Kitchen waste (composting)

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Turning kitchen waste into garden food

Composting uses the natural process of decomposition to convert organic waste matter into a nutrient-rich soil you can use on your garden.

About half of household garbage is made up of food and garden waste. Start composting and you'll immediately notice a significant reduction in the amount of rubbish in your bin.

Compost bins and heaps

Home composting bins you can buy or make include:

  • plastic bins with ventilation holes or slits
  • plastic bins without ventilation
  • metal drums with holes punched in the side and the base removed
  • rotating drum units (tumblers)
  • enclosures made from timber (planks or sleepers), bricks, or chicken wire.

How to compost

  1. Choose a shady spot in the garden to start your compost heap or to position your compost bin. There are many types of composting bins available - some require mixing and some don't.
  2. Add to your compost in layers of food scraps, garden clippings and paper.
  3. Keep your compost moist, but not wet and aerate it about once a week.
  4. When your compost is dark and crumbly (about four months) dig it into your garden or spread it on top as mulch.

Your compost is hungry for more...

  • Vegetable and fruit peelings
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Egg shells
  • Vacuum dust
  • Shredded paper and cardboard
  • Straw
  • Lawn clippings, prunings, leaves and flowers

For a healthy compost avoid diseased plant material, meat scraps and bones, dairy products, bread, cake and pet droppings.

The rich benefits of composting

  • Your soil structure will be improved and soil will be nutrient rich.
  • When used as mulch, compost helps to trap moisture in the soil so it saves water.
  • By composting food scraps you'll reduce the waste you send to landfill.

More information

Smarter Choice partners (see list or map) have retail sales staff that can advise you about composting at home.

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Fact sheet: Composting