Ahh, composting – quite possibly the easiest thing a large bunch of people have never done… which is odd ‘cos it really is easy. Super-easy. Like walking and breathing and hating Monday mornings kind of easy. Essentially, all you need to do is grab yourself a compost bin and then start filling it with things you can compost. That’s it. Oh and, trust me, once you start, it’s kind of like eating Pringles. Not because compost tastes like sour cream and chives but ‘cos you won’t be able to stop.
And it’s not just because you can compost that you should jump on this garden-gravy train. It’s because you should. You see, almost 50% of the millions of tonnes of waste us Brits send to the landfill each year is organic. So, if you’re one of those people that is sort of trying to make a cut back on their dumping habits, I’ve gotta say, getting your compost-on at home is a total a no-brainer.
With that in mind, pick a patch of garden, choose a compost bin, make life a little easier with a kitchen compost pail, and then get rocking and rolling by tossing in every kind of organic matter you can think of: fruits and veggies, weeds, grass clippings, eggshells, coffee grounds, those autumn leaves covering your lawn, little sticks, paper towels, napkins, hair, cardboard, newspaper, the lot… and then sit back, relax, and revel in the fact you don’t have to do anything else.
Of course, I will admit that sort of quickly-blasted-generic-overview isn’t going to fill your gumboots with confidence when you’re standing over your compost bin, ummm-ing and ahhhh-ing about whether such and such can go in. So, to give you a better idea of the weird and wonderful tidbits you can drop on your heap, here’s a list of compost-worthy items you may not have thought of. Welcome to the wonderful world of composting.
Yup. Those untreated balsa wood chopsticks you get with your cheeky Chinese takeaways are perfect for the compost bin, as are their distant cousins, the coffee-stirrers.
2.Dunked Tea Bags
Another forgotten hero of the compost pile are your used teabags. There’s no point in hossing them into some landfill when they can be put back into the earth.
3.Paper Bags, Man
If you’re thinking to yourself, “do stores even use paper bags anymore?” It’s a pretty good question. But the answer is yes. Not many, but some. Bakeries, delis, grocers – they’re still paper bag legends.
4.Pencils And All
Whether you’ve still got your pencil case from school or your kids have just discovered sharpeners and can’t help but grind theirs down to little nubbins, pencils and pencil shavings are just what your compost bin ordered. That’s because it’s no longer 1893, meaning your pencils are made of wood and graphite, not lead.
The reason, “Sorry Miss, the dog ate my homework,” never works is because the dog can’t vouch for you. But if you “accidentally” chuck your kid’s homework in the compost bin and they change it to, “Sorry Miss, the compost bin ate it,” you can back them up. So, not only is your kid getting a great excuse, but your compost pile is getting a great meal too. Just remember this only works for paper-based homework, though. No laptops.
There is a little caveat to this one, in that it depends on whether you have wool carpets or not. But if you do, then you can finally put an end to that whole ‘covering the kitchen floor in hoover dust’ scenario and just take your hover bag outside and pour it straight into your compost bin.
7.Gross Aquarium Gunk
In the same way your garden love’s Goldie’s old fish tank water, your compost heap loves that gunk that builds up, which is great news for anyone that’s ever put this awful smelling stuff in the kitchen bin the day after bin day. That’s just the worst.
8.Your Old Clothes
We’re willing to guess you’ve got a) a bunch of clothes in your wardrobe you haven’t worn since John Major won the election or b) a bag of clothes you’ve been saying you’ll throw out since the spring. Well, anything that’s made of cotton or wool can be cut into strips and chucked in with the rest of your compost bits.
We know, right. Who would have thunk compost heaps love them a bit leather? But they do. It could be a pair of old builder’s boots that got chewed up by the dog, a belt you left to go mouldy in the bottom of your closet, that bedroom whip from that fling you had during “The Halloween of ‘98”. Anything. Simply cut them up into bitesize bits and then add them to the can. Woo woo.
We’re not sure about you, but the worst thing about the summer months is having a home that smells of (organic) bug spray and a windowsill that’s been morphed into graveyards for critters that have bitten it – flies, wasps, midges etc. Well, the best thing you can do is say a few words in their memory and then bury them in your compost bin because, no matter how dead they are, they’ll either be a great source of nitrogen or carbon.