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Composting

 Composting is a natural process that converts your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable nutrient rich food for your garden. Up to a third of your household waste can be composted at home, reducing the need for collection and further processing.

Why should we compost at home?

Did you know that composting at home for just one year can save global warming gases equivalent to all the CO2 your kettle produces annually or your washing machine produces in three months?*

  • If this waste is buried in landfill, air cannot get at it so it breaks down producing methane gas and contaminates ground water. This contributes to global warming, and means that vast sums of money have to be spent treating the ground water that leaches out of the landfill.
  • Financial savings – The final product of home composting is a natural chemical free source of plant food, which will save on shopping for pre-packed compost and fertilisers.
  • Most pre-packed compost contains peat, when this is taken from peat bogs it damages wildlife habitats.
  • Home compost improves the texture and nutritional quality of your soil.

How does it work

Composting is a way of speeding up the natural decay of organic matter, by creating the ideal conditions for small organisms to thrive. They love a moist environment with lots of air pockets, and just a teaspoon of soil contains about a billion organisms.

In the initial stages bacteria and fungi eat their way through the softer waste, multiplying rapidly and generating heat up to app. 60°C that’s about the same temperature as a cup of tea. After 4-6 weeks the heap starts to cool down, at this point the larger bugs like beetles, worms and centipedes start to munch their way through the tougher materials.

Using a compost bin, it will take from 6-12 months to make your compost. The process is much slower in the winter months and if you have a lot of large woody material it can take longer, so it helps to break it up first.

* Info source WRAP

Waste Awareness Wales - Podcasts

Waste Awareness Wales have produced these four audio podcasts with further information and advice on home composting.

Page updated on: 07/03/2017

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