Why should you compost your household waste?
We have all heard the word compost in the past but what is it? Composting is the natural and safe process of decomposition that turns organic materials like garden waste and vegetable food scraps into a dark, crumbly and earthy smelling material called compost. Compost is very rich in nutrients and is great for your garden, shrubs and indoor plants.
In order to compost correctly you require the following basic ingredients:
Materials such as dead leaves, branches, and twigs provide the carbon needed during the composting process.
Grass clippings, vegetable waste, fruit scraps, and coffee grounds provided the nitrogen to help with the composting process.
The third ingredient is water, having the right amount of water is important for compost development and provides the right amount of moister to break down organic matter.
Finally, Aeration. Just as with water, all composting organisms need oxygen.
Your compost pile should have an equal amount of brown to green ratio and if possible, you should also alternate layers of organic materials of different-sized particles. (It is simpler than it sounds).
The benefits of composting?
Reduce your carbon emissions.
By opting to compost your waste you will reduce the methane emissions from landfills which lowers your carbon footprint.
It is good for your garden, plants and soil.
Composting encourages the production of beneficial bacteria and fungi that break down organic matter to create a rich nutrient-filled material. Compost also reduces the plant diseases and helps with pest control.
Composting promotes the natural cycle of decay.
Decomposition of organic matter is an important process in any ecosystem. Some organisms in the ecosystem are called decomposers. They break down dead matter by digesting dead or rotting organic waste. Decomposers (i.e. worms etc) break down the dead matter into basic materials. Which is then recycled into the soil and become nutrients that can be used by plants and some other living things for the cycle to happen again!
Reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
There are many hidden dangers associated with using chemical fertilizers. From environmental issues like water contamination, pollution and their contribution to the greenhouse effect. To the Human health issues that have been linked to the use of chemical fertilizers on crops.
Reduce your bin cost.
Composting cuts down the amount of household waste you put in your other bins. Meaning you pay lower charges for having them emptied
Reduce the chances of contaminating the recycling.
Putting 99.9% of your organic kitchen waste in the compost bin will reduce if not eliminate the chances of it contaminating your recycling.
What are your Options for Composting?
In line with EU regulations, the Government supplies brown bins for composting to almost every (almost) household in Ireland.
Civic amenity centres
Bring your organic waste to civic amenity centres to be composted. For details, contact your local authority.
Build or buy a compost bin in your garden and enjoy the nutrient rich compost at the end.
A guide to what you can put in the green cone composter.
Tips for Composting at home!
- Choose a container that is the right size for your household. If you choose a bin with a base, it should have holes in it to allow worms to go in and moisture to drain out. Tumbler composters are great for smaller spaces or for people with less mobility.
- Decide where to put your composter. We recommend somewhere that the sun shines that has good contact with soil microorganisms, good aeration, and good soil drainage.
- Place it not too far from the kitchen door near enough to be convenient but far enough away to avoid any smells that may arise. Surprisingly enough with most store-bought composters the smell is minimum, they have been designed to trap in odours.
- Protect the compost bin from heavy rain. If you have picked a spot with good soil drainage this won’t be a problem.
- Add activators to your bin. If you want to speed up the composting process you can add activators to your compost, but they are not strictly necessary.
- Start your compost bin in the spring, summer or autumn, as composting slows or stops in winter.You can buy a winter jacket for most composters that allows composting all year round.
Composting may seem daunting initially but once you start you will never look back! If you enjoyed this article please see more of our articles like how to achieve a zero waste home in 2020.