Search site

Composting

Reduce your household waste and produce compost for the garden, get a compost bin!

Compost bin Up to 40% of household waste is kitchen and garden waste, which is ideal for composting.  Composting at home is an easy way to transform garden and kitchen waste into a healthy soil improver for your plants and shrubs and costs next to nothing to get started.  So, why not get composting today?

Special offer compost bins

The York and North Yorkshire Waste Partnership is offering residents in North Yorkshire the chance to purchase low cost compost bins. Subsidised compost bins are available in two sizes for all residents, with delivery to your address

Special Reduced Price Offer 

  • 220 litre compost bin - £17.99 including delivery 
  • 330 litre compost bin - £19.99 including delivery 

These prices include delivery of £5.99 per order. You can also 'buy one, get one half price' when you buy two of the same bin.

For more information and to purchase a compost bin please visit www.getcomposting.com.

Compost bins from a garden centre typically cost £40 so you can save a lot by buying bins this way.

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.

Other products such as caddies, wormeries and kitchen composters can also be purchased at www.getcomposting.com

All about composting  ...

What is composting?

Composting is a natural process which converts organic rubbish into an earthlike mass by means of bacteria and micro-organisms.  The composting process is also supported by many creatures, from worms to microscopic bugs.
Heat is generated during the composting process.  As a result, the temperature in the composter may rise to around 50 degrees celsius.  Micro-organisms flourish at this temperature, helping to speed up the composting process.

Why compost at home?

Composting can save you money by:

 

  • Reducing the need for chemical fertilisers
  • Compost helps soil retain moisture - reducing water consumption 
  • Composting converts organic waste into a complete and natural food for your soil which improves structure and fertility, and it's free.

Composting can help your garden:

  • Composting provides an environmentally friendly alternative to artificial fertilisers and peat.
  • Composting makes your garden grow
  • Compost feeds plants and your soil

Composting can help the environment by:

  • Composting converts rubbish into a valuable resource.
  • Reduces the amount of household waste going to landfill
  • By composting, nutrients are recycled back into the soil not into a landfill site
  • Reducing the number of car journeys to the tip

What can I compost?

There are lots of things you can compost but there are some things that are best left out of the bin.  You need to make sure you get the right balance of greens and browns.

YES PLEASE
Fruit and vegetable peelings
Twigs
Grass Clipping
Leaves
Hedge Clippings
Old flowers and plants
Plant stems
Hay and straw
tea bags and coffee grounds
Bedding from vegetarian pets e.g. rabbit's
Crushed eggshells
Annual weeds
Paper & Card

NO THANK YOU
Although the following materials will decompose, they are not suitable for home composting.
Meat and fish scraps
Cooked food scraps
Dog or cat litter
Nappies
Bones
Dairy products
Diseased plants

How is compost made?

The composting process is caused by the combination of three key elements:

Materials
Browns - such as leaves, twigs, paper, cardboard and straw.  These items provide fibre and carbon to help composting as well as allowing air pockets to form in the bin.
Greens - such as grass clippings, vegetable peelings, nettles and freshly dug weeds.  These items rot quickly in the bin providing nitrogen and moisture.
Please brake up chunky and large items into small pieces to help speed up the composting process.

Moisture
It is important to get the balance right.  Too wet and the compost becomes slimy and too dry and composting is very slow and might even stop!
To test, squeeze a handful of material, ideally it should feel as damp as a wrung out sponge.

Air
The tiny organisms that make your compost need air just like us.  Introduce air into your bin either by using a garden fork to mix the material, or add more scrunched up paper and card.

Where should I put my compost bin?

Your compost bin should be placed in the garden on bare soil or grass, NOT concrete paving or decking.  It should be somewhere that it easy accessible at any time of the year and leave enough room so that you can mix your compost and get the finished compost out.

Ideally the compost bin should be able to get some direct sunlight. If this is not possible, the composting process will still progress, but more slowly if the bin is on a shaded site.


How long does composting take?

This depends on a number of factors, not least the time of year. As the outside temperatures increase during the spring and summer, the composting process speeds up. This is due to the increased activity of the composting micro-organisms, which in turn creates heat within the compost bin. So if you start composting in spring, the process can take around three months.

The process slows down in autumn and winter, as many of the micro-organisms are less active due to the lower temperatures outside the bin. If you start in autumn, the process only really gets going in spring so you are looking at nine months before you can get the results.

However it is important that you continue to use your compost bin during these low activity periods to provide organic material for composting during high activity periods.

A lot can also depend on how often the materials are added to the bin and how you manage the composting process.  A bin that contains a balance of browns and greens chopped into smaller pieces with lots of air pockets and moisture will decompose a lot faster than when one or all of these factors have been ignored.

How do I know when my compost is ready to use?

Finished compost is a dark brown, soil-like layer found at the bottom of your compost bin. It may contain a few items of non-decomposed material, particularly those that were added to the bin whole, such as onions or oranges. Twigs or tough plant stems may also remain.


These can be taken out and put back into the bin to continue decomposing. It may not appear to be the crumbly material that you hoped for, however this is perfectly normal as the weight of the non-decomposed material above may have compacted it slightly.


It can also be quite wet, which again is nothing to worry about. By fluffing up the compost with a garden fork it will soon separate into a crumbly texture ready for use.


How do I get the compost out of the bin?

This depends on the type of bin used.  If your compost bin has a small hatch at the bottom, this can be removed to get at the finished compost, but sometimes it is easier to lift the bin or tip it over to get at the compost and then put the non-decomposed material back into the bin.


What can I do with the finished compost?


Now you have made your compost there are many uses for it around the garden.  It can be used as a:

Soil improver
This can be used to improve the texture of the soil and provide nutrients to help plants grow.  Compost is good for all soils.  It makes heavy soil easier to work and helps lighter soil retain moisture, it feeds the plants too.  Use the compost in the spring or the summer.  Spread it on the surface or dig it into the top 150-200mm of your soil.

Mulch
Mulch is material such as compost or woodchips that is used on the soil surface to discourage weed growth and keep the soil moist.  To use your compost as  a mulch, add a layer (about 25mm) to the soil surface leaving a gap around any soft stemmed plants.

Compost at Home booklet now available

The 'Composting at Home' booklet is a quick and easy guide to composting at home and advice on using your finished compost.  If you would like a copy, please contact Waste Management on 01756 700600 or email wastemanagement@cravendc.gov.uk

Need some help with composting?

Our team of master composters, called the Rotters, can help if you want to know more about composting or are experiencing problems with your compost. The Rotters are fully trained volunteers who offer advice on composting and reducing your food and garden waste. For advice or to become a volunteer, visit the Rotters page, telephone 01609 797212 or email: nyrotters@northyorks.gov.uk.

Reduce your food waste even further

Normal compost bins can only take fruit and vegetable peelings from your kitchen. However there are specialised bins to deal with cooked food waste which, when combined with home composting could eliminate food waste from your rubbish altogether. To find out more visit the food composting page.