Composting: An Arising Phenomenon

published Jul 22, 2015
2 min read

In a previous article, we were announcing an increase of the recycling rate in the UK, basing our interpretations on figures from the annual statistical report of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural affairs. Indeed, 2012-2013 recycling rate in England was around 43.9% compared to previous figures showing a recycling rate of 31% for 2006-2007.

This positive trend implies that future results should match the 2020 European recycling target, stating that the country needs to recycle at least 50% of the waste it produced. New figures from the Office for National Statistics’ May 2015 report (ONS) indicates that the recycling rate from September 2013 to September 2014 was around 45%, which means that the UK is getting closer to the European target.

One of the phenomenon influencing positively those results is the increase in production of household compost.

What Does Composting Mean?

Compost comes from the action of nature to recycle decomposed organic materials into a rich soil. This rich soil is called compost and can be used for several purposes, the main one being a fertilizer for your garden. You obtain compost by letting your organic waste decompose, which brings nutrients back to the soil and continue the cycle of life. A good and finished compost looks dark brown and smells like forest floor.

Nowadays, several techniques are in use to obtain compost, the main one being the backyard composting that you do in a certain container at the back of your house. To be able to do so, you need to balance brown materials such as fallen leaves or straws and green materials such as grass or food scraps.


How Does it Work?

To get a fast and good quality compost, you need to follow several steps to ensure that the final result will be successful!

  • Make sure you possess the 4 main ingredients and that they are balanced, in order to produce a good compost:
    – greens
    – browns
    – air
    – moisture
  • Green or brown materials are determined by the ratio of carbon/ nitrogen they contain.
    Greens have a carbon nitrogen ratio of 30:1 meaning that they possess a high nitrogen rate such as grass clippings, fruits and vegetables and weeds and plants
    Browns possess more carbon than nitrogen and can be identified as wood materials, straw and dust or cardboards.
    Be careful, browns or greens do not depend on the color of those materials but rather on the carbon/nitrogen rate.
  • Never compost animal products such as meat or fish or add plants disease that could interrupt the composting process.
  • To get a faster compost, chop the ingredients, shred materials and add pieces of wooden cardboard to ensure the diversity of elements included in your compost.
  • Do not shred green trees leaves, it does not compost well and the pine resin could inhibit the composting effect.
  • When preparing your compost, be sure to put more browns than greens, usually a ratio of 2 to 3 times more browns than greens is required in order to get an optimal compost.
  • Be attentive to regularly mix the ingredients in the compost container to be sure air is becoming a part of the composting phenomenon.
  • Finally, remember to water the mix to get a moisture that will accelerate the composting process.
  • Make sure your compost mixture will be heated by the sun in order for the compost to be faster in its decomposition. The moisture and heat will allow worms to finish the process to get an optimal compost.

compost 2

Still Not Sure Whether Composting is For You?

Here are 5 reasons why you should adopt this technique at home!

  1. Diverts waste that should have gone to landfill, waterways or treatment facilities. Indeed, food waste and yard waste represent 30% of waste stream.
  2. Reduces use of pesticides: your garden will look even better and healthier, and if you have a vegetable garden,the taste of your food will improve consequently!
  3. For obtaining healthier plants will improve their production and ability to fight diseases.
  4. To save money as you won’t need to invest in soil conditioners or pesticides.
  5. Compost prevents your soil to become sandy or to contain too much clay.