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Home composting

Where can you buy a composter?

If you live in Hampshire, you can buy a reasonably priced home compost bin from £22.50 plus delivery. Otherwise, compost bins are generally sold in DIY or gardening stores. You might even be able to pick one up second hand. Kitchen caddies and water butts are also available. For more details and to order, quoting reference HAM23L visit External Hyperlink

Where should you put your compost bin?

Your bin must be placed directly on the ground, not on concrete, tarmac or patio slabs. Worms and bugs must be able to enter the bin from the soil below to help the rotting process. If you find worms in your compost bin it means its working really well! Worms speed up the process further. You can also get yourself a kitchen caddie with a lid for daily use to collect waste in the kitchen.

What can you put in your compost bin?

Composting is easy but you do need to get the ingredients right for the fastest results.  It's a question of balance which in composting terms means a balance of greens and browns. There are some things which must not be put in a composter or it will not work and you will attract pests.

The greens

The browns

Items not to be composted

Greens break down quickly and keep things moist. They also produce nitrogen (a harmless plant food). Browns give compost its fibre and structure. They are rich in carbon, which your garden likes. Browns also create air pockets, which helps the composting process.

Why does your composter smell?

It's probably too wet or you've put in too many grass cuttings. Leave the lid off in dry weather so excess liquid can evaporate. Remove some of the grass if there's a lot in there and mix in some "brown material" such as straw or shredded cardboard. A working compost bin with the lid on should not smell.

When should you get compost from your bin?

Composting is about balance. Your composter should not be too cold. If it is, leave the lid on and move it to a sunnier area. It must not be too dry. If it is, add a bit of water and mix in some soft "green material" like vegetable peelings. It must have air. Loosen it up with a fork and mix in some new material.

Will your composter attract rats?

A composter should not attract rats. There is more information on how to deter rats on the Recycle Now website External Hyperlink.

Why do you get a swarm of flies when you open your composter?

Some insects are needed to make good compost but swarms indicate an imbalance. You've probably got too much "green material" in it. Try a covering of "brown material".

Why would ants be in your composter?

Ants won't do any harm and may help by creating air pockets with their tunnels. If you want to deter them try watering the compost for a few days.

Where to get more information

You can find more information on composting at External Hyperlink.

If you would like information on composting or recycling in general please telephone us on 01329 236100 or email

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