Veolia Environmental Services, working in partnership with Southwark Council, recently held a’ composting workshop’ in the Francis Peek Centre.   Composting is simply the breakdown of organic matter.  It is a process that is happening all the time, everywhere.  Anything that has been living begins to be broken down when it dies. It is nature’s way of clearing up.  We can use this process to our benefit.

Roughly one third of our household waste is organic material.  Add to this lawn clippings and other material cut down in the garden.  It makes a major difference to the environment if this material is composted or ‘chewed up’ in a wormery, rather than sent in your green wheelie-bin to a landfill site, where because it’s buried , it doesn’t get sufficient oxygen to decompose properly and just goes putrid.

So, if you don’t have one already, start a compost heap or buy a compost bin. From time to time, the Council offers low cost compost bins – see Southwark web site – details below.  The sort of thing that you can put onto your compost heap include kitchen scraps, vegetable peelings, grass clippings, screwed up paper and torn up egg cartons.  But don’t put in anything that isn’t bio-degradable – no dog or cat faeces, no cooked food, no meat, fish or poultry.

Try and keep a rough balance between the different types of material that you put in – eg.too many grass clippings make the compost slimy.  Site your bin in a sheltered corner that receives some sun.  If it’s a heap, as opposed to a’ bin’, place an old piece of carpet on top.  This keeps in both the moisture and the heat, both of which help the composting process.  Place the bin on soil, not concrete.  Put fine mesh chicken wire underneath and a little way up the sides to discourage rodents, or buy a rodent proof bin.  If your compost consists chiefly of kitchen waste, buy a wormery.  Each worm eats its own weight of material every day!  In hot weather, if the compost attracts a lot of fruit flies, shovel a layer of earth on top.

By making your own compost, you not only help the environment, but you save yourself money and improve the fertility of you garden.

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