If you live in Hampshire, you can buy a reasonably priced home compost bin from £17.98 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, call 0844 571 4444, quoting reference HAM16L or visit getcomposting.com . Alternatively, print and post the order form (791 KB).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
A composter should not attract rats. There is more information on how to deter rats on the Recycle Now website .
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.
You can find more information on composting at www.recyclenow.com .
If you would like information on composting or recycling in general please telephone us on 01329 236100 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.