For this week’s ‘Change the world Wednesday‘ challenge we’re off to the compost bin!
Home composting is a great way to turn waste into a valuable resource, especially when you consider that around 60% of the contents of your kitchen bin could be reused in this way!
This week we’ve been asked to share our composting ‘How to’s’. For my beginner’s composting guide I’m going to go right back to basics and want to share six items you might never have realised you can compost. You’re probably aware that grass cuttings, small hedge trimmings and shredded paper can go into your compost heap, but here are other ideas that might surprise you!
The secret to great compost is to mix equal quantities by VOLUME (not weight) of green ingredients and brown ingredients. For green think wet – vegetable peelings, grass clippings etc. For brown think ‘dry’ – shredded cardboard or finely shredded woody prunings.
Eggshells contain valuable nutrients and make a great addition to your compost heap. Crush them before adding. Eggshells can take a surprising amount of time to break down, so don’t worry if you find a few pieces still intact when you use your finished compost.
Human hair and pet fur
Hair can be added to your compost heap, along with pet’s fur. When you clean out your combs and brushes, stuff some in the hedge for bird’s nesting material and add the rest to your compost heap.
You’ve had a party and you’re left with bowls of peanut and pistachio shells. Instead of sending them to landfill, you can add them to your compost pile. Nut shells are a good ‘brown’ and will help to balance other wetter ‘greens’ such as vegetable peelings and grass cuttings in your compost pile.
Seaweed and pond weed
If you have access to fresh seaweed, then you can pop it into your compost pile. Likewise you can get rid of pond weed in the same way. Remember, seaweed is part of the ecosystem of the shoreline, so don’t be greedy! Only take seaweed that has been washed up on the beach; don’t start peeling it off rock faces. If you’re clearing out your garden pond of weeds, then these can go into the compost heap too.
Natural textiles such as cotton, wool and silk can be added to your compost heap. This could be an ideal solution for someone who does a lot of sewing, knitting or crafts and has small scraps of textiles and thread to get rid of. They will need mixing with wetter ‘greens’ such as kitchen peelings and you should only add a few at a time.
Vacuum cleaner contents and floor sweepings
The contents of most vacuum cleaner bags can be added to your compost, but you need to check a few things first. If you use chemical carpet fresheners or your flooring is not made from natural materials then don’t add them. But if you have natural flooring, such as wooden floorboards or wool carpets and your vacuum cleaner picks up everyday debris such as dust, pet hair and bits of soil then it’s fine to tip the contents out of the bag into the bin! The same applies to swept wooden floors.
What about you? What’s your ‘secret ingredient’ for great compost?