Luckily I already had 2 compost bins – my Dad weirdly bought them from the council when I was a kid and those big black plastic bins have been hanging around for 20 years or so without being used… So cheers, Dad! You used to tip old oil into the ground to avoid having to dispose of it properly but a random adventure to the council now means I’m benefitting off not having to buy new ones!
The lids haven’t been opened in at least 8 years minimum. I was freaking out at the thought of rats and giant spiders living in there, but I put on my grown up pants and got to work with my Mum laughing and watching from a safe distance.
I worked both the lids off with the prongs of the garden fork and found the following: 1 spider, 7 cockroaches and 1 super cute skink! No rats! Maybe this was going to be easier than I thought!
With my rough memory from my grandpa’s lessons going through my head I stuck the fork in gingerly and had a poke: it was dry, still had egg shells in it, but otherwise looked ok. I turned it thoroughly, added water and turned it some more. Then I added a layer of grass clippings, more water and gave it another turn through. Then on top I added a layer of old egg cartons from the recycling bin and all the paper from the paper shredder bin as like a ‘blanket’. I could remember that they needed layers of things, but not why. I probably should’ve read up on it first, but meh. This was kinda fun!
I decided if I was going to be doing this properly I would’ve read the research and then did the digging, but then I wouldn’t have been me.
You’re supposed to start with a layer of twigs and sticks – they break down slowly and help drainage. On top of that you add a layer of green stuff: that’s for the nitrogen. Then a layer of brown: that’s for carbon. So I just missed the twig memo, but green is grass clippings and brown is paper, so really I’m going ok. After that you add oxygen (with the turning) and water. So thanks Grandpa – you died almost 10 years ago but I’m still using the stuff you taught me even if you wouldn’t approve of my half assery approach. Based on what I’ve read, my compost will have shit drainage, but I’m making dirt, so who really cares, eh?
Once I fill one I can then begin to fill the other whilst still turning the first. By the time it’s full the bits down the bottom will be good soil, so by having 2 bins it hopefully means I can always be composting something and eventually always have some form of compost to chuck around.
So now I’m going to divert all my plant waste from the land fill bin. Things like egg shells (based on this I totally need to break them up before putting them in), food scraps, leaves from sweeping, paper shreddings, cardboard (toilet rolls and egg cartons are regular sources that come to mind) and some grass clippings. No meat or dairy can go in, but everything else is fair game. I’m not much of a gardener, so I might give the products to my Mum, share it around with the neighbours or offer it to the community garden down the road.
The other thing I realised is how bad landfill is. I mean, I know it’s bad (clearly), but seeing the visual representation was pretty full on. I found in one of the bins a kiwi skin with the sticker still totally legible on it, along with egg shells still broken in half from cooking, but no further break down. Sticking your food waste into landfill and then doing nothing with it doesn’t mean it’ll break down properly: composting seems pretty easy, but it does take regular work. So all those times I put my food waste into the bin thinking it was like composting and wouldn’t matter: well I’m shit out of luck cause what I realised this morning is that’s not a thing. I need to compost all my waste from now on as even without plastic in my landfill waste I’m still contributing to the problem of global landfill.