How To Compost At Home For Beginners
After you throw your food scraps in the bin, you probably never think about them again. However, around 4 million tonnes of organic waste ends up in Australian landfills every year, releasing methane and other toxic gases into the atmosphere. If you’re looking to minimise your impact on the environment, you could try composting your waste at home. This is such a simple way to take control of where your organic rubbish goes and move towards a more sustainable, natural lifestyle.
The composting process creates the perfect conditions for natural organisms to thrive, speeding up the decomposition of your food waste. This will transform it into a highly enriching soil, which you can use on your garden. With your food scraps, you can create new life.
An at-home compost pile is cheap and easy to set up - all you need is four things.
What you need
This is your carbon-rich material, which will provide a buffer and allow your compost to aerate properly. Examples of brown material include cardboard, straw, paper shreddings or dry leaves.
Your food scraps are your green material. This will add nitrogen to your compost pile. You can compost pretty much any organic material, such as egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, fruit peels, and more.
The natural breakdown process is aerobic, meaning that your compost needs to breathe. The brown material should provide a buffer, allowing oxygen to flow through the pile.
Finally, adding a little water brings much-needed heat and moisture to your pile. This helps microbes thrive within your compost, which is vital for helping your waste break down properly.
How to compost at home for beginners
Once you’ve got these four things, the next step for starting your compost pile is putting them together. Layering is an effective way to get started.
Make sure your first layer has contact with the ground, rather than placing it in a barrel or box. This will help beneficial microorganisms in the earth get into your compost. Create a pile of small branches and twigs to allow air to flow at the base of your pile.
Spread a layer of your carbon-rich brown material over your base layer.
Add green material - any organic kitchen scraps you have will work fine.
Sprinkle some soil over the green material.
Finish with another layer of brown material.
Once your five layers are in place, use a pitchfork or trowel to give it a bit of a stir. You want your compost to be a combination of rich and diverse organic material.
When you’re starting your compost pile, you should aim for a 20:1 ratio of brown to green material. A high level of brown material will help your compost breathe, and stop it from smelling rancid or attracting flies. Healthy compost will smell rich, earthy and full of life.
Get empowered with composting
Beginning a compost pile may feel daunting, but all you’re doing is facilitating a natural and organic process. Composting is simple, affordable, and has an incredible restorative impact on the environment.
Once you have created your compost system, it becomes easy to take charge of your food waste and use it to energise and revitalise the earth.