Thurrock residents still have time to buy a discounted compost bin before a price increase comes in at the start of April.
More than a third of household waste is made up of organic material which can be composted. Grass cuttings, hedge trimmings, unwanted plants, fruit and vegetable peelings, tea bags and even the contents of the vacuum bag are all ideal for composting.
The cheapest compost bin currently on offer by Thurrock Council is £16 for a 220 litre container, and there is also a 330 litre bin for £19 and there is a £5.49 one-off delivery charge. There is also a chance to buy one and get one at half price, adding extra value to residents with larger gardens or those who team up with a friend or neighbour to buy a bin.
Composting is a natural process carried out by millions of tiny creatures, most of which are too small to be seen with the naked eye. These creatures include microscopic bugs, fungi, insects and worms which breakdown your compostable matter into a crumbly soil like material. Composting turns what could have been rubbish into a useful product!
There are lots of things you can compost but there are some things that are best left out of the bin. The key to making good compost is getting a good mix of materials as when you put in too much of a single material problems can occur.
Remember you need a balance of greens and browns.
Love your bugs and make it easier for them to turn you rubbish into a resource by breaking things up into little bits before you put them in the bin.
Although the following materials will decompose, they are not suitable for home composting:
Your compost bin should be placed on bare soil or grass, so that worms can get in and moisture can drain out. Your compost bin should not be placed on concrete or paved areas.
You should be able to get to your bin easily, leave enough room so that you can mix your compost and get the finished compost out.
Ideally, it should be in a partially sunny spot but don't worry if it's in the shade it will still compost but at a leisurely pace!
Collect your fruit and vegetable scraps in your 'kitchen bin' and every couple of days empty it into your compost bin. You might find it useful to line your kitchen bin with a bit of newspaper to absorb moisture.
Then just keep adding a mixture of greens (sappy materials e.g. vegetable peelings, grass clippings) and browns (fibrous materials e.g. twigs, card) to your compost bin and it should start composting. Composting takes very little effort, all you need to do is add to your bin regularly and give it a stir occasionally to add some air. If it gets too dry, add more greens or sprinkle with water and if it gets too wet add more scrunched-up paper and give it a stir.
It could take up to a year to produce some compost, however, the process slows down when the weather is cooler.
Finished compost is a dark brown, soil-like layer that you will find at the bottom of your compost bin. It won't look like the compost you buy from the shops as it might still have some bits of non-decomposed material such as twigs or eggshells. It may look quite wet and not have a crumbly texture. If you want to dry it, spread it out in the sun for a few days after you have removed it from the bin; it will soon be ready for use in the garden.
Your compost bin has a small hatch at the bottom, which you can remove to get at the finished compost, but sometimes it is easier to lift the bin or tip it over to get at the compost and then put the non-decomposed material back into the bin.
Now you have made your compost there are many uses for it around the garden. It can be used as a:
This can be used to improve the texture of the soil and provide nutrients to help plants grow.
Compost is good for all soils. It makes heavy soil easier to work and helps lighter soil retain moisture, it feeds the plants too. Use the compost in the spring or the summer. Spread it on the surface or dig it into the top 150-200mm of your soil.
Mulch is material such as compost or woodchips that is used on the soil surface to discourage weed growth and keep the soil moist. To use your compost as a mulch, add a layer (about 25mm) to the soil surface leaving a gap around any soft-stemmed plants.
The current bin selection available to residents is as follows:
Kitchen caddies are also available at £5.25 each.
To order your compost bin please visit Get Composting or telephone 0844 571 4444.
We are now offering a fabulous system that allows you to turn all kitchen waste into nutrient rich compost. This includes meat, fish, dairy products and cooked food. For full details and online ordering, visit: Get Composting.
"Recycle Now - compost at home" is a website with advice and information on home composting: www.recyclenow.com/compost. Did you know that up to one third of the contents of your dustbin - including vegetable peelings, teabags and eggshells - can be composted quickly and easily using a compost bin? The result is a great soil conditioner for your garden.