Home composting – anyone can do it

Around 40 – 45% of household waste can be composted, yet in the UK only 25% of households are currently composting their kitchen and garden waste. Do you compost? If so, why? And if you don’t, why not? I would love to receive your comments below.

As for me, I only started composting relatively recently. I had wanted to for a long time but I didn’t think I could. My experiences of composting were my grandma’s compost heaps, hidden away in two different corners of her very large flower- and veg-filled garden, and a compost tumbler at a youth hostel I worked at. In both cases, the resultant compost was scattered on the gardens. I live in a flat with a small gravel- and paving slab-style garden (but a garden nonetheless). I didn’t have space for a compost bin. And even if I did I only had a few measly pot plants to use the compost on. And then there was the start-up cost…

But, I found a way. I made space, I added a few more pots, and it didn’t cost me the earth (in fact, it is possible to do it for nothing). This was the result: a pair of bokashi bins that take not just vegetable peelings and coffee grounds, but also cooked food, meat, fish and dairy, and a collapsible composting bag which fits neatly out of the way and does not look intrusive.

Why? Because I hated the fact that my kitchen waste was going into the bin when I could put it to better use. That, and composting looked like fun.

In order to learn more about composting, and also to help raise awareness of ways to reduce food waste, I have become a Master Composter (MC). I have been trained by Garden Organic on behalf of Leicestershire Waste Partnership to:

  • Raise awareness of the benefits of home composting;
  • Encourage more people to compost at home; and
  • Help those who already compost to do so more effectively.

The overall aim is to reduce the quantity of waste going to landfill by changing people’s behaviour in relation to recycling and, particularly, composting.

The beauty of composting is that anyone can do it. And why shouldn’t they? It is nature’s way of recycling the nutrients that exist in all living things and returning them to the soil to feed future generations of plants and animals. Yes, it might seem a bit of a hassle, and perhaps you don’t see what the ‘point’ of it is, but the thing that really stuck with me from my training course was that composting enables us to take responsibility for our own waste.

Waste is like scuff marks on the wall – as soon as you start noticing them you find them everywhere, and you need to get rid of them. It is at that point you realise what is unnecessary – for example, a certain item of food is always getting thrown away – and where you can save money (the average family throws away £60 of perfectly edible food each month). So even if the environmental arguments don’t resonate with you and motivate you to compost, there are personal motivating factors too.  I will discuss these various motivating factors in my next post, hopefully with a little of your help too.

This series of blog posts is going to cover (among other things):

  • Why compost?
  • Different methods of composting (a few examples in the images above)
  • Composting basics – e.g. what can you compost?
  • A particular focus on bokashi composting, wormeries, and other composting methods for those tight on space
  • Composting with kids
  • Useful resources
  • Troubleshooting
  • My personal composting experiences, including a snapshot of my food waste over a period of time

If you can’t wait for me to write these posts and want to know more now, my fellow MC, Joolz, has written an overview of composting here.

If you have any questions, or anything that you would like me to address in these posts, please leave a comment. And don’t forget to answer the question below.

 Do you compost? If so, why? And if you don’t, why not?



6 thoughts on “Home composting – anyone can do it

  1. I made my compost bin out of an old pallet. It was easy to make and very cheap. I now have no need for my green waste bin which is great as we now have to pay for it to be collected.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting Natalie.
    We don’t compost at the moment – we are living in a flat that we have only been in for 18 months and are only planning to rent for another 18 months and so didn’t think it would be worth setting up a compost heap. We want to in the future though so would be interested to hear your ideas!


    • Thanks, Susie.
      Having lived in Japan are you aware of bokashi composting?
      I would probably suggest a wormery as I presume you have primarily kitchen waste and do not need to produce much (if any) compost at this stage. They are also portable so good when you do move! I really want to start one up myself as I think the boys will love it!


  3. Pingback: Home composting – anyone can do it | Food, waste and other stories – WORLD ORGANIC NEWS

  4. We compost but only with uncooked vegetables and garden waste. Like your Dad, we have decided to manage without our green bin now that the council are charging to empty them.

    I look forward to reading more about composting food waste, although we work very hard at not throwing away food.


    • Composting cooked food waste is a last resort but having the boys – particularly the age Charlie is at – I need the flexibility to compost cooked waste which is where the bokashi comes in handy.


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