Worldwide there is 50 tonnes of household waste thrown out every second, which equals the weight of 2.1 million cars worth of waste every single day! Composting your waste is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Not only does composting divert waste from landfills, it also helps to create nutrient-rich soil for growing a wide range of plants and crops. But how to get started with composting you may ask? It’s probably a lot more simple than you think and you really can get started anywhere, anytime. Here is a simple guide to get you started with at-home composting, playing your part in keeping the environment clean and green!
What is compost?
Compost is a soil-like substance that is made from decomposed organic materials, including food scraps, compostable packaging and garden trimmings. When compost has been made and used properly, beneficial microorganisms in the compost pile will break down waste until it becomes a dark, fluffy substance that is rich in nutrients and can be used for potting plants or as a nutrient-dense addition to soil.
Setting Up Your Own
All you need to get started with your own compost is a stationary compost bin or similar structure for holding the compost. If you’ve got leftover pallets or plastic bins available, you can even make your own! No matter what your living situation is you have the ability to compost. If you are in a smaller apartment/flat, opt for a smaller compost bin. Choose a sunny position for your compost that is protected from the elements – can be indoor or outdoor – as long as it is accessible to continually add ingredients.
Your compost should be prepared in layers with a blend of nitrogen (greens) and carbon (browns), as below…
What can be composted?
Greens: Food scraps, weeds, coffee grounds, egg shells, tea leaves, corn husks and any manure or grass clippings.
Browns: Carbon-rich dry materials that provide microorganisms with a source of energy, for example compostable food packaging, egg cartons, shredded paper, cardboard scraps, newspaper, wood chips, twigs and leaves. Covering ‘Greens’ with ‘Browns’ is a great way of reducing any undesirable smells.
Water: Make sure your compost is slightly moist but not sopping wet by adding water as required. It should have the consistency of a damp sponge. If it becomes too wet at any point, add paper to soak up the excess water.
Avoid: Fatty, oily or greasy substances (e.g. cardboard that is laden with grease); meat, fish or dairy products; food or other substances with added chemicals, pesticides or herbicides; glossy paper or foil. These materials may attract unwanted pests and also have the potential to cause health issues.
Composting Tips & Tricks
• Break up larger items before adding them to ensure they are broken down quickly.
• Make sure each layer is no thicker than about 10cm and for every layer of ‘Greens’, add a layer of ‘Browns’ as well as keeping moisture levels consistent.
• To help get the composting process underway you can add some existing compost to each layer. Add a little water with each layer and mix the material every few additions.
• Put a lid on your compost bin to enable it to decompose quickly. Mix your compost regularly. It is compost when it becomes dark brown and smells earthy (may take 6-8 weeks to get to this stage).
Ceres Organics Compostable Packaging
Ceres Organics are always looking for new ways to reduce their impact on the planet and have have just recently launched the very first compostable packaging of its kind, which holds their Organic White Quinoa product. It is a world-first, transparent, triple layer (made from wood pulp and printed using wood-based inks), home compostable pouch. In a typical compost bin or worm farm containing heat, water, oxygen, soil and microorganisms, after only 6 weeks you will see this Ceres Organics pack starting to break down and in ideal conditions it will compost down to small fragments in as little as 16 weeks. This is a super exciting progression in packaging that we hope to see many companies following suit with over time.
The brand new Ceres Organics food packaging, and other food packaging that is labelled as ‘compostable’, can be added to your Brown layer of compost for an additional organic nutrient boost. Inspired to get going with your home compost? Let’s all play a part in keeping our environment clean & green for years to come!xo