Compost Smarterto #ChangeTheOutcome on Food Waste
Get into composting with these easy tips and tricks
For many New Zealanders, composting can seem challenging: it can be a little messy, maybe a little too smelly, or it’s only for people who have a green thumb. But, composting your food waste is a great way to give back to mother earth, quite literally. Whether you live in an apartment or have a big backyard, everyone can create an at-home compost or get involved in composting initiatives.
If you are considering composting, here are some tips to get you started:
- 1. Choose a method and location that suits you and your home
If you are looking to compost at home choosing the right location and a method that best suits your home is essential. Choose an area of soil to place your bin where it is sheltered from the sun, wind, and rain. Do not place the compost bin on concrete as this prevents air – water – worm movement. Make sure the bin is well away from the housesup1. If you have limited space or a smaller backyard, static or tumbling compost bins are a great option, whereas, for bigger backyards, opt for a purpose-built compost pile or bay at 1m square and up to 1m highsup2.
For anyone who does not have a backyard or outdoor space, you can invest in an indoor 20L bucket or 7L caddy compost bin which can be taken to your local compost program to ensure your food scraps are thrown away effectively3. The key to getting started with composting is making sure you select the correct compost bin as this will ensure you are composting correctly for your lifestyle while avoiding any mess.
- 2. Visit local farmers markets and council compost programs
Most Kiwis who live in apartments find it hard to compost as they have limited space (indoors or on their balcony) or think it will leave their home with an odour. If you can’t find the space to have a compost bin at home, one way you can compost is by visiting your local composting service or council compost program where you can drop off your food waste instead! Tip: collect food scraps in the freezer until you have time to transport it4.
- 3. What to compost vs what not to compost
Understanding what food scraps and products are compostable can sometimes be tricky. But here are a couple of rules of thumb to follow:
- When looking at food scraps, if they can be eaten or grown in a field or garden, i.e., fruits, vegetables, grains or bread, then you can throw it in your compost bin.
- Products like cardboard or newspapers can also be thrown in your compost bins. Check to see if your product has the ‘AS5810 compostable logo’ like the Glad to be Green® Compostable Baking Paper, as this means they can be home composted after use. Products with the ‘AS4736 compostable logo’ can be composted with your local council program – both of which help to reduce the amount of waste headed for landfill.
Items you should refrain from composting include cooked or processed foods such as bread, pasta and meat, noxious weeds, dog or cat faeces, and oil or other liquids. These items can cause problems in your garden and if they are added to your compost, they can make it smell and attract unwanted guests5.
- 4. Storing your food scraps efficiently
It’s great to feel a sense of achievement knowing you’re doing your part to help the environment by composting your food scraps; however, some people are unsure of how to store food scraps efficiently to avoid unnecessary kitchen mess.
The best way to store food scraps until they’re thrown into the compost bin is by getting a lidded kitchen compost caddy. You can keep this near your sink or beneath it. The Glad to be Green® Compostable Caddy Liners are perfect for your lidded compost caddy’s as they are certified home compostable and keep the caddy compost clean. Once your kitchen compost caddy is full, you can neatly throw your food scraps into your compost bin without any mess whilst knowing you’re contributing to help improve our planet.
- 5. Size up how small you’re chopping up your food waste
Size matters when it comes to how big or small your food waste is cut up6. Many think that the more you chop up your food waste, the better the results with your compost. Whilst this is true, too much chopping can result in your compost becoming soupy and soggy. By cutting everything into small pieces, your compost pile will lack pore spaces for air – when your compost is in the decomposition process, the air is crucial for it to thrive long-term.
- 6. Rotate your pile
Turning your compost pile5 is the same as cooking a soup – you can’t let it sit one way for too long as it can slow down the decomposition process causing your compost to grow anaerobic bacteria. Physically mixing your compost pile every 4-5 weeks will release air holes and continuously keep the oxygen in your compost bin moving and help break down waste.
- 7. Get into a composting routine
Many may find composting a little confronting and maybe the one extra household task that may slip off your list. Try to get into a composting routine by taking your compost scraps to your bin or heap every night after dinner (it’s just like taking out the garbage bin – you can do both at the same time). You’ll soon get the hang of it and quickly become a composting pro!
These tips can help you compost smarter and correctly throw your food scraps away, ensure your compost is continuously thriving and help you reduce the amount of food you waste in your home, and ultimately help protect our environment – so it’s a win, win!