Did you know that almost half of the food waste in the rubbish bin could have been composted? That’s not to mention all the paper and cardboard you could compost too (don’t worry, we’ll get to all of that later). So, whether you’re ready to dive into the world of composting, or you’d like to dip your toe in, we’ve got all the info you need to get started and learn how to make compost.
Why should you start composting?
Composting may seem intimidating to the beginner, but it’s actually very easy to do! The amazing thing about composting is that it’s an all-natural process, which means very little work is needed on your part. As long as there are the right ingredients, you can just sit back and let nature do its thing. It’s also inexpensive to set up and can be changed to fit your composting needs.
But, it’s not just about us. We’re here to help the environment, and composting can aid with that too. We all know we produce too much waste (and we’ve got full bins to prove it). While we can do our bit to reduce, reuse, and recycle, there’s a lot of waste that ends up in landfill – kitchen scraps and plant waste being just some of them.
While this organic matter does break down in landfill, it undergoes a different chemical process. This process ends up releasing biogas that’s 50% methane and 50% CO2, aka those harmful greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change. Composting removes this process and helps the organic matter break down naturally, giving you nutrient-rich soil.
As for your household, by composting, you’ll find quickly that your bin bags are getting lighter, and your black bin a lot less full each week. This means no more nightly arguments about who has to take out the bins, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re helping to reduce your environmental impact. It’s a win-win!
Let’s get started
You’re one step closer to fully learning how to make compost! Can you tell we’re just as excited as you are? So, first things first, what compost bin should you get?
There are plenty of different types, all ranging in size, shape, and materials. The best way to start is to look at your space and see what size can fit with what you have. Only have a small garden? A tube-shaped compost bin is your best bet. If you have a bigger space to work with, try a wooden compost bin. Or, if you like to get your hands dirty, why not make your own? There are plenty of tutorials online, and they can even be made for as little as £15.
For those that have never seen a compost bin before, they’re less like a ‘bin’ and more like a set of walls. In other words, they don’t have a bottom! This is so that any microorganisms and critters can get into the compost to help break it down, and any moisture and liquid can leak out. So, it’s best to put your compost onto soil or grass – not pavement.
How to make compost
You’ve got your compost bin all ready to go – now it’s time to add in the special ‘ingredients’ (aka last night’s soup scraps). But before we start throwing things into the bin, there are some things you need to know.
Bugs! Whether you think they’re cute, or you’d rather they didn’t exist, bugs and microorganisms are a vital part of any compost bin. They’re what gets the compost working and break down everything into that beautiful dark brown soil every gardener loves. So, our job is to make those little critters happy by creating the perfect environment for them.
How do we do that? Simple! By adding the right amount of greens and browns.
What are greens and browns, you ask?
Greens = nitrogen-rich, organic matter. These are your items that will rot quickly, such as fruit and veggie scraps, flower cuttings, and grass cuttings. The bugs love their greens, and it’s what gets the heat going in your compost.
Browns = dead, woody matter that’s full of carbon. This includes branches, dead plants, loo roll middles, paper, and cardboard. Browns add structure and body to your compost and ensure there’s plenty of oxygen in the material. This ensures the critters have enough air to do their job.
It’s time to create compost layers
So, once you have some greens and browns gathered up, just pop them into the bin. Think of your compost as a lasagna, and you’re layering and building it with all your ingredients. When you’re first starting, try and aim for 50% greens and 50% browns. These can be adjusted later depending on how your compost is turning out (see tips and tricks below for more details). It’s important to note, you don’t have to be exact with your greens and browns. Just put in what you think is best.
Now, you wait
And that’s pretty much it! Easy peasy.
To top it up, keep a small bin in your kitchen to collect all the greens, as well as a bin to place all your browns. Once they’re full you can empty them into your compost so they can be broken down.
You’ll be able to find compost at the bottom of your bin in between 9-12 months, depending on your compost’s conditions. We know, it’s a long wait, but you can’t rush nature’s process!
Once you have your beautiful pile, you can use your compost in your garden or house plants to give them all the nutrients they need.
Some helpful tips and tricks
Is your compost smelly? That means there could be too much nitrogen from the greens. Just add more carbon-rich browns to your compost and that should help.
Have you had your compost bin for over 12 months with no results? There may not be enough nitrogen to help get things going to break down everything. So, add something high in nitrogen like coffee grounds.
We hope this helps in your journey to learning how to make compost! Just remember, it’s really hard to mess up composting, so don’t stress. You’re taking a huge step in helping the environment, and for that, we applaud you. Have fun!
Keep it green at Modern Milkman
Looking for more ways to make things a little greener around your home? Well, this one’s particularly tasty!
Get started on our milkround to enjoy our doorstep milk delivery, coffee subscriptions, and soft drinks delivered to your door. Any packaging that isn’t reusable is either recyclable or home compostable, so you can do your bit for the planet and kickstart your composting journey with our fresh produce delivery.