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Home composting in Essex

Home composting in Essex

Sustainability

Home Composting in Essex
Composting is an inexpensive, natural process that transforms your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable and nutrient rich food for your garden. It's easy to make and use.

Do your bit to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill. Even for households that are already composting, new research has found that almost half of the food waste in their rubbish bins could have been put in the compost bin.

Did you know 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?

Compost at home!

People often ask "Why do I need to compost when my waste will break down in landfill anyway?" When waste is sent to landfill, air cannot get to the organic waste. Therefore as the waste breaks down it creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth's atmosphere. However, when this same waste is composted above ground at home, oxygen helps the waste to decompose aerobically which means no methane is produced, which is good news for the planet. And what's more, after nine to twelve months, you get a free fertiliser for your garden and plant pots to keep them looking beautiful.

Some local councils are now offering a food waste collection. They then deal with food waste in a specific manner to avoid the production of methane and to produce commercially usable compost. But even if you live in one of these areas, using waste raw fruit and vegetables in your own compost is still a great idea – particularly if you are a keen gardener (or are about to start!) Or purchase a kitchen composter which will take nearly all your food waste and have it ready to use as compost in a couple of weeks!

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Benefits for your garden

Your compost is a nutrient-rich food product for your garden and will help improve soil structure, maintain moisture levels, and keep your soil's PH balance in check while helping to suppress plant disease. It will have everything your plants need including nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and it will help buffer soils that are very acidic or alkaline. Compost improves your soil's condition and your plants and flowers will love it!

Reduced cost compost bins are available to Essex County Council, Thurrock Council and Southend – on – Sea Borough Council Residents from £17 including home delivery. To order your bin visit www.recyclenow.com/compost

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Getting the right mix

too much greenToo much green
This is a classic mistake made by many first time composters. They get their brand new compost bin and just use it to get rid of their grass cuttings, fruit and vegetable peelings. These are great things to put in a bin, but used on their own will result in a sludgy, smelly mess.

Too Brown
mix too brownAutumn is a typical time of year when this may occur. Because of the large number of leaves falling from trees and a flurry of plant pruning, bins get filled with too many browns. Autumn leaves just don't produce enough nitrogen to activate the heat production.

Just right
The green items will contain bacteria that will generate the initial heat that is required by the process. A healthy compost bin is a living ecosystem. By keeping a good mix of green and brown material you will provide the perfect conditions for a variety of mini-beasts and can let them do all the hard work.

Browns
Shredded paper – why not add your shredded bank statements and other mail.
Cardboard – boxes, toilet roll inners
Used kitchen roll
Tissues
Egg boxes
Leaves

Greens
Grass cuttings
Spent flowers
Fruit and veg
Tea bags

Please note: do NOT use cooked fruit and veg, or any meat, fish or dairy products in your normal compost bin.

Remember everything in moderation: too much of one item may mean that your compost bin isn’t working as effectively as it could. It’s important to get an even mix. For further information and tips and advice on home composting visit www.recyclenow.com/compost

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Kitchen composters

Kitchen ComposterThe new Kitchen Composter is the perfect accessory for your compost bin. It allows you to turn all kitchen waste into nutrient rich compost. This includes meat, fish, dairy products and cooked food.

Simply place any left over food into the airtight Kitchen Composter and Bokashi activator.sprinkle with a handful of the Bokashi activator. The Bokashi is made with friendly bacteria which starts the composting process off and neutralises any odours. After 2 weeks you can safely add the contents to your compost bin or dig it straight into the soil.

The Kitchen Composter kit is half price to Essex County Council and Thurrock Council residents at just £25 + £5 delivery. The kit comes with two Composters and two months supply of activator. To order your bin visit www.recycleforessex.co.uk or call 0845 130 60 90.

See the Healthy Life page "Love Food Hate Waste and Shop Eco in Essex"
For handy hints and tips and tasty recipes to reduce food waste visit:
www.lovefoodhatewaste.com

Article provided by Essex County Council October 2008.

Picture Credits
Pictures courtesy of Essex County Council except:
"MAN IN GARDEN MAKING COMPOST" © Anthony Harris | Dreamstime.com

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