Home composting has become a popular way to deal with garden and food waste – and now a council gardener has shared his top tips.
It is one of the options available to residents in the city as an alternative to paying the council’s £30 charge to uplift garden waste.
And for those who prefer to take this route, gardener Danny Shand, who runs Aberdeen City Council’s The Council Gardener series, has created a handy guide on how to make your own compost.
When composting at home people can either build a compost heap in an open pit in a shaded part of the garden or invest in a compost bin.
The materials can also be taken to one of the Household Waste and Recycling Centres.
Aberdeen City Council said it doesn’t expect there to be any significant environmental impact as a result of the garden waste charges, and it would not hugely impact recycling rates.
Mr Shand said: “Composting is great because you’re reusing organic materials from your household waste or other places.
“Plus you can use it as a moss further down the line, or just as a soil improver.
“You place your organic material in your heap and after a while, to turn it and get the air into it, you remove it from the bottom and recycle it to the top.
“This isn’t a quick process, the shortest time it could take you is six months in a plastic bin, and longer term, in open pits, it could take you 18 months or longer.
“But it’s a process, I guarantee you, you’ll get the best mulch out there, and recycling something is always helping to save the environment.”
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Bugs and microbes found in soil work to break down the recyclable material, which is ready to use when it is dark and crumbly and has an earthy smell.
Organic materials which can be composted are broken into two sections – green and brown.
Items which can be added include grass cuttings, plant prunings, dead flowerheads, raw fruit and vegetable peelings, coffee grounds and tea bags.
Other items include dry leaves, wood chips and twigs, shredded paper, sawdust and straw.
However, there are a number of items which are a no-go as far as the compost heap is concerned.
These are meat, fish and cooked food, bread, cheese, oil and fats, cat litter, dog poo, nappies, coal ash and diseased plants.
Once a mixture of green and brown materials is added, turning it over helps to ensure enough air gets in. It can take between 12 and 18 months to make mature compost.
Once it is ready, it can be used to spread around existing plants or be mixed with soil as a potting mix.
An Aberdeen City Council spokesperson said: “We expect a large number of households will be keen to continue with garden waste collections and the preparations for the roll-out of the subscription are well under way.
“However, home composting is an easy and effective way to deal with garden waste and food scraps from your kitchen,” the spokesperson added.
Aberdeen City Council’s leaflet on how to home compost is available online.