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Quick guide to composting There are many different ways of making our lifestyle greener. Composting is a cheap and natural process of transforming your kitchen and garden waste into a valuable food for your backyard. Composting reduces the amount of waste being sent to landfill, which helps reduce the amount of harmful greenhouse gasses being created. Compost will also improve the condition of your soil so your plants and flowers can flourish. 1 You can build your own composting heap or buy a readymade bin from many outlets. Building your own is surprisingly easy - it only requires four posts and some wire netting. The posts should be put into the ground enclosing an area of one square metre. The wire can then be attached to the posts. Make sure that the front part is easy to detach so you can access the finished compost. 2 Put a couple of layers of straw and twigs at the bottom of the composting heap or bin so the decomposing waste can drain properly. 3 When you’re ready to compost, make sure only suitable materials go into your bin (see the list below for some ideas). There are many things that can make the process more efficient – for instance, put some water on dry materials, or if the compost is too wet, add some cardboard to absorb the moisture.

4 Remember to cover your composting heap and leave it to rot. It’s not a quick process and it can take up to 12 months for the waste to decompose. This obviously doesn’t mean that you can’t add any more materials to the top of the pile – feel free to top it up throughout the process. When your compost is ready, just open up the front of the bin or box and dig out the dark and crumbly fertilizer from the bottom. There are some types of waste that work for compost, and some that should be left off the heap. Please refer to the list below for a rough idea of what should and shouldn’t go in your composting bin. For more handy tips for your home, visit the npower blog.



Raw vegetable peelings

Meat, fat and bones

Coffee grounds, tea leaves and bags

Synthetic fabrics

Soft green prunings

Cooked vegetables

Cardboard e.g., egg boxes, cardboard tubes

Roots and seed heads



Wood shavings

Diseased plants

Fallen leaves, old plants, nettles

Toxic materials

Twigs and bark, egg shells

Nonbiodegradable materials

Shredded paper

Lime (high alkaline pH can kill composting action)

Fruit peels (not limes)

Cat and dog droppings

Paper (though it’s better if it’s recycled)

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Quick Guide to Composting  
Quick Guide to Composting  

Use our Guide to Composting as a quick reference of how to build a composting heap and what should go into the bin.