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Get Composting

 

What is compost? 

Compost forms as a result of the natural breakdown of organic
material into fine particles by bacteria, fungi, insects and animals
which live in soil.
 

As these organisms break down waste they generate heat, which is
why compost heaps often feel warm and can sometimes even be seen steaming in cold weather.

 

What to use to make compost

You can use a whole range of things to make compost:

 

  • Garden waste including leaves, grass cuttings, old flowers
  • Egg shells
  • Fruit & vegetable peelings
  • Tea bags
  • Bedding from vegetation pets including rabbits and guinea pigs
  • Shredded paper and cardboard including cereal and egg boxes

 

Do not add any of the following to your compost heap as they will either not break down properly, or may be unhygienic or attractive to pests.

 

  • Cooked foods
  • Meat, fish or dairy products
  • Ash from coal fires
  • Dog or cat poo
  • Nappies or used tissues 

 

 

 Why compost?

The average person throws away seven times their own body weight in waste every year. About 25% of the contents of your bin is kitchen and garden waste. These are organic materials that end up in landfill sites where they cause polluting gases.

Composting is a natural method of both waste disposal and soil fertilisation. Once made, compost can be used to fertilise soil and give it a better structure and moisture retaining properties. It can also be used as mulch in order to reduce the growth of weeds.

Organic materials in landfill are a major source of methane, a greenhouse gas 20 times more active than CFC's in causing global warming, and also of a black liquid called 'leachate,' which can contaminate water supplies.

Because it is an alternative to peat, the use of compost can also help to prevent damage to the peat bogs, which are vitally important homes for a wide range of wildlife.

 

Where to compost

 For those good with their hands, compost bins can be built from scrap timber, old tyres, bricks or wire mesh.

 

COMPOST AT SCHOOL: All schools in the county borough are entitled to a free compost bin with a 'how to use' handbook. This can be used to recycle items such as fruit, vegetable peelings, grass, paper and small amounts of cardboard (but not cooked food). Additional compost bins can be purchased at a subsidised price of £10 each. Ask your teachers at school about composting!

 

COMPOST AT HOME: Caerphilly Council offer our residents the opportunity to purchase home composting bins at a reduced price of £10.  If you would like to compost at home ask your parent or guardian to come along to any of our cash offices to pay the £10.  You will be given a receipt by the cashier which you will need to take along to the official collection point at Blackwood Garden Centre, Blackwood, NP12 0PJ (rear of Blackwood RFC).

 

 

How to make compost

Add the compost ingredients to the compost bin or heap, mixing the different types of materials together with a garden fork as you do so.

Compost usually takes between 3 and 9 months to make, although it can take longer than this, especially in cold weather.

The best place to site a compost bin is in a sunny, well-drained area, out of the wind. Put your composter in the garden on bare soil and not on paving or decking.

Your compost is ready when it is dark in colour and has an earthy smell. When the compost appears to be ready, take some from the bottom of the pile, put it on your garden and watch those plants grow!