Let’s talk about how to compost today.
Did you know that we Brits we throw an estimated 7.2 million tonnes of food and drink in the bin each year? A staggering amount, I’m sure you’ll agree!
While undoubtedly the best way to reduce food waste is to plan your food shopping carefully and freezing leftovers , composting also has a vital role in reducing the amount of food sent to landfill. Composting kitchen waste isn’t hard to do and, contrary to popular opinion, isn’t a smelly job if done correctly. So I thought I’d show you how to compost at home, odour free!
1. What You’ll Need in the Kitchen to Compost
First of all, you need a lidded kitchen caddy to hold your kitchen waste, like one of these (affiliate link). If like me you have a tiny kitchen then you can even get one that hooks on to the wall or inside a cupboard. You may also want some biodegradable bags to line your caddy. I personally prefer to use the bags as it means you don’t have to wash your caddy every time you empty it – anything to avoid extra chores!
2. What You’ll Need in The Garden to Compost
Now you’ve got your kitchen set up, it’s time to think about your garden. A garden composter is invaluable. You can make your own, like the one pictured above, but we just have one of the black plastic ones, which we find is good for trapping heat and helping our food waste break down quickly. The best place to site it is in a sunny spot on bare soil. If you don’t have any bare soil and are placing your composter on slabs or tarmac then make sure you place a layer of paper and twigs at the bottom before you start emptying your compost in the composter. This help creatures such as worms, essential for composting, to help colonise your composter.
3. How to Compost
Now you’re all set up you can start composting your kitchen waste. You can compost all sorts of kitchen scraps and waste – from fruit and vegetable peelings, fruit and vegetable scraps, salad leaves, tea bags, coffee grounds and filter papers, egg shells and more.
You don’t have to empty the caddy every day – just when it gets full. In our household (of three) we find we empty our caddy into the composter every two to three days, and our kitchen is odour free. If you live by yourself you may want to empty it before it gets full as you will likely be generating less waste.
Conveniently, you can add your garden waste too – add any flowers, spent plants from your garden, nettles, rhubarb leaves and grass cuttings to your composter. It’s also a very good idea to add cardboard, egg boxes, scrunched up paper/newspaper, fallen leaves, twigs, etc. These are slower to rot, add carbon (essential for providing energy for the worms and other creatures in your composter) and create air pockets. These pockets provide vital oxygen to your compost, and help stop your composter from smelling. It’s particularly important to do this if you’ve added grass cuttings to help promote the flow of oxygen.
There are a few composting no no’s: meat, fish, cooked vegetables, dairy products, weeds with seed heads, dog and cat poo, and nappies (even the biodegradable ones).
In your composter your kitchen and garden waste can take anywhere between 3 and 12 months to produce garden-ready compost. Your compost will be fantastically nutrient rich and great in borders, vegetable and flower beds, for potting plants in, and for feeding shrubs and trees. Your compost may have twiggy bits in it – you can sieve these out if you are particularly pernickity about your compost!
How you’ve found this guide on how to compost useful! If you have any other questions on how to compost then do feel free to ask in the comments below!