Composting is a simple and inexpensive way to deal with your organic waste. You can compost most organic materials, although you should avoid putting meat, bones, cheese, cooking oils and fish into your compost bin. These materials take a very long time to break down and may attract unwanted pests.

The key to ensuring that your compost heap works efficiently is getting the right mixture of organic materials. There are two types of materials that should go into a compost bin:

If you ever start to get an unpleasant smell from your compost bin, chances are that there is too much of one type of material in it. The best approach is to make sure to add plenty of torn up cardboard (from cereal boxes, kitchen paper centres, yoghurt packaging etc.) and scrunched paper regularly. This helps to prevent the compost heap from becoming too wet and giving out bad odours.

Getting started:

Place your compost bin on a flat, partially shaded area of your garden. It is best to put it on bare soil as this allows the worms and micro-organisms access to the bin. It also allows any extra moisture to drain away easily.

Put in a layer of a good mixture of green and brown materials, e.g. garden waste such as weeds or leaves, a little loose soil, torn pieces of cardboard and some raw vegetable peels. Now, just let nature do its job!

Compost may take anything from two months to a year to form. Once ready, the compost can be used as fertiliser or surface mulch, adding nutrients to the soil as well as binding it and giving it improved texture.


Master Composters on Eco Eye

Do you have what it takes to become a Master Composter? See how the first ever Master Composter volunteer programme participants progressed at their Compost Demonstration Site in Frenchpark, Co. Roscommon in 2009. Master Composters was the theme of Eco Eye in March 2010, but you can watch it on the RTÉ Player website.

Dates for the 2010 Master Composter volunteer programme will be confirmed on the Stop Food Waste website.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provide additional information on the disposal of household and commercial waste in order to protect environmental quality.

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