How to make compost

How to make compost

How to compost your waste

The benefits of composting your garden and kitchen waste are many; reducing the waste sent to landfill, while providing a habitat for a community of minibeasts who live among the waste help the decaying process. In turn, these beasts are a delicious food source for hedgehogs and other animals. In addition to saving you money, the increased organic content in your soil will boost fertility and help plants to build up resistance to disease and insect attack, reducing the need to use chemical controls. The compost will also improve the structure of the soil by increasing the numbers of worms, helping to keep it healthy!

Worm held in gardening gloves

©Tom Marshall

What to put in your compost:

  • Grass cuttings
  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Cardboard
  • Old cut flowers and bedding plants
  • Dry leaves and weeds
  • Tea bags and coffee grounds
  • Gerbil, rabbit, hamster and other vegetarian pet bedding
  • Egg shells – these help to keep the heap from smelling
  • Newspapers – shredded paper can help to soak up excess moisture in a heap

All you need for a successful compost heap is waste, air and water! A simple heap covered with old carpet or plastic is just as effective as a 'bin'. The only advantage of a container is they look tidier and could be easier to manage. Use our handy illustrated guide to home composting to get you started!

The increased organic content in your soil will reduce the need to use chemical controls – it’s a perfect time to consider going chemical free!

Top tips for composting:

  • Ensure you have a good mix of items. If you have large amounts of compostable items to dispose of, such as hedge trimmings or bags of cut grass it is worth contacting your council to see if they have a municipal composting scheme
  • It will work best if you add a fair quantity of material at a time so it is perhaps best to save up you kitchen scraps and then add them to the heap along with some prunings or redundant old bedding plants
  • It is important to mix the contents of the heap every now and again to aerate it.


Do not compost cooked food, coal and coke ash, meat and fish, cat litter, dog faeces, disposable nappies, glossy paper.