Composting is like nature’s version of recycling.
It transforms food scraps, garden waste and other organic materials into a nutrient-rich fertiliser that can benefit soil and plants.
The best part? It’s incredibly simple once you know what goes in a compost bin (and also, what not to put in a compost bin).
With a few simple tips, you’ll be on your way to creating beneficial compost for your garden.
‘Organic materials’ refers to anything that was recently living. This includes leaves, garden waste, food scraps, paper and even certified home compostable packaging.
A healthy compost will balance ‘greens’ (nitrogen-rich materials like fruit, vegetables and grass clippings) with ‘browns’ (carbon-rich materials like leaves, twigs, shredded paper and packaging, provided it’s certified home compostable).
The ideal ratio of green to brown materials in a home compost bin is typically around 1:2. This means for every one part of green materials, you should add two parts of brown materials. This mix provides the best conditions for decomposition and helps maintain a healthy compost pile, ensuring proper aeration and moisture retention.
In saying that, composting can be somewhat forgiving, so there’s room for flexibility in this ratio. It depends on the specific materials and conditions in your compost bin.
Let’s look a bit closer at what goes in a compost bin.
Any organic matter you can find in or around your garden. Things like:
Most waste from the kitchen. Things like:
*Chilli, onions, garlic and citrus are suitable for a backyard compost bin, although it’s recommended not to add too much if you have a worm farm – the acidity can negatively impact your worms!
It’s simple – download our PDF poster and hang it up around your home.
Compostable packaging can only go in your home compost bin if it’s Certified Home Compostable under the Australasian Bioplastic Association. The only source of truth in Australia. Look for this logo and the company’s specific licence number.
First of all, it’s a good idea to put your compost bin in a convenient corner of your garden close to your veggie patch or plants if possible.
When starting, lay down a base layer of sticks or mulch. This encourages good air circulation and drainage. Once that’s done, you can layer your green materials (grass, fruit, veggies) and brown materials (leaves and paper).
And just like that? You’re on the way to turning your food waste into nutrient-rich compost.
Many councils in Australia add discounts and even free workshops for households looking to start composting in their backyard. Get in touch with your local council to see what initiatives they have in place.
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