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Composting at home

  • Introduction

    Composting is great for the environment and an easy way to transform your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. We’re encouraging you to compost your kitchen and garden waste at home. You can order a home composting bin online, or call us on 0800 032 8100. A home composting bin costs £10.

  • How to compost

    1. Place your composting bin in a reasonably sunny spot on bare soil. If you have to put your compost bin on concrete, tarmac or slabs, put a layer of paper and twigs or existing compost on the bottom.
    2. You can also make a compost heap in a corner of the garden if you don’t have a suitable container. It could take a bit longer, but will still work.
    3. A 50/50 mix of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’ is the perfect recipe for good compost. ‘Greens’ rot down quickly, provide nitrogen and moisture and include fruit and vegetable scraps, weeds, cut flowers and grass. Browns take longer to rot. They provide carbon, help with air flow and include twigs, dead leaves, cardboard and shredded paper.
    4. Use a kitchen caddy or plastic tub to collect your food waste. Do not compost cooked food, fats, meat or fish. (These can go in your council food waste collection).
    5. Empty the food waste into your composting bin or onto your compost heap along with waste from the garden.
    6. It can take between nine and twelve months for nature do its work. Mixing the heap will speed things up, but it is not essential.
    7. Check the progress every now and again. If the heap appears very dry, add some water and increase the amount of ‘greens’ you are adding. If it is very wet, mix in some ‘browns’.
    8. Your compost is ready when it is crumbly, dark and resembles thick, moist soil. If there are lumps of material that have not broken down, put them back into the composter again. Use your nutrient-rich free fertiliser to feed the plants and flowers in your garden. They will love it!

    For more information, including a full list of ‘greens’ and ‘browns’, more details on setting up a compost bin and frequently asked questions, visit the recyclenow website (link opens in new window) or email wasteeducation@belfastcity.gov.uk

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