Any gardener knows that composting is the best possible way of handling kitchen waste and dead foliage like grass or hedge cuttings, but that recourse is not available only to gardeners. Every year in the UK hundred of tonnes of recyclable waste gets tossed into rubbish bins and ultimately winds up in landfills, adding untold costs for rubbish disposal and further clogging those already overused spaces.
Almost any householder can make compost out of at least 20% of all the rubbish that’s thrown out. Composting is easy to do, costs almost nothing and offers countless returns, both environmental and financial. All you need is a designated area in a corner of yard or garden, as far as possible from walls or windows and enclosed with fencing or one of many options in manufactured bins. The bottom should be right on the soil, so there is access for worms that speed the composting process.
There is a wealth of information on the subject, but some basic knowledge is important, namely what you should and should not put in the compost pile. The list of do-not-compost materials includes meat and dairy products, cooked foods, dog and cat feces and any garden or other waste that has been treated with weed-killer. If in doubt, check with your local organic recycling organisation.
What you can and should recycle to compost includes fruits and vegetables, eggshells, tea bags, coffee grounds, cereals and of course any detritus from plantings, such as trimmings from house plants, dead leaves, grass and hedge clippings, weeds etc. Shredded paper and cardboard can also be composted, as most of them are made of biodegradable materials.
If you frequently turn and shift your compost pile with a stick or gardening fork you increase air circulation and speed the composting process. If the enclosure is adequate you won’t have a problem with scavengers or flying insects. The best part for gardeners is the rich, nutritious mulch that results from this simple operation. Spread on or tilled into the soil, compost is the best (and cheapest) fertiliser you can find.