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The Ultimate Guide to Starting Your Home Composting System

Composting is an eco-friendly way to reduce kitchen waste, enrich your garden soil, and contribute positively to the environment. Starting your home composting system is easier than you might think. Here’s the ultimate guide to help you begin your composting journey.

Graphic of compost turning into soil
Guide to composting at home

Understanding Composting

Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves, vegetable scraps, and paper products, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. By composting, you can divert as much as 30% of household waste away from the trash can.

Why Compost?

  • Reduces Waste: Composting significantly cuts down the amount of garbage sent to landfills.

  • Improves Soil Health: Compost adds essential nutrients back into the soil, aiding plant growth.

  • Conserves Water: Compost helps soil retain moisture, reducing the need for frequent watering.

  • Environmentally Friendly: It decreases greenhouse gas emissions from landfills.

Getting Started: What You Need

  1. A Compost Bin: Choose a bin that fits your space. You can buy one or make your own from a variety of materials.

  2. Balance of Greens and Browns: Greens are nitrogen-rich materials like vegetable scraps, and browns are carbon-rich materials like dried leaves or newspaper.

  3. A Little Patience: Compost doesn’t happen overnight. Give it time to transform.

Step-by-Step Guide to Composting

  1. Choose Your Compost Bin Location: Place it in a convenient, but not intrusive, spot in your yard or balcony.

  2. Start with Browns: Lay a thick layer of browns at the bottom to absorb moisture and odors.

  3. Add Your Greens: Add kitchen scraps and other green materials. Chop or shred large pieces to speed up the composting process.

  4. Keep It Moist: Your compost should be as wet as a wrung-out sponge. Add water if it’s too dry, or browns if it’s too wet.

  5. Turn Your Pile: Every few weeks, use a shovel or compost turner to aerate your pile, which speeds up the composting process.

  6. Harvest Your Compost: In 2-6 months, you’ll have rich, crumbly compost ready to use. It should be dark, with a pleasant, earthy smell.

Tips for Successful Composting

  • Cut It Small: Smaller pieces compost faster.

  • Layer Wisely: Maintain a good balance between greens and browns.

  • Monitor Moisture: Overly wet or dry conditions can slow down composting.

  • Avoid Meat and Dairy: These can attract pests and create odors.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

  • Bad Odour: Usually due to too many greens. Add browns to balance.

  • Pile Not Heating Up: Often a sign of not enough greens. Add more kitchen scraps or coffee grounds.

  • Attracts Pests: Ensure the bin is properly sealed or use a tumbler.


Composting is a rewarding practice that benefits your garden, your household, and the planet. By following this guide, you’re well on your way to reducing waste and creating a healthier environment right from your home. Remember, every little bit helps, and your efforts in composting are a significant step towards a more sustainable world.

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