin. A 50/50 mix of greens and browns is the perfect recipe for good compost;

  6. 6

    Wait a while – it takes between nine to 12 months for your compost to become ready to use. Keep on adding greens and browns to top up your compost;

  7. 7

    Check if it’s ready – once your compost has turned into a crumbly, dark material, resembling thick, moist soil and gives off an earthy, fresh aroma, you know it's ready to use;

  8. 8

    Remove the compost – lift the bin slightly or open the hatch at the bottom and scoop out the fresh compost with a garden fork, spade or trowel. If you have a compost heap, you can easily access your compost ready for spreading;

  9. 9

    Get spreading – don't worry if your compost looks a little lumpy with twigs and bits of eggshell, this is perfectly normal;

  10. 10

    Use it to enrich borders and vegetable patches, plant up patio containers or feed the lawn.

Good to know

Did you know, composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in three months?

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