Your complete guide to making compost

Here’s a few crazy composting facts for you. Did you know that you can be transformed into compost when you die as part of Recompose’s business plan in the US? Did you know you can even cook your dinner on compost? (That’ll save on your energy bills!) But did you know that a mere 3% of us in the UK compost? Even though it is one of the most sustainable ways to remove waste from your home. In this blog, we’re going to give you everything you need to make compost. Whether you own a 10 acre home in the countryside or a studio flat in central London. There’s something for everyone. Take a look at how you can get involved

Types of bins to choose from 

Before you start Googling for any type of compost bin, it’s important to know which you’re looking for. If you have a large garden, where you can put a compost pile together at the end of the garden, you may not be bothered about which type you opt for. However, if your compost bin is to live indoors or on a balcony, you might want to think about reducing the smell with filtered bins. Take a look at a few of our ideas below to get you started. 

Making compost indoors 

It’s as simple as having a bucket under the kitchen sink. We would suggest if you have pets or children to keep this out of reach. But also remember it needs to be easily accessible as you could be adding new food scraps to your pile every day. Keep the size of your bucket under 19L and you’ll avoid unpleasant smells. You can also add an odour catching filter to the top of your bucket.  

Grab your bucket, drill a few holes into the bottom and pop it on a tray to catch any excess liquid. Put a layer of soil in the bottom, then shredded paper. Add your food scraps along with a handful of soil each time you use it. Turn it every couple of days and in a week or so you’ll have your compost! You can put the lid on your bin and seal it ready to use on your houseplants. Alternatively, sell it to your neighbours who do have gardens. 

Making compost outdoors 

If you have a little more space, all you need to do is invest in a compost bin. You can even make your own if you have the time! If you have a large garden, you’ll kick yourself for not having a system already in place. Here are your three options: 

  • A self-made compost pile. You’ll need to make sure the pile is easily drained so the microbes that break down the waste do not drown. 
  • A static bin. These are widely available in most garden centres and on some council websites at a reduced rate. 
  • A tumbler. Potentially the easiest way to compost waste, but slightly pricier and faster at getting results. 

The process of composting 

It’s really simple, but it can also be beneficial to understand how your compost bin works. By having the following information you could decrease the time it takes to make compost and you might be able to make more of it. 

Learning how compost bins work is simple. All your organic waste (with the addition of soil and paper to soak up moisture) breaks down and creates microbes as it – essentially – rots. These microbes chew it all up and spit it out. You can also use worms to help with this process.  

The more you move the waste, and the cosier the temperature, the more microbes appear and the faster they can chew through your waste. So, it benefits your compost to turn it regularly and keep it well-drained in a temperature that is consistent. Microbes will be produced at any temperature but keeping the climate the same for them means less time required for adaption and more time for compost making. 

How will you know when compost is ready to use 

We know you’re keen. There’s nothing more exciting than reaping your rewards but making compost requires patience. If you’re opting for a static pile that you leave outside and turn every few weeks, you might be waiting months before you can use your compost. The bigger the pile and the bigger the bits of waste to break down, the longer it takes. Just keep that in mind when selecting your bin and chucking in your food scraps. 

The reality is, you can turn your static bin as often as you see necessary. If you buy a tumbler, you might give it a quick spin every week, if you’ve got a small one under the sink, it could be every other day. If you have a large compost pile that needs turning manually, once a month on a Sunday afternoon might be all you manage – it could be strenuous work! You can, in fact, not turn your compost at all, you’ll just be waiting a very long time to use it.  

There’s not much more to composting. It’s simple after the initial setup. All you need to do is plan where you’re going to put your compost and what type of compost you’ll have. It’s smooth sailing after that. So, get a move one! Compost isn’t going to make itself and with your complete guide to making it, you only need to decide that this weekend, is the weekend you begin. We look forward to hearing your results in the comments below.

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