Composting is the best method for dealing with raw food and garden waste. Used tea bags, banana skins, grass, leaves and even cardboard are just some of the many materials that you can compost at home, saving space in your recycling and waste collection bins. Home composting is great because waste that is created at home, can be recycled at home and then used at home; as a nutrient-rich food product for the plants and flowers in your garden.

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Home composting saves money, it saves resources, and will reduce your impact on the environment. In fact, composting at home for just one year can offer the same greenhouse gas savings as all the CO2 your kettle produces annually, or your washing machine produces in three months.

compost heap
Composting is one of the best ways you can help the environment, and it’s rewarding too!

Peat, for many years has been the natural go-to product for a nutritious compost. It is magnificent at water retention and is wonderful stuff for growing things, such as fruit and vegetables in an allotment, to flowers in hanging baskets at the front of the house.

It takes thousands of years for peat to form from decomposed plant matter, but unfortunately, due to its popularity, we are using it up far faster than it could ever regenerate.

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This is a big problem as peatlands store lots of carbon, more than forests and any other types of soil, yet we are releasing this stored carbon when peat is dug up and transported to garden centres, and eventually our gardens. We need to keep peat in the peatlands storing carbon to help in the fight against climate change.

Unfortunately, peat is still available to buy from garden shops, DIY stores and supermarkets. It is a multi-billion-pound business, but there are nutritious peat-free alternatives now available.

Please help protect the peatlands by going peat free, and encouraging your friends and family to go peat free too. After all, you can create your own compost in your garden!

peat cutting
For peats sake...

Our guide to home composting:

Step 1: Choosing a site for your compost bin

It is best to site your compost bin in a sunny spot, as the sun helps to increase the temperature so micro-organisms (bacteria and fungi) can thrive. If you have to place your compost bin on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs ensure there’s a layer of paper and twigs or existing compost on the bottom. Finally, choose a site where you can easily add ingredients to the bin and get the compost out.

Step 2: Achieving the right balance of material

Achieving the correct balance of wet and dry ingredients, sometimes known as ‘greens’ and ‘browns’, is essential to creating the best compost. Aim for 25 to 50 per cent of wet ingredients with the remainder being dry ingredients. Be sure not to include cooked food, especially meat and fish as they can attract vermin.

compost process 1

Step 3: The waiting game

It can take between nine and twelve months for nature to do its work and create compost. Continue to top up your bin with the correct balance of wet and dry ingredients and… *Top Tip* turn the ingredients in your bin every month to introduce air and to test moisture levels. If your compost is too dry then add some wet material, and visa versa.

Step 4: The compost is ready to use

You’ll know that your compost is ready when it is dark brown with a crumbly soil-like texture, and gives off an earthy, fresh woodland aroma. Scoop out the mature compost from the bottom of your bin with a spade or trowel and don’t worry if your compost looks a little lumpy with twigs and bits of eggshell – this is perfectly normal.

You are now ready to enrich your garden borders, improve the soils of vegetable patches, feed your grass lawn or plant up patio containers.

compost process 2