Composting is an inexpensive natural process that transforms most organic waste into a nutrient-rich additive for your garden. It’s easy to make and use.
Compost is made from the natural breakdown and decay of organic matter (such as vegetable peelings, leaves, grass and even cardboard), usually in a compost bin in your garden.
Why should I compost?
To do your bit to reduce the amount of waste sent for disposal.
Around 30% of the average household bin is food waste and much of it is avoidable. Unavoidable food waste doesn’t have to end up in the bin though - composting is a great way to stop it from becoming waste.
How do I compost?
- 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 is 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 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 unless you have a compost bin that can take all food waste (for example, a Bokashi Bin, Green Cone or Green Johanna).
- Fill the bin up– empty your kitchen caddy along with your garden waste into your compost bin. A 50:50 mix of greens* and browns* 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, now all you need to do it wait and let nature do the work. Keep on adding greens and browns to top up your compost.
- Ready to use - once your compost had turned into a crumby, 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, space or trowel.
- Use it – use it to enrich borders and vegetable patches, plant up patio containers or feed the lawn.
*Greens – tea bags, grass cuttings, vegetable peelings, salad leaves, fruit scraps, old flowers and nettles, coffee grounds and filter paper, spent bedding plants, rhubarb leaves and young annual weeds.
*Browns – crushed eggshells, egg boxes, garden prunings, twigs and hedge clippings, straw and hay, bedding from vegetarian pets, ashes from wood, paper and lumpwood charcoal, sawdust and wood chippings, wool, woody clippings, cotton threads and string (made from natural fibre), feathers, old natural fibre clothes (cut into small pieces), tissues, paper towels and napkins, shredded confidential documents, corn cobs and stalks.
Guide to different compost bin options
The great news is that anyone can compost. Whether you have a garden, small garden or even live in a flat there are options for everyone. All the following compost bins and wormeries are available on the Getcomposting website.
Best for a budget and beginners - Blackwall Compost Converters are the UK’s bestselling compost bin and start at just £25 (buy one get one half-price) for the smaller 220 litre size. They are also manufactured in the UK from recycled plastic. We work with Getcomposting to offer Blackwall 220 and 330 compost bins at a discounted price.
Best for smaller gardens – The HotBin Mini 100 litre compost bin is compact enough to fit into a smaller garden, plus by hot composting you can compost all your food waste within 90 days.
Best for composting all food and garden waste – The hot bin + Green Johanna, are both capable of composting not just your garden waste, but also all your household food waste including bones, meat and fish into a rich, organised compost.
Best for year-round compost – The Maze compost tumblers have two composting chambers. You can fill one compartment up while the other churns through the rest of your organic waste, producing compost all year round.
Best for large households – The Thermo King 600 litre compost bin is great for larger households with lots of food waste to compost.
Best for food waste only – The Green Cone Food Waste Digester is capable of composting all of your food waste including bones. They are very low maintenance and all you require is a sunny, well-drained spot of soil for your green cone.
Best plastic-free compost bin – If you aren’t keen on a plastic compost bin, you can also purchase a 480 or 905 litre wooden compost bin. GetCompostings Wooden Composters are made from Forest Stewardship Certified wood.
Best for a small garden or balcony –If you have a garden that doesn’t have any access to soil or a balcony, or you don’t want to produce lots of compost then a Wormery could be the right choice for you. It’s simple to set up, easy to use and ideal for transforming kitchen waste into nutritious compost.
Best for DIY-ers - For keen recyclers and DIY-ers, a Gardener's World homemade compost bin built from old wood or pallets, is a good low-cost option. If you have a larger garden this provides food capacity.
Free workshops for schools and community groups.
We offer free composting workshops to local schools and community groups. The workshop gives the practical skills to start composting. It lets participants explore the basics of composting, including where best to locate a composter, what to compost and how it works. As part of the workshop we also offer free standard compost bins (this is limited to two bins per group).
If you would like to book our workshops, please visit our Education page, which contains more information.
This video from Recycle Now is a great way to introduce children to composting and the processes involved.