What is composting?

Compost is natures way of recycling organic waste such as food and garden waste in to a brown soil like substance. Anything that once lived can be composted including materials like paper and cardboard. Worms and other minibeasts, fungi and bacteria living in a compost bin or heap, recycle the nutrients found in organic matter so that they can be used to help more plants grow.

What are the benefits of composting?

  • Compost is a useful resource, it can be used as a fertiliser to grow more plants. Making your own compost is better for the environment because it reduces the amount of artificial fertiliser you need to use.
  • Many shop bought composts contain peat that is dug from endangered peat bogs. You can help to save these endangered habitats by making your own compost at home.
  • Making your own compost reduces the amount of compost you need to buy and will save you money.
  • Putting our organic waste in the compost means that less waste goes to a landfill site or energy from waste plant. If organic waste goes to a landfill site, unlike a compost bin, it decomposes without oxgyen and produces a harmful gas called methane and a liquid called leachate, which can harm our natural environment.

How is it done?

  • Garden and food waste need to be kept separate from other waste in order to be composted. Encourage grown ups to help set up a compost heap or bin, and then get gardening.
  • The compost heap needs a good mixture of browns to provide air pockets and greens to provide moisture.

As well as composting, food waste can be recycled by anaerobic digestion, to find out more about this, click here.

Teachers

If you are a school looking for practical advice, curriculum links and educational activities related to composting, click here for more information.