By home composting you can reduce the contents of your waste bin by at least a third and you can produce your own compost for free.
You may be surprised at how much of your waste can be composted at home. Fruit and vegetable peelings, crushed eggshells, paper and card and garden waste are all compostable.
Why should we compost at home?
More than 60% of the contents of the average rubbish bin is biodegradable and over a third can be easily composted at home. This includes fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste, tea bags, coffee grounds, cardboard and paper.
If biodegradable waste is sent to landfill, it rots down producing the powerful greenhouse gas, methane. Methane is 21 times more damaging than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. In the UK, 20% of methane production comes from landfill. Reducing biodegradable waste going to landfill will reduce the amount of methane produced, thus helping to reduce damage to the environment.
If you are composting at home it is not being transported to landfill, saving additional emissions associated with the transport of waste.
Buy a compost bin
The York and North Yorkshire Waste Partnership work in partnership to subsidise compost bins. There are two sizes of compost bin available to buy at subsidised prices. The subsidy has been spent for 2018-19 but a new offer will return in April 2019. Current prices are:
- The 220 litre compost bin costs £17.98 plus £5.99 delivery (dimensions - height 90cm, diameter 74cm)
- The 330 litre compost bin costs £19.98 plus £5.99 delivery (dimensions - height 100cm, diameter 80cm)
You can also buy one get one half price which means you can team up with a family member, friend or neighbour to get a compost bin for as little as £9 each. Delivery is £5.99 per order. Find out more.
330 litre home compost bins are available to purchse for £10 from the Household Waste and Recycling Centre, Canal Road, Selby. The offer is limited to two compost bins per household. Payment must be made by credit or debit card only. These compost bins are only available to York and North Yorkshire residents - proof of address will be required for purchase.
Both the 220 litre and 330 litre compost bins are called Compost Converters. The units are made from 100% recycled plastic with windproof secure push-fit lid and removable side hatch. The bins are guaranteed for 15 years.
How to compost at home
Getting free, good quality compost from your bin is easy. You just need to put the right combination of ingredients in. Compost bins need a 50:50 mix of 'green' and 'brown' waste.
Greens are nitrogen rich and quick to rot and provide your compost with moisture. They include things like:
- Vegetable peelings
- Salad leaves and fruit scraps
- Tea bags
- Grass cuttings
- Old flowers
- Coffee grounds and filters
- Young annual weeds
- Rhubarb leaves
Browns are carbon rich and are slower to rot and provide fibre and create air pockets in the mixture. Air pockets reduce the need for regular turning. Browns include things like:
- Crushed eggshells
- Egg and cereal boxes
- Scrunched up cardboard and paper
- Toilet roll tubes
- Garden prunings
- Vacuum bag contents
- Shredded paper
Placing your compost bin in direct or partial sunlight will help maintain higher temperatures inside and can speed up the composting process.
Insulating the compost bin in winter with materials such as carpet or bubble wrap can help the composting process continue to work throughout the colder months.
Using your compost
It should take around 9 to 12 months to produce usable compost.
There are many ways you can use your compost.
- Enrich your borders by spreading a 5cm layer of compost over the existing soil, or digging the compost into the soil before planting.
- Dig a 10cm layer of compost into flowerbeds before planting.
- If you have compost which is not fully broken down add a layer of about 5cm over your flowerbeds as mulch.
- Spread a 5-10cm layer around the roots of trees (not too close to the base of the tree)
- Replenish pots by removing the top layer of existing soil and replacing with freshly made compost.
- Mixing it with sand and spread a thin layer of about 2.5cm over the lawn to feed it.
- Grow healthy herbs and vegetables by simply adding compost around the base of the plants.