Composting accelerates the natural process of biodegrading or rotting down organic waste material into a rich soil or compost. Its the only sustainable way to deal with our waste… we love it.
It sounds complex, and many treat it as some kind of arcane science, but basically you pile your biological waste into a compost bin, keep it warm and it rots down naturally into a rich soil or compost. I do it without much effort. If it took much effort I wouldn’t! With the right bins you can turn all your scraps into plant food, or, if you don’t need plant food, dispose of your waste ecologically.
Great Reasons to Compost
- You can use your compost bin for garden litter which saves on boring trips to the tip.
- You can dispose of your own kitchen waste which it gobbles up by the bucket load.
- You can keep biodegradable waste out of landfill. Why? Well, biodegradable waste does not do well in the unnatural conditions of landfill. It bubbles away producing methane which adds to the greenhouse effect.
- And so, composting reduces your carbon footprint by diverting biodegradable waste from landfill.
- It is a practical investment for the future. The Uk government is committed to reducing the amount of biodegradable waste in landfill by 50%, by the year 2020. As 30% of UK domestic waste is organic this will affect us all. Setting up a home composting system is just getting ahead of the game.
- Cuts our dependance on waste collection services by taking responsibility for our own waste.
- Cut bin liners. No need to wrap my mushy waste as it all goes straight in the compost bin. Read living without bin liners for more information.
How It Works
All natural (as oppose to synthetic) materials do eventually biodegrade or rot. Here’s how long it takes for some commonly used products to biodegrade, when they are scattered about as litter:
Paper ~ 2-5 months
Cotton rags ~ 1-5 month
Natural fiber rope ~ 3-14 months
Orange peel ~6 months
Wool socks ~1 to 5 years
Leather shoes ~25 to 40 years
Tin cans ~ 50 to 100 years
Composting speeds up that process and results in a lovely rich soil additive that can be spread on the garden to feed the plants and micro beasties.
It is also a way of managing your own waste. If every bit of trash was compostable you could get out of that destructive relationship with your landfill bin.
Useful composting information
Biodegradable –Biodegradable products break down through a naturally occurring microorganism, such as fungi or bacteria over a period of time. More about biodegrading here
Compostable – To be classed compostable, items must biodegrade within a certain amount of time, the resulting biomass must be free of toxins, able to sustain plant life and be used as an organic fertilizer or soil additive.
Composting Standards For a man-made product to be legally sold as compostable, it has to meet rigorous composting standards
How to Compost?
So you are now hot to rot but which bin to go with?
You can compost in a heap which is just as it sounds. You heap your compostables up and leave them to rot down. However composting works quicker when there is heat. To create heat you need to contain your heap. It needs enclosing.
Build a wooden bin…
These bins are not fully sealed. Animals (rats and mice) can get in so you need to be careful what you put on them. No meat dairy or cooked food. You can quickly and cheaply build a compost bin out of scrap wood or pallets. Or you can buy wooden frames ready made.
Plastic Ready Made Bins
The next option is to buy a ready made plastic bin.
Basic Bin I got my first bin from the council. It didn’t work for me.. rats invaded my bin and refused to leave. Other people manage though. Rats can get in these bins because they are not fully sealed.
Enclosed Systems I use an enclosed system called the Green Johanna to compost everything. Yes its plastic but you can compost meat, dairy, cooked food and NO RATS. Highly Reccomended!
Underground Systems If you just want to get rid of your waste rather than use the resulting compost, you could try an underground composting system. You put your rubbish in and the ground eats it. One such is the green cone that just eats your biodegradable rubbish. Underground bins can also be used to compost your pet poop .
Bokashi Bins are not strictly composting but pickling. Great to use in conjunction with worm bins.
Worm bins – a bin of worms that eat your rubbish.
Read all about these bins here……
Plastic and Composting
| Because they are man-made, the majority of plastics do not biodegrade.
However there are some plastics you can compost. Check out these compostable plastics
There are plenty of links in the posts links above to the suppliers
If you can’t do that then I have put together and Amazon catalogue. Yes I know..
If you buy a product via this link we do get an affiliation fee for this. This is not why we do it.