Compost at home
Home Composting Saves Waste and Money..and gives you a FREE supply of compost to keep your garden BLOOMING year after year.
Home compost is easy to make and provides one of the best quality soil conditioners that you can put on your garden! It's a great way to make use of your garden and kitchen waste such as fruit and vegetable peelings.
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is pleased to be able to offer a compost bin to residents at a reduced price of £10.
Why Compost at Home?
Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden.
It's easy to make and to use. After nine to twelve months, you get a free fertiliser for your garden and plant pots to keep them looking beautiful.
Do your bit to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.
Even for households that are already composting, new research has found that almost half of the food waste in their rubbish bins could have been put in the compost bin.
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 3 months?
Composting is Easy: A step by step guide
- Find the right site - Ideally site your compost bin in a reasonably sunny site on bare soil. If you have to put your compost bin on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs ensure there's a layer of paper and twigs or existing compost on the bottom so the worms and other creatures can colonise. Choose a place where you can easily add ingredients to the bin and get the compost out.
- Add the right ingredients - Have a container available such as a kitchen caddy or old ice cream tub so that you can collect items for your compost bin from all over the house. Fill your kitchen caddy or container with everything from vegetable and fruit peelings to teabags, toilet roll tubes, cereal boxes and eggshells. Take care not to compost cooked food, meat or fish.
- Fill it up - Empty your kitchen caddy along with your garden waste into your compost bin. A 50/50 mix of greens and browns (see below) is the perfect recipe for good compost.
- Wait a while - It takes between nine and twelve months for your compost to become ready for use, so now all you need to do is wait and let nature do the work. Keep on adding greens and browns to top up your compost.
- Ready for use - 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.
- Removing 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.
- Use it - Don't worry if your compost looks a little lumpy with twigs and bits of eggshells - this is perfectly normal. Use it to enrich borders and vegetable patches, plant up patio containers or feed the lawn.
Making Good Compost
The key to good compost lies in getting the mix right. You need to keep your greens and browns properly balanced. If your compost is too wet and gives off an odour, add more browns. If it's too dry and is not rotting, add some greens. Air is essential to the composting process and by mixing material up, as you fill your bin, it will create air pockets and help keep your compost healthy.
Like any recipe, your compost relies on the right ingredients to make it work. Good things you can compost include vegetable peelings, fruit waste, teabags, plant prunings and grass cuttings. These are considered "greens." Greens are quick to rot and they provide important nitrogen and moisture. Other things you can compost include cardboard egg boxes, scrunched up paper and small twigs. These are considered "browns" and are slower to rot. They provide fibre and carbon and also allow important air pockets to form in the mixture. Crushed eggshells can be included to add useful minerals.
Put these in...
|Tea Bags||Crushed egg shells|
|Grass Cuttings||Egg and cereal boxes|
|Vegetable peelings, salad leaves and fruit scraps||Corrugated cardboard and paper (scrunched up)|
|Old flowers and nettles||Toilet and kitchen roll tubes|
|Coffee grounds and filter paper||Garden prunings|
|Spent bedding plants||Twigs and hedge clippings|
|Rhubarb leaves||Straw and hay|
|Young annual weeds (e.g. chickweed)||Bedding from vegetarian pets|
|Ashes from wood, paper and lumpwood charcoal|
|Sawdust and wood chippings|
|Cotton threads and string (made from natural fibre)|
|Vacuum bag contents|
|Old natural fibre clothes (cut into small pieces)|
|Tissues, paper towels and napkins|
|Shredded confidential documents|
|Corn cobs and stalks|
Keep These Out
Certain things should never be placed in your bin. Do not put in...
- Cooked vegetables, meat and dairy products (unless they have first been treated with a specialist Kitchen Composter)
- Diseased plants
- Dog poo or cat litter, or baby's nappies.
Putting these in your bin can encourage unwanted pests and can also create odour. Also avoid composting perennial weeds (such as dandelions and thistles) or weeds with seed heads. Remember that plastics, glass and metals are not suitable for composting and should be recycled separately.