Over half of what the average household throws away is organic waste. The good news is this can be recycled and used to help improve soil quality.
Organic waste includes garden and food waste, and other items such as paper, hair, wool, faeces, vacuum cleaner dust and wood ash.
What is composting?
Composting is a natural biological process, which converts kitchen and garden waste into a rich, organic soil-like substance. This process is carried out by organisms, both microscopic and larger, including bacteria, fungi, worms and insects.
What are the benefits of composting?
Composting has many benefi ts for the environment. It is a better use of organic ‘waste’ and reduces waste disposal issues.
Used in the garden, compost will improve soil structure, provide nutrients and humus to the soil, attract helpful worms, and improve water-holding capacity.
It also provides the basis for home gardeners to produce their own organic fruit and vegetables.
“There is no such thing as organic waste, only wasted organics.” (Vermi-BIOLOGICALS)
The ADAM principles
There are many ways of producing good compost at home, all are based on the principles of ADAM.
Aliveness - a compost heap is a living system
Diversity - the greater the diversity of material the richer the product
Aeration - more air means less smell
Moisture - the heap should be as moist as a lightly squeezed sponge
What CAN be composted?
A wide variety of garden and household organics can be used to make compost. These things can be composted:
- lawn clippings and small garden prunings
- leaves from shrubs and trees (not Eucalyptus)
- fruit and vegetable scraps
- some weeds
- tea bags, coffee grounds, vegetable oil and
- egg shells
- shredded paper and cardboard
- used potting mix or a shovel of garden soil
- aged animal manure (chicken, cow, sheep, horse)
- wood ash or sawdust (not from treated timber)
What CAN’T be composted?
- meat, bones, dairy and bread products
- diseased plants
- large branches
- weeds that have seeds or underground
Read the step by step guide to composting (123 kb).