How to get started with composting

It may seem like a daunting process, but composting your food scraps is easier than it seems.

Composting is the process of gathering organic materials, such as food scraps or grass clippings, and decomposing them into a soil-like substance. Once composted, this matter (a.k.a. compost!) can then be used like a supplement for healthy soil, as compost replenishes nutrients in soil. Compost is nature’s way of recycling!

Having compost in our gardens can lead to healthy, happy plants and a flourishing garden, as compost helps to improve drainage and water retention in gardens, as well as providing a nutrient boost for the plants to feed off. This organic alternative also means we can say goodbye to synthetic fertilisers, which can be nasty on the environment (and our wallets). Win-win!

Although food waste and scraps are natural materials and biodegradable, when we put these into our normal rubbish waste which heads to landfills, the composting process can no longer occur. This is because landfills are so deep and dense, they do not allow for the amount of air needed for the natural materials to breakdown, but instead can emit harmful methane gas into the atmosphere.

Approximately half of what Auckland households throw away is compostable material – 40% of that comes from the kitchen. So, all in all, composting at home is a healthier and much more eco-friendly way to dispose of your food waste.

“Composting is a fun and rewarding step towards making your household greener…”

Getting started with composting is not as intimidating as it may sound. There are many different approaches to composting. Some can be really basic and others a little more complex. Whether you’re purchasing a more advanced composting system such as a Bokashi system or starting up a worm farm, or are keeping it simple with a DIY rubbish and compost bin system – they’re all effective options.

We love the Compost Collective’s work on educating Kiwis on composting. You can even take a quiz to see what system is best for you and they break down each different system into easy-to-follow steps! Once you have figured out which system to go for, you need to get clear on what to compost and what not to compost. This will be the most important factor in having a successful system.

Things like vegetable and fruit scraps, coffee grounds, tea bags, eggshells and grass clippings are all great contributions. However, meat and dairy scraps, fats and oils, and weeds are not, as they could affect your compost quality. Composting is a fun and rewarding step towards making your household greener and a great way to lower your carbon footprint!

Meet the Expert

Georgia ‘Salsa’

Born and raised in Christchurch, Georgia ‘Salsa’ has been a plant based foodie for six years and loves it, especially creating meals with seasonal veggies and trying different cuisines and dishes centred around plant based foods. Georgia is also passionate about sustainability and knowing where the food she eats comes from. Thai food is her ultimate favourite, and she can’t say no to a good pad Thai! She loves getting outdoors and exploring our beautiful backyard whenever she can, or sitting at home with a good book and cuppa.

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