So you want to learn how to compost properly and start saving the planet?
Starting a compost is easy as long as you understand the concept. When it comes to food waste, Australians waste around 7.6 million tonnes each year at a cost to the economy of around $36.6 billion. The latest National Waste Report finds food and garden organics make up about half of all kerbside garbage. Food organics were also noted by councils as a top 3 contaminant in the recycling bin.
Not only does an overfilled landfill make it harder to break down everything inside, but this food waste also produces methane, which is a greenhouse gas. Composting diverts your scraps from landfills and reduces or diminishes these harmful gases from entering the atmosphere, so let's get started...
WHAT TO USE
The Carbon to Nitrogen Ratio is important. A healthy compost pile should have much more carbon than nitrogen, use one-third green and two-thirds brown materials.
Carbon-rich matter (like branches, stems, dried leaves, peels, bits of wood, bark dust or sawdust pellets, shredded brown paper bags, corn stalks, coffee filters, coffee grounds, eggshells, straw, peat moss, wood ash) gives compost its light, fluffy body.
Nitrogen or protein-rich matter (manures, food scraps, green lawn clippings, kitchen waste, and green leaves) provides raw materials for making enzymes.
DO NOT PUT THESE ITEMS IN YOUR COMPOST:
Meat, bones, or fish scraps, perennial weeds or diseased plants, pet manures, banana peels, peach peels, and orange rinds.
HOW TO COMPOST
Before starting, first decide whether to make a heap or a bin. For many dog owners, a bin may be a better option to reduce disturbances to the compost, but a heap in the garden is considered easier.
- Choose a location: The area in which you start your compost must be open, level with good drainage, preferably with partial sun and shade to reduce the likelihood of the compost drying or staying too wet. Preferably start the compost pile on bare earth to allow worms and other beneficial organisms to aerate the compost and be transported to your garden beds.
- Lay twigs or straw first, to aids drainage and help aerate the pile.
- Add compost materials in layers, alternating moist and dry. Moist ingredients are food scraps, coffee grinds, seaweed, etc. Dry materials are straw, leaves, sawdust pellets and wood ashes.
- Add manure, green manure (clover, buckwheat, wheatgrass, grass clippings) or any nitrogen source. This activates the compost pile and speeds the process along.
- Keep compost moist (but not soaked).
- Cover - this helps retain moisture and heat and prevents the compost from being over-watered by rain.
- Turn. Every few weeks give the pile a quick turn with a pitchfork or shovel. This aerates the pile. Oxygen is required for the process to work, and turning “adds” oxygen. You can skip this step if you have a ready supply of coarse material like straw.
Once you’ve established your compost pile, add new materials by mixing them in, rather than by adding them in layers.
You might find this Composting Guide from the Department of Environment and Conservation NSW helpful: https://recyclingnearyou.com.
TIPS ON INDUSTRIAL COMPOSTING
Dingo Republic coffee capsules and lids are EN13432 compliant, and have also been awarded the more stringent AS 4736 certification from Australia, which includes a worm toxicity test and makes sure that in addition to plants, there is no toxic effect of the resulting compost on earthworms. These tests were produced in consistent 70 degree industrial composts.
If you want to send your capsules to an industrial compost, you have the following options:
- First, check with your local council, whether your green bin is sent to an industrial compost in your area. If your green bin takes food scraps, that would give you a good indication, that your council also accepts our AS 4736 certified compostable capsule and lid.
- EcoCaffe has teamed up with TerraCycle® to enable a premium solution to recycling and industrial composting, ensuring a responsible option for a second life for used capsules. TerraCycle® provides a zero-waste solution for all recyclable and compostable coffee pods. All packaging, capsules, lids and coffee ground can be fully recycled or composted. Find out more about our TerraCycle program.
- Another good way to locate places that would offer Industrial Composting near you is Recycling Near You, which you can find here.